Jaguar Guardian Blog – April 2016

May 11, 2016

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Dear Friends,

We have enjoyed another month of adventure on the Northern Jaguar Reserve. We traveled with Laqui, one of the reserve’s vaqueros, and Obed, a volunteer from Hermosillo. It is always a pleasure when we first arrive and meet up with Dona Lupe, Laco’s wife. She has a kind and calm demeanor, and her cooking is a delight for everyone who has tasted her dishes. Even though she doesn’t work for the project, she is part of our team, and we appreciate and love her for it.

We have noticed that some of the prickly pear (Opuntia) and pitahaya (Stenocereus thurberi) are starting to bear their delicious fruit. However, we have to wait until June or July to eat these gifts from nature. Meanwhile, bees, or “flies” as they are called in Sahuaripa, are constantly producing a delicious honey during this spring season. We often see honeycombs on the rock formations along the arroyos.

Los Pavos is one of the areas on the reserve where one feels an enormous amount of peace and tranquility. Its mountains and vegetation provide an excellent landscape to watch the sunset, and the nighttime silence creates the best atmosphere to get some good sleep after a long day of work. It is always possible to see wildlife at Los Pavos, especial birds in the mesquite trees close to our camp. It was strange that we did not see any sign of deer there this month.

We usually need to clear brush from the routes we hike to reach the motion-triggered camera locations. This month, we noticed the vegetation was very dry, and there were many branches in our way as we walked. We can tell that the vegetation is waiting for the rainy season. Despite a little rain almost every month last year, overall it was not a good year for rain. Many pools on the reserve and surrounding ranches are dry or only have a small quantity of water. There are other sources of water for cattle on the surrounding ranches, like tanks and wells, but the ranchers are worried that they will face a substantial loss of cattle, which happened in 2013.

Suki Cuevas blogThere are always more ranchers interested in working with us to protect flora and fauna. A few months ago, we talked with José Robles, owner of El Cajón de los Lobos, and invited him to join Viviendo con Felinos. He accepted our invitation, and we have now set up cameras on his ranch. His property seems like an excellent place for felines and other wildlife. This month, we had jaguar photos on two of the Viviendo con Felinos ranches, including one that borders El Cajón de los Lobos. The jaguar was the female “Suki” – we were happy to see her again.

Until next time,

–Javier

Javier Valenzuela Amarillas has worked on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches since 2012. As a jaguar guardian, he maintains an extensive network of motion-triggered cameras, inventories the ecological health of the land and water, and works with ranchers to support local wildlife.

Top photo: Lupe Duarte, photo by Marie Long; bottom: Suki at Las Cuevas