Ongoing & Future Research

NJP provides support and coordination for many types of ecological research carried out at the Northern Jaguar Reserve. We are overseeing the ongoing inventories of species, mapping projects, and the comprehensive archiving of all field data. We are also utilizing the reserve to train young Mexican student biologists and wildlife technicians who apprentice with scientists contributing their time and expertise to this research.

The reserve is a scientific treasure-trove with prime neotropical migratory bird habitat, a diversity of environments represented, placement near the edge of vegetative communities with neotropical affinities, and as one of the least fragmented wildlands in northern Mexico. It is situated along the Río Yaqui, a vast corridor that connects Sonora with the borderlands of Arizona and New Mexico. We’ve mapped this corridor to analyze connectivity issues, land ownership, and confirmed jaguar and other large predator sightings.

To achieve our wide-ranging research objectives, a scientific field station will ultimately be created to facilitate the collection of data, promote education, house visiting scientists, and help restore degraded landscapes.

Some of our ongoing and future research:

  • NJP board member Carlos López González is continuing years of study of jaguars and their prey base in the region. These non-invasive studies are an important step in understanding the jaguar population by attempting to determine population densities, range, and habitat, in addition to prey species abundance.
  • Binational research is ongoing to document the relationships between the Sonoran jaguar population and those individual jaguars dispersing into the U.S., using photographic evidence as well as scat and DNA analysis.
  • The development of site-scale maps is under way to show vegetation, topography, and watering holes on the reserve.
  • Surveys of neotropical migratory birds, short-distance migrants, and resident breeding birds are ongoing to increase knowledge of migratory routes.
  • With military macaw and bald eagle nest sites located along the Río Aros, future studies will assemble biological information and conservation strategies.
  • A fish inventory of the Río Aros will look at the number of native and invasive species in addition to the ecological health of the river.
  • Neotropical river otters are residents of the Río Aros, and future biological studies will gather information on this endangered species.
  • Testing Río Aros water quality on a seasonal basis will help to identify and implement measures to improve habitat at locations of species abundance.
  • Future studies will determine the extent to which jaguars and mountain lions harm livestock in order to evaluate if the reserve is having negative impacts on surrounding cattle ranches.
  • Frog studies continue to help understand threats to their survival.
  • Long-term studies of bats, birds, butterflies, and plants will document the impacts of climate change.