March 17, 2009
We are Carmina and Miguel, the new jaguar guardians. Eric is now in England but he promised: “I’ll be back….”
In our January and February reserve work we changed cameras and installed more within both, reserve limits and neighboring ranches – we are putting them on a new camera array in order to compare livestock effect in mammals. We spent three weeks to cover the reserve and other properties. We camped at several sites all of them were so beautiful that we are very excited to come back again.
We had heard many things about the reserve, but we never could have imagined that in less than 15 days we could see lots of sun, clouds, wind, rain and ice… sometimes all of them in one day!
In our daily travels we were able to observe and register a lot of wildlife data. We found jaguar, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, ringtail, skunk, and raccoon tracks. The jaguar track was in a pond on the southwest end of the Los Pavos section. We could also see several whitetail deer, javelinas, one coyote, one gray fox, and other small mammals, like rodents and skunks.
We met some vaqueros of the neighboring ranches; they were very kind with us. Sometimes they went with us to check the cameras’ sites. We spent some days with Diego Ezrré, a neighbor rancher, and a friend of jaguar conservation and ours. Kiko, who works in Diego’s ranch, went with us in the field for several days. He is an expert on fieldwork; he knows a lot of places and the shortest trails to any given spot, he showed us some places with permanent water that we could drink in case of extreme necessity. He also recognized and showed us many plants; their uses and in some cases the risk of eating or touching them… we saw for the first time jumete, a venomous plant, but luckily we didn’t have any problems with it. We can’t say the same about hierba de la flecha another plant that causes some stomach problems, we sure wish Kiko had shown us this plant earlier because we touched this plant in past months and have a little stomach pain, nothing to worry about.
Our last adventure was the pango; it’s a rustic floating platform designed to cross the Yaqui River west of the reserve, and we needed to use it to reach Ejido Badesi, participating in the Feline Photo Project. When we arrived the pango was on the other side of the river! Fortunately Efraín Cordoba was on that side and crossed the pango, which was very good because we were able to check cameras and were surprised to find a lot of cat photos on the Ejido. Now we are putting cameras paired, that is, one in front of the other in order to have two pictures of any animal, this will allow us to reliably identify individuals of all spotted cats (jaguar and ocelots).
We retrieved many photos: deer, javelinas, coyotes, gray foxes, and of course bobcats, mountain lion, ocelots, and one jaguar in Dubaral. We named this beautiful jaguar “Perrito” (doggy) because of its sitting position in the picture.
Well, we will be back to reserve soon and hope to find a lot of jaguar photos…
– Carmina Gutiérrez & Miguel Gómez Ramírez
Carmina and Miguel began their current work, as Feline Photo Project Technician and Jaguar Guardian respectively, in October 2008. They both participate in jaguar conservation projects at and around the Northern Jaguar Reserve.