February 15, 2013
This month, Javier, Laqui, and I enjoyed many different experiences. In addition to checking the motion-triggered cameras on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches for photos of jaguars and other felines, we also supported and welcomed the launch of “TrekWest,” a human-powered journey from Sahuaripa to Canada to connect the Western wildway. We were with John Davis on his journey through the reserve and on to Nacori Chico. We also were joined by a Canadian volunteer, Stéphane, to help with our camera work and restoration projects.
We spent most of our time checking the cameras on the Viviendo con Felinos ranches and a few of the cameras on the reserve. That’s because next month we will need to spend most of our time on the reserve. The results this month were very encouraging – we were able to get 23 photos of two female jaguars, “Caza” and “Libélula,” that have been showing up fairly regularly these last few months on the reserve and ranches. There were also a lot of photos of mountain lions, ocelots, and bobcats. There was rain for a few days while we were on the ranches, which was good for the cattle and to keep the dry season from being too harsh.
We introduced John Davis and videographer Ed George to the people of Sahuaripa with a series of events in town with ranchers and local schoolchildren to launch TrekWest. Diego Ezrré, owner of the ranch La Tinaja, played an important role in organizing these community-wide events. John and I then rode horseback from Sahuaripa to La Ventana along with Braulio, a vaquero. Once we reached the reserve, we traveled the rest of the way on foot with Laqui. It was a very successful trip; John was able to see many species of birds, javelina, and the landscapes of the reserve. On the day to Dubaral, we arrived after walking for nine hours. The next day, Laqui took us on a shortcut from Dubaral to Los Pavos, which saved hours of traveling and allowed us to rest a little.
Ed brought a lot of heavy camera gear, and if it had not been for the help of Javier and Stéphane, we would not have arrived at the confluence of the Río Aros and Río Bavispe as planned on the last day of our hike. This area is to the north of Los Pavos and where we met up with our guides from the Nacori Chico ranches. The ranchers welcomed us and were eager to help wherever we went, and on the last day we spent ten hours on horseback – yes, ten hours! Finally, we arrived at Rancho Pinidehuachi, which is an hour and a half drive from Nacori Chico, and they took us the rest of the way by truck. John met up with Cindy Tolle, his next guide on the trip through Sonora and Chihuahua. Before we left, we tried out John’s Surly Pugsley, a very sophisticated bike with tires that are much wider than normal. Laqui, Javier, and I each took a ride on it, then said goodbye to John. It was a great experience to participate in TrekWest, and we wish John a lot of luck on his journey ahead.
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.