Northeastern co-op goes bananas with Santa Rosa Primate Project in Costa Rica

Leah Orman has some particularly unruly co-workers.

They are small, fast and love climbing trees — and no, they’re not children. They are capuchin monkeys living deep in the tropical dry forest of Costa Rica’s Santa Rosa National Park. For Orman, a biology student at Northeastern University, this is her office, and there are no bad views.

Orman is not just in Costa Rica monkeying around. For her Northeastern co-op, she’s working as a field research assistant for the Santa Rosa Primate Project, a Costa Rican conservation and research organization. The Santa Rosa Primate Project has been studying primates for decades with the intent of learning more about them in order to conserve the animals and their habitats, especially given the effects of climate change on ecosystems across the globe.

For a student whose interests lie at the intersection of research, veterinary medicine and wildlife, Orman says she couldn’t have asked for a better experiential learning opportunity.

“For any sort of wildlife conservation, the more knowledge we can gain about the species and how they exist in the ecosystem, it allows us to help them,” Orman says.

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Photo courtesy of Leah Orman