December 2, 2008
It may be of no interest to anyone who reads this, but I’m really excited, I’m going to Madonna’s concert in Mexico City. I can’t wait to be there, maybe I can get her to support jaguar conservation – I wish!!! Anyway, this field trip was really awesome, I was in just the Sonoran style. Two of my friends came to visit the reserve – they are working with the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, and they are going to make their thesis here. One of them is going to register different aspects of agave from its ecology to its use in producing bacanora (the local variety of tequila). The other is going to work with jaguar movements in Sonora.
We were very lucky because one of the vaqueros at a neighboring ranch was producing bacanora, and the rancher invited us to see the process. We learned how to jimar, and we saw the preparation process that involves broiling the heads in a hole in the ground. We missed the smashing and the fermentation but anyway it was really exciting. With the same rancher we went to explore one part of “La Ventana” that I didn’t know. It’s called “El Desecho de la Ventana” – it has water all year round and has some natural waterholes where you can take a bath. As it’s time of chiltepin, a very hot local variety of chile, we picked up some. People in ranches will sometimes pick whole bags of it to sell in town.
Also, we happened to be at “La Tinaja” a neighboring ranch after a calf had been attacked. It was a little bit gory, but I learned a lot from it. The calf was attacked three days or so before we found it in a place near the house. It had a bite along the head and several scratches. We think the attack was by a juvenile because it didn’t manage to kill the calf. That would be a bad sign for the rancher, because it would mean that there is a female hunting cows and teaching her cubs to do it. However it seems that the Camtrakker cameras are not working properly, as we haven’t had pictures in several ranches since July. Next month we are going to substitute all of the Camtrakker cameras for another brand, Wildview, which are digital and can take more pictures in the Feline Photo Project in order to check them. It’s very frustrating to do so much work and not obtain any data. I hope all the problems will end with that, but it is just an example of how many logistical details affect our work.
I was amazed during this visit, to find a population of Nolinas, a plant that I consider rare in the region, because it’s not seen often, just in small patches. I have located two, one in a neighboring ranch and other in the reserve. I also saw a barrel cactus at last. It was in a little canyon just in the middle of the bush – I asked, and it’s very rare in the region.
Well, I think that’s all for the moment. It’s a shame I can’t write you more. Thanks for reading!
– Eric Ramírez Bravo
Eric has been a Jaguar Guardian at the Northern Jaguar Reserve since Spring 2008 and recently began a Ph.D. program in Biodiversity Management at the University of Kent.