Seven years in Guatemala with Indigo Expeditions
Looking back over last seven years of conservation and research in Guatemala – let’s look at what Indigo Field Teams have achieved.
In our very first year of working in Guatemala we ran four expeditions to Estacion Biológica las Guacamayas in the Laguna del Tigre National Park, in the Petén region. The Indigo Field Teams recorded a total of 33 new species in the National Park. This nearly doubled the existing species list for the area! One of the top finds was the banded snail-eating snake (Tropidodipsas fasciatus).
It turns out this was the first ever record of finding the banded snail-eating snake in Guatemala!
We kicked off Spring 2014 with a preliminary biological survey at Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC) in the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz. In just three days we recorded 21 species of amphibians and reptiles, including 5 critically endangered frogs.
Summer 2014 saw Indigo Field Teams back in Laguna del Tigre National Park researching reptile and amphibian diversity. Finding from our surveys increased the species list for the National Park to 57 species that year!
The banded snail-eating snake (Tropidodipsas fasciatus). First ever record of finding the species in Guatemala! 2013
In just three days we recorded 5 critically endangered frogs including Plectryohyla pokomchi. 2014
In 2015 Indigo Expeditions ran the first conservation expedition to the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz. Indigo Field Teams made the amazing discovery of the Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog Plectrohyla teuchestes, one of the most endangered amphibians in Central America, and previously known only from one other location.
Next up, Indigo Teams spent two months back in the field in Laguna del Tigre, expanding our work to survey the local population of Morelet’s crocodile and the critically endangered Central American river turtle.
2016 saw Indigo back in Laguna del Tigre to continue our work surveying Morelet’s crocodile. We pioneered techniques to identify individual crocodiles using pattern recognition from photographs and recorded 120 individuals. It was also the first year we were able to host Guatemalan biology students from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala as part of their Professional Practice.
Our research expanded to the Pacific Coast teaming up with conservation charity Asociación Fundaselva de Guatemala, to advise on sea turtle conservation at Tortugario el Banco. During 2016 record numbers of olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings were released totalling 74,500!
The Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla teuchestes) one of the most endangered amphibians in Central America. 2015
Record numbers of olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings were released totalling 74,500. 2016
2017 saw Indigo Expeditions start the year with a bang and make our first appearance in a wildlife documentary. The 20 minute piece for French TV5 series ‘Vu Sur Terre’ (Somewhere on Earth) was filmed over seven days in Laguna de l Tigre National Park and focused on our work with the resident crocodile population.
And, we celebrated five years of survey work in Laguna del Tigre, which culminated in our field teams recording the 95th species of reptile and amphibian for the National Park. The narrow-bridge musk turtle was encountered in the middle of the track during a hike to the Mayan ruins of Wak’a el Peru.
The 95th species – the narrow-bridge musk turtle. 2017
Rax Bolay (Bothriechis aurifer), an endangered pitviper of the Guatemalan cloud forests. 2018
First record of fischers snail-eating snake. 2018
First record of the slender snail-eating snake. 2018
The largest sea turtle release so far at Estación Biológica el Banco. 2019
Filming on location with Nigel Marven. Photo credit: Andres Novales. 2020