Monday, February 13, 2012

Trapping Jaguars!!! (with cameras)

It might not look like much but it was an exciting capture indeed!!

As part of our project collecting data on jaguars by means of camera traps, we checked the pictures that the jag cams took and found the usual funny photos of staff, an ocelot, and finally a jaguar!

Surprisingly, it was caught on camera at mid-day so it was a fantastic and clear shot. Unfortunately, the camera traps have a slight delay and had gone off a little late so we only got a shot of the back side which was a little disappointing. The markings were really clear though so we began the task of staring at jag photos to compare markings to find out which individual jaguar it was.

After a while, we discovered it was Dave, a jaguar who has not been sighted in over a year so everyone was excited to find out he's still out there roaming around. And not only is he still out there, he's wandering very close to camp, and in the day time too. This may or may not be a good thing, that the jaguars are willing to get so close to where people are living, but it certainly is convenient for us to collect data on them!

Sometimes all we need to ID a jag is a brief glimpse!

We recently found jaguar tracks by the gate to camp so we've all got our fingers crossed for more jaguar sightings in person soon. At the moment we now have at least 9 identified individual jaguars in Tortuguero National Park, which continues to surprise and inspire us. The camera-trapping project has been absolutely key to cataloguing the number of individuals in the park so we're all optimistic about it's future contributions!

-Zach, Karen, Jessica, and Holly - GVI interns/volunteers