An Unexpected Animal – A blog entry by Ava Betts (age 8)

Editors note (MGB): One of the major parts of the outreach part of our project is to encourage kids to be enthusiastic about biodiversity. We are working with kids in grades 3-5 in Costa Rica and Oregon who are learning about pollinators and collecting some data for us. We hope Ava’s adventures in the tropics – and with our project – will inspire other families to learn more about nature.

Ava Betts

There is one mammal I have not told you about: HOWLER MONKEYS*. It was everyone’s ambition to see at least one. When we went to Amistad (the biggest national park in Central America) everybody HEARD them, but did not SEE them (we saw the resplendent Quetzal though*) and everyone thought that was where we would see them too. It was a bit of a shame. We thought our only chance to see monkeys had gone. But surprisingly, that was not the last we heard, (or saw) of them.

I am on the ferry to the Osa Peninsula. The Osa Peninsula is a place where there are many tourists and lots of hotels, cabins to stay in, and seafood. We are on a closed in boat. It is a warm day but humid in the ferry. Once we all start moving, I thought, I can read. Indeed, I did read Wildwood. I read for a half an hour. When we got to the cabins we were staying in, we got settled and then stayed for a while. After that, we set off to a better beach for swimming. There were, apparently, rays in the water. Everybody still swam though*. The waves were huge! We did that for a while, but now let me tell you about the monkeys.

The Iguana Lodge is a good place to eat. You know, nachos, good sauces, seafood, nice desserts, etc. etc. Now we are having dinner, and something TOTALLY unexpected happened. MONKEYS. HOWLER MONKEYS!!! And there was one baby! That right there was the first time I have seen monkeys in the wild. It was a wonderful experience.

Howler monkey_low*Howler monkeys are medium sized monkeys that make sounds like a lion. I have a suspicion that the first people to explore Costa Rica thought this: What on Earth have I gotten myself into? There are lions???!!! This is how they sound:

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*See: My Encounter With a Resplendent Quetzal.

*We were not THAT scared!

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