August 1, 2014
Saúl, Laqui, and I were back on the Northern Jaguar Reserve this month checking motion-triggered cameras. Fortunately, the weather changed and the temperature was lower – although this does not mean that work conditions were much better because it continued to be around 45º Celsius (113º Fahrenheit). We noticed that the humidity had risen due to recent rains and that the accompanying wind made the air feel cooler. Plants have begun to leaf out, and some areas are greener than others depending on where there has been more rainfall. The Viviendo con Felinos ranches El Saucito, Las Sabanillas, and El Sapo are locations where the vegetation and water are already abundant. That was not necessarily the case with the other ranches and the reserve, where we still saw a lot of dry vegetation.
Fortunately, things changed on July 6 around 5:00 p.m. There was a very strong wind followed by heavy rain – a massive storm that lasted close to an hour and a half. It continued raining until the following morning, but by then it was calm. When we woke up, we checked the rain gauge and saw that two inches had fallen. Not bad for one of the first big rainstorms of the season. At the Río Aros, we could see that the water level has started to rise and was beginning to appear murky, which is a good sign that rains have also begun upstream.
The Viviendo con Felinos ranchers reported a number of cattle losses due to drought last year, and we would see dead cows along the road. Luckily, there was little cattle mortality during the dry season this year. A few ranchers have mentioned they lost cows, yet the number was very low in comparison. By now, the rains have created good conditions for the cattle.
The big news from this month’s trip was the arrival of the rainy season that will replenish life on the reserve. Our adventures will continue as long as we are in contact with nature.
Until next time,
P.S. We found many birds enjoying pitaya cactus fruit, including white-winged doves, mourning doves, and hooded orioles.
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.