December 24, 2013
Laqui and I quickly finished our work at the Northern Jaguar Reserve this month, since there was not much time before the holidays. We only found a few ranchers out working on their ranches, since most remain in Sahuaripa this time of year to celebrate the holidays with their families.
The rains have continued during the last month, yet it is not a strong or constant rain. The arroyos are running, even though I remember some of them were drying up at this point last year. We hope these winter rains continue, as this is the way it was many years ago.
We only had two types of wildlife sightings on this outing, both of which are key jaguar prey species. We saw three white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) at Las Cuevas. Later, when we were at El Sapo to check cameras, we noticed nine javelina (Pecari tajacu). When they saw us, most of them started to run, although one or two adults quietly stood their ground. It is possible that they were confronting us so that the others would be able to get away.
I once had the opportunity to talk with José López, a vaquero on a neighboring ranch. He told me about a time he and his wife were chased by a javelina while they were out collecting chiltepin. They came across a group of javelina, one ran toward them, and José and his wife had to climb a tree to avoid getting bitten. That one javelina finally left after all the others were out of sight. This behavior is a clear example of protecting the herd.
When we went to check the motion-triggered cameras at Las Cuevas, Ricardo Vázquez graciously lent us two horses to get to the El Guano site, which is one of the more distant camera locations. It is always hard to reach El Guano due to the steep climb that expends a lot of energy. The horses were very helpful as we carried on with our work.
Next month, I hope to have more news to share with you because, as you know, nature always surprises us day by day.
Javier Valenzuela Amarillas has worked on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches since 2012. As a jaguar guardian, he helps to 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.