by Rowan Eisner in Monteverde
When you’re busy maintaining trails or patrolling for poachers in the CER every day you don’t necessarily think to tell anyone when you see an animal. But for those of us who aren’t in the forest every day it is really special and we would like to know! So Wendy Brenes, MCL’s information coordinator, recently asked all the guards and maintenance staff to send in reports of sightings and the reports have started to come in. In the last few months, Alonso Gonzalez, Protection Staff and Forest Guard and his workmates have had a couple of sightings.
Two wonderful animals seen and photographed in the CER!
The guards managed to get this nice picture of an oso hormiguero (literally, an anthill bear) which was taken near the Pocosol Station on a trail. In English it is a northern tamandua (Brazilian indigenous Tupi for ‘ant trap’) or a collared anteater.
Active by day or night, some tamanduas prefer life in the trees while others are more ground-based. They mostly eat ants, spicing it up with a few bees, though the ground-lovers get more termites. They avoid ants with serious defenses like army ants and leaf-cutters. They raid a nest and quickly lick up as many ants as they can before the soldier ants can come to the defense of the nest. But with a 40cm tongue they still manage to get about 9000 ants a day, though they might have to wander over 1000 acres to find them.
The other sighting was a rare Tapir seen by five of the Forest staff not far from Pocosol station. We knew that there are tapirs in the Forest because the mammal monitoring program has collected casts of their extraordinary 5” three-toed footprints, and so MCL chose the Tapir and its baby for the CER’s logo. But people hardly ever see one. These are the biggest animals in Latin America. They can be active day and night and love water. They eat plants and fruit with the help of their prehensile nose, and biologist Mills Tandy broke open a scat last week and out ran a live hermit crab, but it was probably eaten by accident!