My study abroad program began exactly one week ago. We have not been doing much except getting to know the colonial city of Cuenca. It is a small group with 2 co leaders and 3 other class mates (not really classmates but more like cool friends). We met with our Ecuadorian NGO partner today, Fundacion Cordillera Tropical, and discussed the several projects assigned for us this semester. We will be using some camera traps to get some information on two elusive cats that have been discovered at our research site. They are the Margay and Oncilla. What makes this research project fascinating is that these wild cats have always thought to exist at lower elevations and never at the type of habitat that we will be generally working in. We will also be doing some macroinvertebrate research.

Our site is in the southern portion of Sangay National Park. It is part of the larger Tropical Andes area and is considered a world hotspot in terms of biodiversity. What I am mostly excited about it that we will be working in paramo grassland (common in the Andes) and biodiverse rich cloud forest just 30 minutes away from our campsite. I am super excited!

I miss home a lot. Way more than I thought I would. It all gravy though. 🙂