March 18, 2011
We had the opportunity this month to collaborate in the Feline Photo Project again anew. We traveled around the reserve’s neighboring ranches. We walked on paths that we haven’t walked on since a year ago or maybe longer. We encountered new places and met new people. And we are glad to see more and more local people interested in wildlife conservation and to have the opportunity to explore new sites looking for jaguars.
Early this month, the Northern Jaguar Reserve – and all northwest of Mexico – experienced a hard freeze. A climatic phenomenon called “cold wave” caused an uncommon ambient temperature decrease. For two days, the maximum temperature at the reserve was only 1ºC and the minimum temperature was -8ºC (these temperatures were recorded by the weather stations we installed at Babisal and Los Pavos). Many plants froze, and the landscape changed dramatically this winter. This situation, coupled with the low rainfall of last year, represents a challenge for wildlife and the principal human activity of the region: livestock ranching. Ranchers are very worried about their animals’ situation for the summer season, and we worry too for wildlife. Ponds will become dry soon and some of the plants are struggling, so we hope the rainy season arrives soon in order to have water for wildlife at the reserve.
As always, there is good news to report too. There are eight photos of jaguars this time. Do you remember that last month we talked about a new jaguar that appeared in the territory frequented by the male “Mayo?” Well, this time there are no pictures of this new jaguar, and Mayo has returned to his lands. Maybe this confirms that Mayo is still the dominant male in the region. We also found an old friend, the jaguar “Cecilio,” that we saw for the first time in February 2009 at Rancho Los Alisos. This time, Cecilio was photographed at Babisal and did not appear in Los Alisos – a little sad for the ranch owner Ricardo Vázquez who looks forward to Cecilio back on his ranch. Each month, Ricardo is very excited with the idea of having a picture of Cecilio taken on his property; he even has a big photograph of this jaguar in his house!
We are now preparing for the next reserve trip, which will be very busy for us since we will receive many visits. We are very excited for this, but you will have to wait until our next blog to know our adventures with the guests.
– Carmina & Miguel
Our jaguar guardians, Carmina Gutiérrez and Miguel Gómez Ramírez, have worked at the Northern Jaguar Reserve since October 2008. As the reserve’s resident biologists, Carmina and Miguel patrol lands to keep out poachers, sustain ongoing management of the reserve, maintain a network of motion-triggered cameras, and inventory the ecological health of reserve lands and waters.