Jaguar Guardian Blog – June 2009

July 16, 2009

MilitaryMacawssmall

Dear friends,

We told you about three military macaws (Ara militaris) that we saw in Los Pavos last month. Well, this time, we saw more macaws at the reserve. On three consecutive days that we spent in the Los Pavos area, we recorded several groups of macaws. Once we saw a flock of five individuals, and a couple of minutes later we saw a different flock of three more macaws. Everyday, in the morning and afternoon, these great birds passed right above the house at Los Pavos or near it. It is gratifying for us to know that the Northern Jaguar Reserve is a biological corridor and feeding site for these beautiful birds, whose populations are threatened by habitat loss as are many other species. We hope to continue seeing many macaws for many years at the reserve and surrounding areas.

Unfortunately, in our stay at the reserve this month we received notice of livestock attacked by a big felid at one of the neighboring ranches. This happened at El Carricito ranch, owned by La Lola. She sent us a written message while we were at Babisal to report this incident. So, we attended the call and went to see for ourselves. The attacks were on two female donkeys, and they were apparently perpetrated by a big cat. Both donkeys survived, but one was seriously injured. La Lola is a great friend to us, and she understands the importance of protecting wildlife. However she was very angry and very sad because of the attack on her donkeys; she told us that their animals are the only means of transport for lumber and water from the river and the attacks affect her a lot.

It is very sad for us to say that we had neither jaguar nor ocelot pictures this month. There are several factors that have influenced this fact (e.g. water scarcity, increase of the ambient temperature, canopy scarcity in the vegetation). However there were pictures of mountain lions and bobcats, so we have not understood yet the absence of jaguar and ocelots on cameras this season.

Despite the lack of jaguar pictures, we have important news about them. Based on the information that we have obtained with monitoring using the camera-traps, we made a statistical analysis to calculate how many jaguars inhabit the reserve and surrounding area. We used the camera-trap data since June 2008 to date. The result is that there are likely around eight different jaguars, but the population could be as high as 25 individuals. Of course it is necessary to continue monitoring in order to obtain a more accurate estimate.

That is all for the moment; we will write more for you in the next month about our work and adventures at Northern Jaguar Reserve.

– Carmina & Miguel

Carmina Gutiérrez and Miguel Gómez Ramírez began their current work, as Feline Photo Project Technician and Jaguar Guardian respectively, in October 2008. They both participate in jaguar conservation projects at and around the Northern Jaguar Reserve.