Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jag Walk Update

Jaguars (Panthera onca) have been active on the beach of Tortuguero National Park since the beginning of Green Turtle (Chelona midas) season. On this weeks walk, six dead turtles were discovered. The survey is a sixteen mile walk down the beach from Jalova to Tortuguero recording data on jaguar predated turtles and jaguar activity on the beach. Last weeks turtles bring the total count of the season to sixty-four. Interns Karen Black and Lauren Hallett had this account of their walk: The first jag walk of the second five weeks was a roaring success! Waking up at four AM Karen Black, Lauren Hallett, Deanna Ferguson and patrol leader Jonathan Groom already knew it was going to be a burner of a day, but they were determined not to let the heat get the better of them. The team walked sixteen miles in total to Tortuguero in the hot and soft sand.
There were a few hiccups along the way; forgetting to collect beach condition data at mile sixteen and having to walk back, then later having to make a quick escape from a smelly dead turtle that had to be worked with. Spirits were high when they eventually made it to Buddha Café in Tortuguero, especially when they were greeted with frozen mango juices.

Looking back, the ten-hour trek in the full sun of the day may have affected them more then they realized. Karen and Lauren found themselves to somehow be too energetic for the last couple of miles. They were singing and dancing to songs regarding how beautiful and sexy they are (after 16 miles they were certainly not either of those things!) and climbing around the vegetation pretending to be explorers and generally having a really good time.
There were few predated turtles, which is always good to see and a high presence of jag tracks (adults and cubs) along the beach. Good Luck to next week’s Jaggers Casey, Marshall, Danya and Andres. We hope you have as much fun as we did!