March 24, 2015
Saúl, Laqui, and I returned to our beloved Northern Jaguar Reserve this month. We usually begin at the farthest point (Los Pavos) and finish at La Ventana. Yet we reversed our schedule, working from La Ventana to Los Pavos. We did this because the weather forecast wasn’t encouraging, and we prefer to be at sites with good shelter during rainy days in order to be better protected from the elements. We had one full day of rain, which prevented us from checking cameras and set us back – but this was excellent for the wildlife, especially the herbivores who consume the new shoots and grasses. After a rainstorm, we will often find boulders, dried branches, and deep trenches obstructing the road. Luckily, the rain did not negatively affect the road conditions this month.
We saw more white-tailed deer than in previous months. They were walking quietly and alert for any danger, as they are always stopping to observe their surroundings. One of the unexpected sightings was of a gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). After a day of work, as we were returning to Babisal de Abajo, we saw a fox jump in front of the truck five meters away. The sighting was quick and brief. It is not common to see gray fox, so we hope to have another sighting in the future. Felines are also very difficult to observe. We were fortunate to see a bobcat (Lynx rufus) while driving toward La Tinaja. Just like the gray fox, the bobcat ran across the road. We saw many different species this month, and we hope that someday we will be able to see a jaguar, our dream.
On the Viviendo con Felinos ranches, we usually see deer at Los Alisos. We almost always see at least a pair of deer while we are crossing this ranch in order to check the motion-triggered cameras. Last month, we set up cameras on a new ranch, Agua Fría. This was a great success, and during the first month, we were able to capture the image of a jaguar. It only showed a very small area on the jaguar’s back (see photo below), but we were still excited to have our first jaguar photo on this ranch. We hope that next month we will have more photographs of this individual and possibly other new jaguars.
Until next time,
Javier Valenzuela Amarillas has worked on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches since 2012. As a jaguar guardian, he helps maintain an extensive network of motion-triggered cameras, inventory the ecological health of the land and water, and work with ranchers to support local wildlife.
Top to bottom: Coyotes at Babisal, gray fox, white-tailed deer, jaguar at Agua Fría.