Every semester for many years, we have hosted undergraduate students doing independent study projects for a study-abroad program run by the School for International Training in Quito. This year we had six students, each doing independent study projects lasting about two weeks. They are assisted in the field by our reserve guards Santiago, Luis, Fausto, and Jesus Recalde, and they usually stay with families in the commmunities around our reserves. It is a nice way to integrate the reserves with the surrounding communities. Students really enjoy the experience, and their studies are often useful to us for conservation planning. Sometimes they even discover new things!
This semester’s students are finishing up their reports now. I will post excerpts from a few of the more photogenic projects here in the following weeks (and I hope to go back and write about some of the nice projects of past students as well, as time permits).
Alex Bentley is intensely interested in herpetology, so he chose to study our impressive pit viper, Bothrocophias micropthalmus. I’ve written about this snake previously here, here, and here. Alex told me that as he looked for internet data on this snake, my blog posts were almost the only field observations he could find. So clearly there was a need to do more.
Alex spent his time in the Rio Anzu area, where we have a reserve at 1100m-1200m. He stayed much of the time at a nearby Rio Anzu reserve, Sumak Causay, which has a cooperative agreement with us. He found plenty of Bothrocophias in his two weeks. I’ll wait for his paper to write more about his actual study, but for now I just want to put up some of his beautiful photos of our area’s reptiles and amphibians.
Today will be Lizard Day.