Jaguar Guardian Blog – December 2012

December 29, 2012

Hello!

This was the last trip of the year, and we retrieved more jaguar photos in a single month than we’ve had since August! We began our tour of the Viviendo con Felinos ranches with Mesa Rica and El Puerto, making our way toward Los Alisos. We were surprised to find a jaguar photo at Mesa Rica that also included a dead javelina. “Suki,” the female jaguar in the photo, was first documented at the Northern Jaguar Reserve in September. This photo is important to share with ranchers so that they can see the jaguars are getting their food from wild animals instead of cattle. A few days later at the reserve, we went to a very distant site called “Los Chinitos.” To reach the camera, we have to cross over five hills, which adds to the journey. The view from the last hill is very beautiful, and – like most of the reserve – you cannot see any signs of human presence.

I had never been to Los Pavos during the winter, and I expected it to be much colder – similar to other areas on the reserve. The lowest temperature was in the mid-50s. Dubaral, Babisal, and La Ventana (which is the coldest) were all close to freezing. During our walks to check the motion-triggered cameras, we noticed a decrease in butterflies and grasshoppers, and we did not see any snakes. We were able to cut some wild chiltepines that were growing near the cameras at Dubaral and Los Pavos, although the grasshoppers had not left us too many.

We had regular sightings of deer and also of a javelina family. There were at least 25 javelina, big and small, near El Sapo on the road to the reserve. This was Javier’s first time seeing javelina, and he was very happy. It was really entertaining as the baby javelina were beautiful to watch. They all ran away so quickly to hide.

It’s been a few months since we’ve had good video to share. The new Cuddeback Attack cameras now all have 32GB memory cards, and the additional storage capacity will help to capture many more photos and videos on these cameras… hopefully lots of felines.

The last news this month is that we obtained several photos of two female jaguars, “Libélula” and “Caza,” at several locations on the reserve and surrounding ranches. This was exciting to determine how much territory they can cover in a single day and also their distribution at the reserve during the last few months. It is satisfying to finish the year with photos of female jaguars on the reserve, as well as on the Viviendo con Felinos ranches. We want to thank all of you who have supported us this year – since without your help, we would not be able to work on the reserve nor have the necessary equipment to accomplish our fieldwork. We are looking forward to more good results during the year ahead.

Thank you again,

– Daniela

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.

Top photo: Laqui, Daniela, and Javier; below: Suki at Mesa Rica, seen at right with a javelina 40 minutes after the first photo