Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Meet the Eco-Guardians

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Meet the young Eco-Guardians learning about jaguars and sharing their boundless enthusiasm with the local community. We have been getting kids outdoors with nature walks, river cleanups, tree plantings, hands-on camera trainings, and public art projects.

It feels like all of those activities were leading up to this past weekend when…

We took the first group of these kids camping.

Can you imagine being 12 years old and going on your first-ever camping experience on the Northern Jaguar Reserve?!

Even though these youngsters live in the nearest town, the reserve is difficult to reach. The Eco-Guardians played games as we traveled the long, bumpy road. And when we finally arrived, a whole new world opened up.

During the heat of the afternoon, they sat in the shade and made friendship bracelets.

At dusk, they went birding and saw trogons, flycatchers, gnatcatchers, hawks, and orioles. 

In the cool evening hours, they ate s’mores around the campfire.

Hours after dark, under a blanket of stars, they went for a hike to set up motion-triggered cameras and discover what animals were nearby.

Seeing the reserve through the kids’ eyes was pure sweetness. They were full of a contagious sense of wonder and amazement. Their laughter was genuine and constant, overflowing with joy to be in this spectacular place.

You can see them come to life on the reserve in the video above.

These kiddos formed bonds of friendship, developed a love for nature, and were filled with life-defining moments. There is nothing like spending a night out in the wild to feel the excitement of being in a place where jaguars roam.

Hundreds of students participate in our Eco-Guardian club, and we hope this will be the first of many such outings. All of the Eco-Guardians have deep family ties within this community, a place where residents young and old are learning to embrace the jaguar as a friend and neighbor.

Happy World Jaguar Day!

Special thanks to all of our supporters for making these activities possible, to the Arizona Trail Association’s Seeds of Stewardship program for the gear loan, and to Optics for the Tropics for donating binoculars for just this kind of event.

Save the Jaguar on AZ Gives Day

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

“I feel my heart expanding.”

That is what a first-time visitor said over the weekend as we drove further into the Northern Jaguar Reserve. We were on our way to the Río Aros, where just a few weeks ago we found fresh jaguar prints at water’s edge.

These tracks could have been left by our longtime friend Elvis, or maybe they were from a new jaguar, Zapatos, who first appeared on the reserve in January. 

Either way, seeing footprints in the sand and feeling the jaguar’s presence nearby definitely made our hearts grow, just like with our donor when he was introduced to the reserve’s sweeping, panoramic views.

We hope any one of the highlights below will make you feel equally as inspired. And that you will jump into action to help support these cats as part of AZ Gives Day >>.

Libélula celebrates seven years on our cameras this month. After having no photos of her since September, we retrieved a photograph of Libélula taken just two weeks ago in a new, distant geographic area we are exploring to learn where jaguars roam.

Valentina and an as-yet-unnamed jaguar are new on the Viviendo con Felinos ranches. We have added two ranches to the project in 2019, which means the area covered by signed rancher agreements not to hunt, poison, or disturb wildlife has significantly grown.

Zapatos was near the boundary of the reserve and a ranch we are now negotiating to purchase. We are actively taking steps to expand the 225 square miles already protected by the reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches, including upcoming land acquisitions.

As you can see, we are working with new jaguars, in new places, in time-tested ways. Your contributions make this possible. ​

Today, NJP is participating in Arizona Gives Day – a one-day campaign to boost support for Arizona-based nonprofits. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to safeguard jaguars and other felines on the Viviendo con Felinos ranches and kickstart our land purchase campaign.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here >>.

These jaguars hold a special place in our hearts, and we hope in yours also. Many thanks for your support!

Photos of Río Aros, jaguar tracks by Hilary Lex

A Great Year for NJP

Monday, December 31st, 2018

What a spectacular year 2018 has been for the Northern Jaguar Project. Our many thanks to you, our steadfast supporters, who have made these accomplishments possible. 

Our Viviendo con Felinos project had unprecedented success this year:

  • 76,145 acres protected through signed agreements on 14 ranches.
  • 9 jaguars photographed, triple the individuals on these ranches from the year before.
  • 5 of the 8 ranches with jaguar photos recorded two or more jaguars. 
  • $45,000 in photo awards distributed for feline presence.
  • 750-acre wildfire extinguished on one ranch thanks to effort led by the reserve’s vaqueros.
  • 300 youth participated in hands-on outdoor activities through our Eco-Club.
  • 60 young Eco-Guardians trained to select locations and maintain their own cameras.

Four jaguars moved between the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches, including the females Libélula and Suki. That two of our longest-recorded jaguars have found safe homes on working Viviendo con Felinos ranches shows how important our approach is. 

More highlights: We photographed a pair of jaguars in February and filmed these same two jaguars mating in March. This was our second video of jaguars mating on the reserve. The pair, Luisa and Elvis, were together again in July.

Fifteen years into this project, we are making a real difference for northern jaguars. Let’s celebrate this anniversary together. Please consider doubling your year-end gift here >>. All of your donations go directly toward protecting these magnificent cats.  

As always, many thanks for your support.

Inaugural International Jaguar Day

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Today is the first-ever International Jaguar Day. We were thinking of sharing another jaguar photo taken at the cave we emailed about earlier this week. A second option was a brand new video of a pair of jaguars on the Northern Jaguar Reserve. 

Then our field assistant Laqui returned to town this morning with the latest batch of photos from the Viviendo con Felinos ranches, and it included the above image.

This is a female jaguar and the first time we have seen her on our cameras.

This particular Viviendo con Felinos ranch is a haven for mothers and cubs. The ranch owner has said low cattle depredation, combined with income from multiple jaguar photos, means he does not need to travel north for undocumented work in the U.S. 

Viviendo con Felinos has changed the ranchers’ lives and the lives of cats who roam here. We need your support so it continues to do so.

Last month, the same rancher won the grand prize at our annual Viviendo con Felinos celebration with this photo of Suki, one of our long-term resident females. He won a solar-powered generator, but the pride he felt from this recognition was perhaps more significant.

We interpret a new jaguar arriving on International Jaguar Day as a good sign. It is also the perfect opportunity to say thank you to everyone who donated so generously on Giving Tuesday. 

Your support makes Viviendo con Felinos possible. 

Support the Jaguar on Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Will you support the jaguars who call this place home with a gift today?

This is a cave on one of the Viviendo con Felinos ranches. A vaquero happened on this place after he followed an unmistakable musky odor. A jaguar-munched javelina skull greeted him near the cave’s entrance. Bones were scattered in the leaf litter, on the cave’s front porch, and pulled into its dark chambers. Then he experienced the thrill of his lifetime: Two jaguars emerged.

The vaquero had more than a fleeting glimpse of these jaguars. When his peers from neighboring ranches gathered to hear him recount this experience, they admired his good fortune, wishing they too could see a jaguar. This is the kind of response that is needed throughout the jaguar’s range.

With your support this year:

  • We signed protective agreements with 14 ranchers across 76,145 total acres.
  • We photographed nine jaguars on eight Viviendo con Felinos ranches – triple the individuals and quadruple the jaguar photos on these ranches compared to the previous year.
  • We had four Viviendo con Felinos ranches with multiple jaguars, both new individuals and long-term residents.
  • We recorded the highest number of ocelot and mountain lion photos in a single year.
  • We distributed $45,000 in incentives to promote the presence of living wildlife.
  • We assisted ranchers with restoration projects and organized activities to get youth out into nature. 
  • We documented mating jaguars on the Northern Jaguar Reserve.
  • We surpassed 1,000 total jaguar photos to date.

We also installed a motion-triggered camera at the cave site. We were sure there would be photos of the big cats.

Almost immediately, jaguars appeared on the cave camera. The top photo is Libélula; she is our second-longest documented jaguar at six-and-a-half years. The second photo is a new jaguar we do not know much about yet. These images were taken on the same camera… only seven hours apart.

Before Viviendo con Felinos, the ranch owner might have instructed his vaquero to kill these jaguars on sight. Today, ranchers tell us they would reach for a camera instead. People’s hearts are changing, and cats are finding safe places to thrive. 

Your support makes this possible. As part of #GivingTuesday, your contributions help reduce hostilities during a time with increased feline presence. Your gifts matter for Libélula, her cubs, new jaguars, and old friends.

Our goal is to have 100 people contribute during this global day of giving. That’s ambitious for our small organization and starts with you. Please help us kick off our year-end season of giving with a tax-deductible donation today. Any donation amount is appreciated and is guaranteed to have a big impact >>.

Many thanks for your support!

Announcing Jaguar-Arte in Tucson

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Fiesta and silent auction to celebrate and support jaguar conservation in Sonora

Friday, October 19th • 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. • Mission Garden, 946 W Mission Lane, Tucson, AZ

Bid on unique jaguar art and artifacts, view brand new and stunning jaguar videos, dance to snazzy Latino music, and enjoy delicious Sonoran fare and regional bebidas.

More details and RVSP (optional) at

An Otter Caught on Camera

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The elder vaqueros tell stories of seeing otters running through the arroyos on the Northern Jaguar Reserve. This is our first motion-triggered photo of a Neotropical river otter in all of our years of camera monitoring. And it was taken nearly four miles from the river! The chance of encountering one of these rare critters clearly still exists around every bend.

Elvis Turns Five

Friday, September 21st, 2018

This is Elvis. The above photo is the first image of him on the Northern Jaguar Reserve. It was taken five years ago today. While Elvis already held the title as our longest-recorded male jaguar, we are excited to reach this milestone anniversary. 

Thank you for your support and for providing Elvis with a safe place to call home.

Elvis’ story is fascinating. We had two photos of him in September 2013. Then he was not seen for more than two years. He re-appeared sporadically in 2016, followed by another yearlong gap. 

Everything changed last December. Since then, we have had more than 90 photos and videos of Elvis throughout the Viviendo con Felinos ranches and across the entirety of the Northern Jaguar Reserve.

Elvis has contributed to a record number of jaguar photos this year, a thrilling trend we hope continues. Keeping track of individuals, their movements, and interactions with one another has felt like a telenovela with four female characters and this male lead ironically named after “the King.”

Libélula and Suki are the matriarchs. At six years, they are tied as the second-longest female jaguars on our cameras. Their recent hanging bellies suggest both may have cubs. Sofia is new on the scene. Elvis quickly picked up her scent and trailed her by days on one of the Viviendo con Felinos ranches. 

Luisa and Elvis weaved in and out of each other’s paths for months; they eventually appeared together near a place we call “Kitty City.” Later, our cameras filmed Luisa and Elvis mating >>.

This was our second behind-the-scenes view. Another seemingly impossible jaguar mating video five years ago was considered one in a million – until it wasn’t. Clearly our cameras are well placed, providing us with eyes into the jaguar’s world.

That Elvis reached this five-year anniversary, along with the mating video, illustrates the value of your donations. Our most heartfelt thanks for all you have done to help save the lives of new jaguars and old friends. We hope you will consider making a donation online as we continue to protect this endangered population.

Rare Jaguar Mating Video

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Can a video of two jaguars be considered too risqué to share? We definitely had that conversation with the first jaguar mating video we collected on the Northern Jaguar Reserve in 2013. We never dreamed there would be a second video that again revealed jaguars mating on our motion-triggered cameras in the wild.

At the beginning of this year, Luisa and Elvis were photographed on the same camera a few weeks apart. In February, they appeared together in the same photograph (above), which led us to expect a cub. At the end of March, our motion-triggered cameras filmed them mating (see below), and now we are pretty certain there will be a young jaguar roaming the reserve later this year.

This is the Northern Jaguar Reserve’s continuing love story. This is the place we come back to for perspective on how our focus to protect female jaguars and their cubs is both meaningful and essential for this population’s future. This video tells us we are headed in the right direction.

View additional jaguar footage, including the original mating video, in our Video Gallery >>.

My Time on the Reserve

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

As an intern of the Northern Jaguar Project, I found myself invited into a wilderness that defies expectation, and a community that carries the heavy weight of its preservation with rugged devotion.

It has been a month since I left the Northern Jaguar Reserve, and since then I have not stopped envisioning when I might return. I have found myself filling in my friends and family on what I have been up to, and I always look forward to seeing their faces when I tell them I spent two months on a jaguar reserve deep in one of the most remote wilderness areas of Sonora, Mexico. There is usually a short, stunned pause that follows this news along with an abundance of questions that I have on occasion lost my voice trying to answer.

What brings me the most joy are the stories I get to tell of my time there.

The more I tell these stories, the more I realize they are mostly about the people I met and engaged with – from the time I arrived in Hermosillo to be rescued by Santa to the day I left in a 4Runner packed with perfume professionals from Dryland Wilds. There were late night jaguar mural tours with Randy, many lessons and adventures with Miguel and Choco, and then there was camping with Laqui among the ghosts of Rancho Oro.

Every day was packed with memorable moments to hold on to and stories I won’t soon stop telling.

We would spend up to two weeks at a time on the reserve, camping, working, and hiking every day. Our primary focus was servicing all of the trail cameras, changing their position or the batteries and always collecting pictures. The cameras are spread all over the far reaches of the reserve, so we would hike deep into the wildest zones.

If we found animal tracks, we would study them and on occasion we would follow them. If we saw a unique bird, we would identify it. All of my interactions with the reserve’s flora and fauna steadily filled my journal. My naturalist’s checklist kept getting longer. It became difficult to keep up with all of the new information I desperately wanted to soak in.

My internship lasted two months, and during that time I became substantially tied into the land and the people that surrounded me in it. I still feel tied to the land, tied to the people, my friends. I miss it all, and I cannot wait until I have the opportunity to go back.

Aaron Van Geem graduated from Alderleaf Wilderness College, where he learned to interpret wildlife tracks and sign, as well as backcountry survival skills.

Motion-triggered bobcat photo from the Northern Jaguar Reserve