Research assistant from US shares her experience working at RPT

ali“Hello! My name is Ali Ballard I am originally from Washington State in the United States. I graduated from Washington State University in 2015. In the spring of 2016 I moved to Jekyll Island, Georgia where I was a sea turtle patrol member. When my time in Georgia was up I came down to Reserva Playa Tortuga in September 2017 as a research assistant.

Since I have been here I have been able to assist on multiple projects. One of my main responsibilities has been assisting with the crocodilian monitoring study. I have been going out once a week to assist on mark recapture of American crocodiles and spectacled caimans. I assist with capturing, biometric measurements, and habitat conditions.

I also help to take GPS points of all observed crocodilians while out on the river. I also have assisted with tracking of crocodiles and caimans with GPS loggers and downloading points to look at individual movements on the river. Another project I have assisted with was the sea turtle patrolling to help tag new sea turtles as well as collecting eggs for the hatchery. I assisted with hatchling release and excavations during the hatching season.

In September of 2016 an erosion project was started on Playa Tortuga. This year I helped to continue the study to look at sand loss on the beach. Finally, I go out three times a week walking throughout the reserve doing monkey surveys. The main objective being to see how many troops are on the reserve and observe their behavior.


I have very much enjoyed my time here at RPT. I have been able to partake in many projects and work with amazing people, while getting to educate volunteers throughout the world. It was a great six months, and I am very lucky to have been a part of these projects and the reserve!”.

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