San Pedro, Costa Rica
San Pedro, Costa Rica

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Kinney M.E.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Kinney M.E.,University of California at Davis | Cole G.A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Vaughan C.,Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Dexmedetomidine, a highly selective α-2 adrenergic agonist and dextrorotary enantiomer of medetomidine, was combined with ketamine and used to immobilize 14 free-ranging Choloepus hoffmanni (Hoffmann's two-toed sloths) and 11 Bradypus variegatus (brown-throated three-toed sloths) in Upala, Costa Rica. Following intramuscular injection of ketamine (2.1 mg/kg) and dexmedetomidine (11 μg/kg), heart rate, respiratory rate, and indirect systolic blood pressure were measured every 5 min for a total of 25 min. An iStat (CG8+) was used to evaluate serum biochemical and hematologic values during anesthesia. After 30 min of anesthesia, atipamezole (0.13 mg/kg) was administered intramuscularly, which resulted in rapid and smooth recoveries. Mean heart rate and respiratory rate remained unchanged in both C. hoffmanni and B. variegatus over time. Progressive decreases in mean indirect systolic blood pressure were documented in both species. Results of this study suggest a combination of dexmedetomidne and ketamine is a safe and effective anesthetic protocol for use in free-ranging C. hoffmanni and B. variegatus. Similar to other α-2 adrenergic agonist-based immobilization protocols, close monitoring of cardiovascular and respiratory parameters are recommended. This study also provides serum biochemical and hematologic data in free-ranging C. hoffmanni and B. variegatus. © American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

The increase of ecotourism operations within Costa Rica during the last 20yrs has brought more and more humans into close, direct contact with several wildlife species. One of these species is the white-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus), highly gregarious, and with exposure over time, willing to come into close vicinity of humans and their developments. Such contact has its advantages and disadvantages for the ecotourism industry. We observed white-faced monkeys in order to assess the impact of human presence and development on monkey behavior, with a focus on aggressive, affiliative, and foraging behaviors in Curú Wildlife Refuge (CWR), located in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and to ascertain the degree of over-habituation of capuchin populations at CWR. Though there exists no discrete behavioral parameters that measure over-habituation, it can be defined as an extreme state of habituation in which non-human primates not only lose fear of humans, but also actively include humans in social interactions or treat them as a food resource. We used instantaneous focal animal and group scan sampling during 8wks in March and April 2012. Two groups (approximately 20-30 individuals each) of capuchins were observed; the first near the tourist development at the Southwestern area of CWR, representing a habituated population that regularly foraged, rested, and groomed in the presence of humans. The second, was observed in the Northeastern area of CWR, did not visit the center of human activity and exhibited fear of humans. The habituated group exhibited significantly fewer instances of threatened behavior in response to human presence (p<0.0001) than the non-habituated group, and spent significantly more time eating and foraging (p<0.0001). While the habituated monkeys at CWR may not be over-habituated, they could become that way as development, especially ecotourism, increases. Over-habituation is a problem that affects capuchins in certain ecotourism sites in Costa Rica. It is critical that the consequences of habituation be studied more carefully, primarily in areas where ecotourism operations draw visitors to wildlife habitats. © 2014, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved.

Egedus V.L.,Colleges of the Midwest | Egedus V.L.,Lake Forest College | Ortega J.M.,Ministerio de Salud | Obando A.A.,National University of Costa Rica
Revista de Biologia Tropical | Year: 2014

Dengue fever is the fastest spreading, most prevalent and deadly arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide, present in over 125 countries. In 2013, Costa Rica is experiencing the highest number of Dengue infections since the virus’s reintroduction to the country in 1993. This study evaluated the Dengue-related knowledge of 320 community members, and polled opinions on how to better educate and mobilize the community on Dengue prevention in Quebrada Ganado, Costa Rica during March-May, 2013. In addition, property inspections were used to find relationships between knowledge or opinions and presence of Aedes breeding sites. Results showed that while citizens knew the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that reproduce near water, they lacked knowledge on Aedes habits and confused it with other mosquitoes. Eighty-one percent of respondents assumed some responsibility for dengue prevention. Suggestions for improved education included consistent and continual information on the risks and dangers dengue poses to an individual. Characteristics relating to households with more positive breeding sites were: lower education level, higher prevalence of dengue infections in the household, lesser knowledge of dengue symptoms, a lower rating on the dangers of dengue and a lower rating on the importance of preventative actions. While a range of prevention methods are implemented, active community involvement is highly important for successful Dengue prevention. Continual evaluation is necessary to make more immediate, long-term behavioral societal changes, and to maximize the economic resources spent on Dengue prevention. © 2014, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved.

Risk factors for the onset of cognitive impairment in Costa Rica are not well understood, despite a substantial elderly population stemming from a higher than average life expectancy for the western hemisphere. To investigate the risk factors that predict the onset of cognitive impairment in the rural elderly of Costa Rica, a modified version of the Mini Mental State Exam—designed for illiterate populations—was administered to 90 elderly inhabitants of San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica between April and May of 2011. Subsequently, each participant took a structured interview assessing viability of risk factors and behaviors potentially contributing to a diagnosis of cognitive impairment. Results showed strong dependencies between age (p=0.0001), education level (p=0.0095), the ability to read (p=0.0001) and write (p=0.0153), frequency of reading (p=0.0011), use of puzzles and mind games (p<0.0001), vocation (p=0.0225), area of residence (p<0.0001), comorbid mental diseases (p=0.0005), history of stroke or brain trauma (p=0.0104), urinary or renal problems (p=0.0443), consistent cooking practices (p=0.0262) and number of living companions (p=0.0299) in susceptibility for developing cognitive impairment. The study concluded that high intellectual use, or lack thereof, during the lifetime of a person was a predictor for cognitive status later in life. In addition, comorbid mental disorders, including neurological trauma due to stroke, impeded normal cognitive function. Future research should examine incidence and risk factors of cognitive impairment in urban, more educated populations. © 2014, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is an important cash crop in tropical climates such as that of Latin America. Over the past several decades, the infection of cultivated cacao by Moniliophthora roreri, known commonly as “monilia”, has significantly hindered cacao production in Latin America. Studies have proposed the use of Trichoderma sp. fungi in biocontrol treatments to prevent and reduce monilia infection, yet tests of Trichoderma-containing spray treatments on cacao agroforests have produced mixed results. Researchers and agricultural workers have suggested that addition of soil, fly ash, or other carbon sources to a Trichoderma spray may improve its efficacy in fighting monilia. To test these suggestions, we designed a series of spray mixtures including Trichoderma cultures, soil, and all necessary controls. We applied the spray mixtures to 80 cacao trees (20 trees for each of four resistant-selected clones to monilia) at the FINMAC organic cacao plantation in Pueblo Nuevo de Guacimo, Limón Province, in northeastern Costa Rica in March-April 2013. Five treatments were applied (control, water, water plus sterilized soil, water plus Trichoderma, and water plus sterilized soil plus Trichoderma). Each treatment was applied to four trees of each clone. We monitored the incidence of monilia infection under each spray treatment over the course of 35d. We found that spraying entire cacao trees two times with a mixture containing Trichoderma and sterilized soil significantly reduced the incidence of monilia infection by 11% (p≤0.05) in only 35d, as compared to the control. This reduction in loss of cacao pods translates into an increase of plantation mean productivity of 1 500kg dried beans/ha by 198kg/ha up to 1 698kg/ha or by a total increase over the whole 110ha plantation by 21 780kg. We propose that using such an antifungal spray over the whole course of a crop cycle (120 days) would decrease infection incidence even more. Application of this fungal control measure has the potential of revitalizing the production of cacao in the region. © 2014, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved.

Knowledge of ecological impacts of exotic beach almond (Terminalia catappa) in the central Pacific of Costa Rica are little known, but studies have found this species to be a potentially important food source for endangered scarlet macaws (Ara macao). In this study, reproductive phenology and seed predation by variegated squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides) and scarlet macaws were measured during March and April 2011 on beaches of central Pacific coastal Costa Rica. Seed productivity and predation levels were quantified on a weekly basis for 111 beach almond trees to assess the importance of beach almond as a food source for scarlet macaws and the extent of resource partitioning between seed predators. Seed production of the trees was great (about 194 272 seeds) and approximately 67% of seeds were predated by seed predators. Macaws consumed an estimated 49% of seeds while squirrels consumed 18%. Additionally, evidence of resource partitioning between squirrels and macaws was found. Scarlet macaws preferred to feed on the northern side and edge of the canopy while squirrels preferred to feed on the southern and inside parts of the canopy. Both species ate most seeds on the ocean side of the tree. Despite the status of this tree as an exotic species, the beach almond appears to be an important resource for scarlet macaw population recovery. The resource produced by this tree should be taken into account as reforestation efforts continue in Costa Rica. © 2014, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved.

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