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Sloth Tree Preference Study:

Students located sloth and identified the trees through ‘belt’ transect surveys. 38 sightings were recorded of two species of sloth over 4 days. Chi Squared analysis using SPSS statistical software indicated that two-fingered sloth preferred the nonnative almond trees.

Two-fingered sloth

Capuchin Behavioural Study

Students developed a behavioural ethogram and used it to study the behaviour of the white-faced capuchins at the Rafiki Beach Camp

White faced capuchins

River Kayak Bird Survey

Kayaks were used to undertake a ‘Belt transect survey along the Savegre river. Locations of birds were recorded using GPS. A Simpson index of diversity was calculated to assess species richness in three different habitats, river, estuary and mangrove.

River kayak trip.


Lautijie Boshoff, one of our hosts and a biologist instructing on coastline ecology during the river kayak trip.


Turkey Vulture and  Yellow crowned night heron.


Sloth Institute Trip

The group visited the Sloth Institute to rescue and rehabilitated sloth and undertake research on their post release survival using radiotracking.

Sam Trull of the Sloth Institute explaining radiotracking sloth.


Three fingered sloth mother and young.


Students also learnt how to distinguish between the two species of sloth found in Costa Rica.

They put these skills to use when they found the skeleton of a sloth and determined it was a two-fingered sloth.


Seed Collection and Vegetation Surveys

Students collected seeds and carried out vegetation surveys to assess habitat.


Carlo Boshoff, our host and a field biologist gave field instruction on tree identification at Rafiki Safari Lodge.


Bird Surveys

A number of different bird survey techniques were used to assess bird biodiversity in different habitats including cultivated land and rainforest. These included transect surveys, point surveys and McKinnon’s lists. These were greatly assisted by the resident ornithologist Steven Aguilar

Steven Aguilar leading a bird survey

Students undertaking bird point surveys in the Lodge grounds

Chestnut Mandibled Toucan and Great Currasow


Camera Trapping

Camera traps were used to survey mammals at the study sites.

Two ocelots were seen on the camera traps at Rafiki Safari Lodge


Amphibian Surveys

Spot-light scan surveys were used to study amphibian diversity.

Poison dart frog


Reptile Surveys

Herpetologist Roel de Plecker presented a seminar on reptiles in Cost Rica and lead night reptile surveys.

Roel with a false coral snake.

Common boa found on a night survey.


Field Surveys


Wildlife surveys and camera trapping were undertaken on foot and horseback.

Students on the Cost Rica Experiential Learning Trip 2017