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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wildlife Monitoring in Laguna de Apoyo

It is no secret to us who frequent Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve that it is under siege from several types of human activities. Forests disappear without anyone taking note and speaking out. Usually, this happens not in fell swoops of forest, but rather, one branch, or a small stem, at a time. Areas get cleared by surreptitious actions of hired workers, a little at a time. Trash and concrete slowly creep across what was jungle.

How this process, of conversion of land from wild jungle to farmland and summer homes and gardens, affeds wildlife on the scale it is conducted in Laguna de Apoyo, has not been tested much. Common sense would tell us that small alterations to the forest make big changes in the animals that live in it. But we live in a society where lies and misconstructions are stated and accepted as facts, so we set out to compare the fauna of different parts of the forests in Laguna de Apoyo.

The title page of the presentation by three interns from Holland. Photo Pablo Somarriba.
 At FUNDECI/GAIA, we have been studying the impacts of human activity in the forests of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve for some five years. The results are now being prepared for publication. A presentation of the results of the impacts on fruit-eating butterflies (family Nymphalidae) and hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) was made at Volcano Masaya National Park, Tuesday 23 July, 2013. Bart Verdicjk, Hessel van der Heide, and Max Schellekens, biology interns from Holland, produced the following videos on the process, which were presented along with results of the studies on butterfly and hummingbird communities in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.
Intern Max Schellekens presenting the results of butterfly studies while dozens of participants observe. Photo Pablo Somarriba.
These three interns collected data and then they analyzed data on hummingbirds and butterflies during the past five years in different locations in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Their presentation was well-attended, not a single seat was found in the house!
Volcano Masaya National Park Director, Liliana Diaz, during an animated discussion after the presentations by the interns. Photo Pablo Somarriba.
A rising consciousness and concern for wild nature is seen in Nicaragua today. The young people of the area of Laguna de Apoyo, many of whom attend Instituto Augusto Flores Silva, made an important representation of the audience, which pleased us infinitely to see.
A standing-room-only crowd in the auditorium of Volcano Masaya National Park! Photo Pablo Somarriba.
The risks that wildlife face in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve are enormous, and as many people recognized in the discussion, tourism provides important elements to a strategy to protect this beautiful natural site. Several professional tour guides were present as well, some of whom added important comments.
Las mariposas de la Laguna de Apoyo. Video Max Schellekens.

Los colibries de la Laguna de Apoyo. Video Max Schellekens.

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