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Black Headed Bushmaster death report by the Melanocephala project.

Good afternoon,

We regret to inform you that today a Lachesis Melanocephala, commonly known as Black Headed Bushmaster, was reported found dead during a daytime walk in the vicinity of the Melanocephala Project property.

This discovery raises certain questions about whether this specimen is one of the two individuals from the project or if it belongs to the other 7 individuals spotted on the property, as well as the possible causes of its demise.

Here is the important information collected:

  1. Report date: November 6, 2023.

  2. The encounter was in situ.

  3. Individual length: 172 centimeters, a different size compared to the individuals in the project (first evidence).

  4. The individual appears underweight and malnourished, suggesting feeding or general health issues.

  5. Gender is unknown; no field professional was present to determine the snake's sex.

  6. Based on photographs and testimony from those involved, it is presumed that the death could be due to natural causes related to its habitat and environmental factors.

  7. A fallen tree is observed near the specimen, and the head's position suggests the possibility of physical impact from the tree's fall. However, it is difficult to determine if the snake was present at the time of the incident, as there is no information available about when or how the tree fell or if the snake was present during the incident.

  8. There is a report from November 4 by Paulo Solano, a Meteorologist from the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica, about a storm in the area warning of possible tree branch falls, power lines, among other things, which could explain storms in the area (confirmed by the community) and the possible tree fall.

  9. Given the condition and the absence of a professional at the time of the discovery, it is not possible to establish an exact date of death, although it is estimated that no more than 2 to 4 days have passed since its demise based on the state of decomposition.

  10. A physical examination of the snake was conducted to check for any monitoring devices, but no evidence of transmitter implants was found, confirming as a second piece of evidence that this is not one of the project's individuals and is the tenth snake reported on the property.

In summary, all the information was gathered at the discovery site, and an official cause of death cannot be provided due to logistical difficulties, transportation, location, potential legal issues with collection, and the animal's decomposition time.

It is important to note that this is the first report of an in situ death of this species, which could lead to a publication or inclusion in the book "Lachesis: The Queen of the Rainforest," being worked on by the project team.

Any information about these specimens is crucial for the conservation of Lachesis genus species.

On the other hand, since this animal is not directly related to the project's monitoring, there is no need to report it to SINAC (ministry of environment), in accordance with the Wildlife Law.

We have attached photographs of the snake and its condition at the time of discovery, as well as photographs from the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4: Report from the Meteorological Institute.

Imagen 5: Map of Tropical Storm Pilar.


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