September 5, 2013
After being away from the Northern Jaguar Reserve for more than a month, I was surprised to find the landscape transformed and totally green. On this trip, Javier and I retrieved photographs of “Caza,” the female jaguar last seen at Los Pavos. Because we did not see her earlier in the summer, I thought she may have gone to the other side of the Río Aros – but here she was, continuing to live at Los Pavos.
What really surprised us the most on our excursions around the reserve was the various fauna. We saw a white-tailed deer that was practically a newborn. It was less than half a meter long and gave off a sound similar to the sound of a human baby as we approached. The little deer was hiding among the vegetation when we stumbled upon it and very afraid. We took a couple photos and left quickly so as not to stress it more.
Our interactions with wildlife continued while we were walking in one of the arroyos at Los Pavos and a spotted box turtle crossed our path. This species is endemic in Mexico, and it was the first one I saw at the reserve. Later, on the road toward Babisal, we saw something walking in front of the truck, stopped, and were surprised to discover it was a Gila monster. It was very thin and came close enough for us to take a photo. Perhaps it had just come out to eat, since this species usually lives in burrows and is only active three or four weeks of the year. Gila monsters are poisonous reptiles that are protected in both Mexico and the U.S.
At the beginning of the trip, there was not much rain. Yet toward the end, it rained while we were at Babisal and the arroyo was full of water. That day at Babisal was the same day we ran into ornithologist Adam Hannuksela, who was on the reserve conducting a six-week molt-migration bird survey. I asked Adam how his work was going up until that point – he was not having much luck with the rain, yet expected things would get better in the coming weeks.
Until next time,
Daniela Gutiérrez has worked on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches since 2011. As a jaguar guardian, she maintains an extensive network of motion-triggered cameras on the reserve and ranches, inventories the ecological health of the land and water, and patrols the area to keep out poachers.