June 17, 2011
I’d like to tell you about what happened in the month of May, which was my second trip and the last month of working with our student intern and field assistant, Juan Pablo Gomez. On this trip, Juan Pablo and I went with Miguel and Carmina again. The temperatures were much hotter, and there were several fires near the Northern Jaguar Reserve and the ranches. Fortunately they did not get too close. This time everything went very smoothly, no unforeseen trouble with the truck, so I got to know the ranches named Los Alisos, El Cajon del Mudo, La Mesa Rica, and Babaco that I missed on our last review. All of them are nice but especially Los Alisos and La Mesa Rica, which are found on higher ground, made up mostly of oaks, and the heat was not as intense as in the rest of the ranches.
In reviewing the camera-trap pictures, there were two jaguars – one at Babaco that was previously identified within the boundaries of the Northern Jaguar Reserve (as yet unnamed). Then at Las Tesotas, I got my first official picture of a new jaguar and the owner named it “Cazabecerros.” After that, there was another photo of Caza at Carricito.
At the La Ventana ranch house, we met a new neighbor – a coati had moved in next door. One afternoon when we left food on the table, he came in and ate the leftover potato cakes. We had to chase the coati away because he wanted to bite Loco (Laco’s dog). In Babisal, we also have new tenants in one room of the house where a rock wren had her chicks.
The place where Juan Pablo and I were most fatigued and worn out was El Sapo. It was the only ranch where the trails were not cleared and were full of thorny plants. We lost much of that day because we ran out of water when we were walking back to the truck in order to go to Las Cuevas. We finished covered in thorns, dehydrated, and tired. Afterward, Juan Pablo convinced me to go check the camera at El Guano, telling me that it was nearby. Since this was the first time that I had been there, I believed him, but that was not true. It was constant climbing, and at 1:30 in the afternoon. We finished very tired – although the view was beautiful from the top.
Now that I have visited all of the ranches I hope that I do not forget where all of the cameras are. I do have the geographical reference points, but I have to confess that Santa Rosa was the most difficult to locate. I hope I don’t get lost in that arroyo when I go alone (according to Juan Pablo, it will take me three hours just to locate this camera, but I hope not). At least I will have help form Ricardo Vázquez (owner of Los Alisoso) and Kiko (vaquero at La Tinaja).
I will tell you about it next time because that is all for now. The story continues. I almost forgot that in Los Pavos I buried the skull of a gray fox. I am including a photo and will share another one once the skull has been cleaned.
Daniela Gutiérrez began her position as the Viviendo con Felinos field technician in March 2011. She works with ten ranchers surrounding the Northern Jaguar Reserve monitoring wildlife, particularly the area’s four large felines, and promoting habitat restoration.