Jaguar Guardian Blog – April 2009

May 28, 2009

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Dear friends,

This time we had intensive scientific activity at the Northern Jaguar Reserve. We started the month working with bats. We received a visit from expert bat biologists: Christa Weise (Bat Conservation International), Erin Fernández and Jim Rorabaugh (both from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and Angie McIntire (Arizona Game and Fish Department). We also had the company of Carlos López González (University of Querétaro), Rosy Jiménez and Claudia Moreno (Comisión de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, México), and the biology students from University of Sonora: Gert, Cesar, Vero, Javier, and Grecia. We all learned together more about the ecological importance of bats and the field techniques for bat study and conservation. We were able to capture and observe seven species of bats in La Ventana and Babisal in four nights of work, but this is not the best part. The best part is that we captured three new records for the reserve! These three new records are the western red bat (Lasiurus blossevillii), California leaf-nosed bat (Macrotus californicus), and the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis).

During our last days at the reserve, we received some of our Naturalia co-staff members – Oscar Moctezuma and Juan Carlos Bravo. With them were Manolo Ruíz and Nicolás Grepe, who are members of Naturalia’s board of directors. It was the first time Manolo and Nicolás were at the reserve, they were fascinated with it, and we had the opportunity to show off our fieldwork within it and at the neighboring ranches. Luckily for us (and them), we found jaguar tracks in a pond between Dubaral and Los Pavos. We got to see a new jaguar photo in a camera-trap; this jaguar had passed through the same spot we did just two nights before! They couldn’t believe that and joked that it was all a trick rigged by us and that we had put the jaguar in front of the camera.

In this month we obtained ten jaguar photos! These pictures are from at least three jaguar individuals: an adult male nicknamed Perrito (our old friend), an adult female adult nicknamed Yuri, and another jaguar, possibly male, nicknamed José. How can we distinguish between individuals? As you may know each jaguar has a different spot pattern, something like fingerprints in humans. So if we have a good photo of each side of a jaguar, then by comparing all obtained photos we can determine if one or more photos correspond to the same animal. The problem comes with all those bad photos of incomplete jaguars.

The male Perrito is now a very well-known inhabitant of the reserve. By reviewing photos, we can observe that this chubby and beautiful jaguar has been detected since June 2006 at least. Perrito has been recorded in Los Pavos mainly, but he also was detected in a stream named Cureda, two kilometers north of the ranch house at La Ventana.

The female Yuri was recorded the first time in June 2008 in two neighboring ranches. It was exciting to see her again. This is the second occasion we have detected her at Diego Ezrré’s ranch, La Tinaja (also known as El Calabozo). Now we can see that Yuri is an adult jaguar, strong and healthy. We’re anxious to get photos of her cubs one of these days! That will be, no doubt, the most exciting thing for us.

Finally, the jaguar José was recorded this month in El Puerto, property of Mr. José de la Cruz Coronado. Apparently this is the first record of this jaguar.

Well, that is all for the moment. We promise to keep you informed on our work with these beautiful animals called jaguars. Next time we will tell you about other different jaguars that were detected in the past months, but be patient it is not that easy to identify them by their spot pattern.

See you,
– Miguel & Carmina

Miguel Gómez Ramírez and Carmina Gutiérrez began their current work, as Jaguar Guardian and Feline Photo Project Technician respectively, in October 2008. They both participate in jaguar conservation projects at and around the Northern Jaguar Reserve.