Celebrating Living with Cats

November 29, 2019

We celebrated International Jaguar Day in Sahuaripa last weekend with our annual Viviendo con Felinos fiesta and photography exhibit. The community gathered to honor participating ranchers and award a prize for the year’s best feline photo. 

The judging was a nearly impossible task: a mother jaguar with cub, a cat with battle wounds across its chest, a mountain lion mid-pounce, a jaguar walking straight toward the camera. No one could guess who the judges would pick.

Ultimately, a night-time photo of the female jaguar Suki was selected (top). Moments before the winner was announced, the ranch owner, José de la Cruz Coronado, discussed plans to put a new pond on his property. He won a large water trough and was thrilled.

Viviendo con Felinos has changed the ranchers’ lives and the lives of cats who roam here. With three new ranches added in 2019, the total protected buffer zone outside the Northern Jaguar Reserve now covers an impressive 150 square miles.

We see this growth reflected in a record number of jaguar and feline images. We see it in the outpouring of support at events like this fiesta and in the popularity of our Eco-Guardian club.

Women-led, large carnivore conservation in action: Sahuaripa president Delia Berenice Porchas García addresses the crowd at our annual Viviendo con Felinos celebration, alongside NJP co-president Diana Hadley, Northern Jaguar Reserve biologist Carmina Gutiérrez, and Conciencia y Educación Ambiental educator Santa Napoles (far left).


Kids filled the town plaza playing games like pin the tail on the jaguar. They painted each other’s faces, sang songs, and recited jaguar poetry. We raffled bikes donated by the Tucson-based Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage (BICAS). And the winner of a jaguar drawing contest will have their work painted as a mural.

This event was FESTIVE! With hundreds in attendance, it was almost too big. We are already planning to spread the activities over an entire weekend next year.

There is a noticeable sense of pride, cooperation, joy, and appreciation that is developing in this community. Parents come to us with comments such as “Bless you for all that you have done.” These are just a few snapshots of the ways it is felt. 

This celebration was possible thanks to your support, something we are truly grateful for. Please know your donations go directly toward protecting these cats and safeguarding their habitat. We need you as we grow!

Photos by Isabel DeVito