Traversing the lush canyons and craggy mountaintops of the Northern Jaguar Reserve are a dedicated few who have a deep commitment to protecting wilderness. NJP employs these “Jaguar Guardians” who reside on the reserve with assistance from a couple of vaqueros intimately familiar with the terrain.
The Jaguar Guardians provide protection for jaguars and other wildlife by maintaining a consistent physical presence on the reserve to deter encroachment, poaching, and theft. They are also the ones regularly retrieving data from the field, which includes managing a series of motion-triggered cameras to determine jaguar, deer, and javelina densities, monitoring felid tracks, collecting scat, recording wildlife sightings, and determining the cause of death of any carcasses that are discovered.
The reserve was established to safeguard precious wildlife habitat while also promoting conservation beyond its boundaries. Wanting to respect the local culture, the Jaguar Guardians realize the economy is based on livestock production methods that have been practiced for generations. They endeavor to develop relationships with surrounding ranch owners, while introducing new concepts framed within a conservation and educational context.
In addition to their roles as biologists and neighbors, the guardians are the primary caretakers of the reserve grounds. They are responsible for maintaining the reserve’s headquarters and existing infrastructure, coordinating with researchers to ensure scientific field trips are safe and productive, and informing appropriate ranch personnel in the event livestock trespass onto the reserve from adjacent ranches.