Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jaguar Roundup Phase 104

Phase 104 volunteers braved the 15 mile plus Jag Walk trek to Tortuguero 9 times, allowing longer term volunteers to even complete the feat twice! While no Jaguars were seen on the walk, tracks were encountered on each survey (see photo), showing that Jaguars actively use the beach. In total, volunteers this phase walked 130.5 miles for this assignment alone.

Numbers of recently discovered turtle carcasses dropped to 85 this phase compared to 88 from last phase. This despite the turtle season winding down from October. So far the season’s total (July-December 2010) is 173 turtle carcasses found on the beach. Volunteers also recorded an astounding 1,351 full Green Turtle tracks, meaning the turtle went up the beach and back and presumably successfully laid her clutch of eggs!

Additionally, this phase we began an exciting task of trying to capture Jaguars on film using motion detection cameras. Over the course of the phase, staff and volunteers eagerly tested out the equipment and tried to work out the kinks. This lead to 17 cameras being deployed on 14 trapping days at 7 different locations in order to try to gather data on Jaguar activity. Check out our previous blogs for the images (also see photo below). We are very interested in capturing information about Jaguar predation of sea turtles. Thanks to the help of the volunteers, this phase showed us the importance of the camera trapping techniques.

Next phase we will be able to implement improved methodology techniques and have 5 new cameras! We hope to start being able to identify individual Jaguars with the goal of gaining a better idea of the local population size.

Species List

Green Turtle - Chelonia mydas
Jaguar - Panthera onca