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Friends of Conservation
101 St Martin's Lane
London, WC2N 4AZ
Tel: 020 3667 7017

Conservation Issue

Five thousand feet above sea level, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica is an area of lush vegetation containing an amazing variety of flora and fauna. FOC works with NGO partners, VIDA, to support community based conservation in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.  The Reserve comprises an area of 310 hectares or 765 acres of pristine cloud forest and is one of the first community managed reserves in the country.  Long term sustainability is not only a concern of the Reserve, but of the community as a whole. Monies received from visitors are reinvested in the management of the Reserve or the local high school, to help upgrade technology and fund courses such as biology, environmental education, languages, eco-tourism and agriculture. In using the Reserve as a natural classroom, students and teachers harness an unlimited educational resource that can be used for anything from studying tropical plant ecology to leading tours.


The Santa Elena Reserve is home to more than 400 bird species such as toucans, great green macaws, hummingbirds and the Resplendent Quetzal; and over 100 species of mammal,including howler and spider monkeys, sloths, tapirs. Five wild cat species – including the American Puma, Ocelot and the Jaguar can also be found, although the latter is rarely sighted.

Some years previously, an image of a Jaguar (shown below) was captured via a camera-trap which helped established the presence of this elusive animal in the Santa Elena region. Researchers hope that additional camera traps installed at strategic points around the Reserve may help to provide more images and data on this highly endangered predator.

Jaguar image captured via camera trap


As part of the continued commitment to protect wildlife habitat, VIDA hopes to be able to acquire additional adjacent land, around the Santa Elena Reserve as well as establishing forest corridors from the central conservation area down to lower altitudes, in order to support the territories of many forest fauna which require large areas in which to forage and breed. Reforestation activity includes a plantation of some 7 hectares which is being established on the borders of the Reserve.  Of the tree species being grown, the Wild Avocado is the favourite food of the Resplendent Quetzal – one of the area’s best known birds.  

If you would like to support our work to protect endangered species and habitats in Costa Rica, please click here.

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