Jaguar Guardian Blog – September 2010

October 22, 2010

Dear Friends,

We went to the 10th national and first Latin American Mastozoology Congress in Guanajuato this month. During these meetings, we presented the results obtained from the mammal community monitoring at the Northern Jaguar Reserve, and of course, we presented the most up-to-date jaguar density results. In the five days that we attended these meetings, we had the opportunity to share our experiences with many people who work with mammals in Mexico and to learn from their experiences. We also met with a lot of friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time.

After our stay in Guanajuato, we went back to the reserve. This time, we had the company of John Yerger, an ornithologist who lives at Arizona. John visited the reserve in order to continue the migratory bird surveys. He stayed with us for a week, and we all worked each morning – very early, by the way – in order to see as many birds as possible. The transects that we used are the same that Aaron Flesch established years ago, so it is easy to find them. The hard work for us was to identify the birds, which was not the case for John who is really an expert in bird identification. Like with Hector and Monica last month, following the heavy summer rains, John could only access La Ventana and Babisal. But he wasn’t disappointed with that, since he really enjoyed these ranches – especially El Huijalo stream (“huijalo” is the local name for the wild turkey) and, of course, El Babisal stream. We can easily understand why he enjoyed this part of the reserve since Babisal is one of our favorite streams also.

Once again, we learned many things from visiting researchers. We found we could identify more bird species, and seeing one species in particular made us very happy since it is hard to see. This was the rose-throated becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae), which we saw on the Babisal transect. According to John’s first impression, we were able to record three or four new bird species for the reserve, but we will wait until John does some analysis and tells us if they are new records or not.

Another part of our work this month was to begin fixing the road. We did this by hand because the bulldozer that will repair the road will not be able to reach the reserve until maybe the end of November or first weeks of December. We did this because we want to go to Dubaral and Los Pavos soon and check the cameras there. Reaching these ranches is possible on horse or by walking (if you are really brave), but we don’t have enough horses or mules to carry us and all of the materials we have to move from one ranch to another – such as food, water, batteries, and camping equipment. That’s why we need the truck and the road to get to all of the ranches.

As we couldn’t make it to Dubaral and Los Pavos this month, and since we spent most of our field time with John learning about birds, we still owe you news about jaguar pictures. But don’t be sad, we promise you that next month, we will finish the repairs to the road to Los Pavos and that we will bring you new jaguar pictures… So, let’s go to the reserve!

Our best wishes,

– 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.

Vermilion flycatcher photo by John Yerger