Jaguar Guardian Blog – June 2011

July 23, 2011

Dear Friends,

“That afternoon the temperature was 117°F at Los Pavos…” Perhaps this season has been the hottest since we’ve lived on the Northern Jaguar Reserve. Due to the lack of winter rains and the hard freeze that occurred in February, the landscape is really dry. On some ranches near the reserve, there have been fairly large wildfires, although fortunately the reserve has remained free of fire. The situation has been difficult for ranchers due to the unavailability of food and water on most of the neighboring ranches. Despite all the above, it has been good to hear positive comments about the relationship between people and big cats: “The animals have not caused trouble here” or “There is a lot of deer, and tigres eat them, so they [jaguars] have not bothered cattle.”

In the last days of the month, the weather changed, and the first rains came accompanied by strong winds. Everyone was very happy by the arrival of the summer rains, and we had the opportunity to see many frogs and toads that come out with the rain to begin their reproductive stage. One night we found six species of amphibians and many individuals from each… they were in a small pond between the rocks, along the road, and in the house. The amphibian species we saw that night were: lowland burrowing treefrog (Smilisca fodiens), lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis), western narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne olivacea), Sinaloa toad (Incilius mazatlanensis), Sonoran desert toad (Incilius alvarius), and red-spotted toad (Anaxyrus punctatus).

Besides daily work, we also enjoyed some good things about the hot summer. Once we swam in the river and took a nap under the shade of large willows that live on the banks, so we could escape the stifling heat of midday. Also, we caught some bass in the river; we tried fishing with cane but that was difficult, if not impossible. Then a neighbor noticed our inexperience and came to help us. He took his fishing net and reeled in enough fish for everyone. That evening we ate fried fish, and we watched TV (seriously, he had satellite television at his house). The first rain of the year also came that evening.

In our latest review of camera traps at the reserve, there were 12 jaguar photographs and hundreds of other animal photos. Individual jaguars photographed this time were: “Mayo,” the dominant male at the reserve; “El Inmenso,” another male that inhabits some parts of Mayo’s territory; and “Caza,” a female that appeared at Las Tésotas a few months ago (she also appeared at Babisal last year). There was a picture of a new, previously unknown jaguar at Rancho El Puerto, which is part of the Viviendo con Felinos program. We have to wait until José de la Cruz Coronado, the owner of El Puerto, names this jaguar to know what it will be called.

At the end of our stay in the field, we were visited by Nabani Vera from Iniciativa México, Juan Carlos, and Gerardo, who came to see the reserve and the work that is done here. Together we visited La Ventana, Babisal, and the Río Aros at El Carricito. We had a good time with them, and it was a pleasure to show Nabani what we do and the places where the jaguar lives. It’s always a pleasure to welcome someone new to the reserve. So we wait for your visit!

Until next time,

– 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.

Lowland burrowing treefrog (Smilisca fodiens)