November 24, 2010
As we told you in our September blog, the last couple of months we have worked on manually repairing the road that runs through the Northern Jaguar Reserve. This time we worked on the section of the Arroyo Babisal, which is the worst part, since it passes through the stream and many rocks have blocked passage. For a couple of days – with the help of Laqui Duarte, Diego Gutiérrez, and many tools such as shovels, sticks, and picks – we moved hundreds (perhaps more than a thousand) of rocks… some small, some larger. We filled several trenches and moved some fallen trees and other obstacles. Finally, one afternoon we left Arroyo Babisal and continued our journey by car beyond Rancho El Babisal. Many parts of the road were covered with tall grass (buffelgrass) that made it difficult to distinguish the way, often concealing trenches or boulders. But everything went well, and we finally were able to get to Los Pavos – which as you know is the most remote part of the reserve. The next step was to review all of the cameras that we had not seen for more than three months and find any surprises that were on them.
We began with the camera trap stations at Los Pavos, and after we finished with those, we moved to the south of the reserve, as we usually do – going through Dubaral, Babisal, and finally reaching La Ventana and the ranches participating in the Feline Photo Project. It was a great surprise to see that some of the camera batteries were still working and that all of the locations were not covered with grass, thus still taking photographs of wild animals.
We had 10 photos of jaguars; nine of those are from the male jaguar named “Mayo,” who is “Perrito’s” successor. Mayo appeared in photos from July, August, September, and October. As before, Mayo was in Los Pavos and Dubaral. We assume that this is his territory within the reserve. The other picture is of a very interesting jaguar, “Corazón,” at Dubaral. Yes, Corazón is the female that was photographed as a kitten in February 2006 at Los Pavos. We’ve not seen her since June of last year. This newest image is an interesting picture because it was taken the same night that we slept at Dubaral. When we went to check the camera in the morning, we saw some recent tracks of a big cat, although they were not very large. By the look of the tracks, we suspected a jaguar. Indeed, when we got to the camera and reviewed the photos, it was a surprise to see that Corazón was in the same place as we were that night. This is the second time that a jaguar has gone right behind us, surely aware of our presence!
So this month, we had a lot of action, emotion, and work at the reserve. We had to remove many rocks out of the road, but we did not have as much back pain as we feared. We are still young! There were photos of jaguars and many animals. We also spent time with Laco and his family and some of the neighboring ranchers. We ate the traditional “pan de muerto,” a Mexican bread that is made in the days around Halloween, and enjoyed the cold nights this time of year.
We look forward to our work next month and bringing more news of what’s happening at the reserve. Expect news from us soon!
– 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.