When Carlos López González first stumbled upon the area that is today the Northern Jaguar Reserve, he knew immediately that the wildlife value was exceptional. The former owner of Rancho Zetasora gave permission for wildlife surveys to be conducted on the ranch, which revealed jaguars, ocelots, bobcats, and mountain lions. These large felids are today studied with motion-triggered cameras placed at strategic locations on the reserve, as well as through scat and track observations.
Mammal tracks can often be found on the white sandy beaches spread along the Río Aros. Neotropical river otters have left their footprints behind in the sand, which is significant as there are very few published records of these mustelids occurring in the state of Sonora. Future in-depth studies are needed to discern more about the species.
Biologists have begun to locate and identify bats found at the reserve, and while there hasn’t yet been a large quantity of individuals documented, the diversity has been impressive with more than a dozen species recorded. Observations will continue until more is understood about the dynamics of both migrating and resident bat populations.
We are also working to determine the status of white-tailed deer and javelina populations. These are both important prey species for jaguars, and it is vital there be enough to sustain the big cats. In the coming years, we will be attempting to increase deer numbers by restoring habitat and perhaps by placing salt blocks to attract them to the area. The majority of javelina in the region died of disease decades ago, and with only occasional sightings today, we will also be looking for ways to bring them back to the reserve.