Jaguar Guardian Blog – April 2013

May 22, 2013

Nopal en los Pavos blog

Dear Friends,

We started this month off in an unusual way, since our routine is often to first accomplish our work on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and then move to the Viviendo con Felinos ranches. But this time, we began by visiting six of the nine ranches in the Viviendo project: El Saucito, Las Sabanillas, El Sapo, Bábaco, Las Cuevas, and La Tinaja. Although wildlife sightings have increased on each one of these ranches, we found the most feline photos at Bábaco. That is where “Libélula,” a female jaguar, likes to roam through a place known as La Cienega. There have been many deer sightings at Bábaco, which is the reason we see more felines here. The absolute best news from this trip was a photograph of a new jaguar cub at Bábaco, wandering through La Cienega with his mother. This is our second photo of a jaguar cub under a year old, and we hope he will grow into a mature adult on the reserve and add to the number of jaguars we are protecting.

We next continued our journey to the reserve, and immediately noticed that the amount of water in the ponds had decreased as a result of higher temperatures in the last few months. It may be that these dry conditions have also caused wildfires that we can see in the distance. We are watching the progress of these wildfires carefully and their proximity to the reserve.

Sightings of deer are common this time of year, which is cause for excitement. Fawns, as well as adult deer, emerge looking for water to drink. We hope that the increase in the deer population will also mean increasing feline populations at the reserve. One place that is often visited by coyotes (Canis latrans) is the well near the house at Los Pavos. We heard them howl clearly for several nights this month. There have been three or four coyotes each time, and they are very close to where we camp. Toward the end of the month, we were able to see and hear a military macaw (Ara militaris) about 100 meters away on our return through La Hieleria at Babisal. We heard the macaw calling as it left a stream, possibly looking for a mate. We hope to see more macaws flying through the reserve in the coming months. All of these varied wildlife sightings help motivate us to protect the animals around us.

We would like to mention how thankful we are for the equipment supplied by NJP and Naturalia. We have a new Cuddleback Viewer that is a huge help in the field, since it allows us to see the recent photos while we’re still at a camera station. This means we are immediately able to select or revise camera locations once we have viewed the photos from the previous month.

Also, we want to extend a special thanks to the volunteers who have visited the reserve and shown an interest in species conservation. We especially want to thank Greg, our honorary volunteer, who has helped on the reserve three times so far. He came to Sahuaripa this month with two friends in order to repair and paint the house/office we rent in town. It looks great and was a nice surprise for us.

Finally, we would like to thank someone who has been so important for the project and one of the founders of our jaguar conservation efforts in Sonora. We lost Peter Warshall just a few days ago. He was a wonderful person and such an enthusiastic member of NJP. Thank you, Peter. We will continue working for the jaguar, something that you loved so much. We hope to continue having good results, like the jaguar cub we had a photo of on this trip. We would like to honor Peter’s memory by naming this new cub “Pedro.”

Until next time,

– Daniela & Javier

Daniela Gutiérrez and Javier Valenzuela Amarillas work on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches. As jaguar guardians, they maintain an extensive network of motion-triggered cameras on the reserve and ranches, inventory the ecological health of the land and water, and patrol the area to keep out poachers.