The jaguar, like the Bush Dog I wrote about in our last post, is an extremely elusive animal that very few people have ever seen in the wild. Our wardens have all spent most of their lives in these forests without ever seeing one.. Yesterday that changed for wardens Santiago Recalde and Luis Recalde as they rode their motorcycle to our Rio Anzu Reserve. As they neared the reserve they saw a big animal far ahead of them on the road. They wondered whether it might be a big dog, but as they got closer they realized it was a jaguar! They stopped their motorcycle and approached on foot. The jaguar paid almost no attention to them, hardly even bothering to turn its head to look at them. It was more interested in a bit of blue road trash. It slowly walked down the road and off into the vegetation.
It is difficult for such big powerful predators to survive in this mosaic of forests and agricultural land. At the moment, the local cattle ranchers in this area are up in arms over a jaguar that is killing their cattle. Perhaps this same jaguar that was photographed by our guards. While conservationists working in this area have been trying to find non-lethal solutions to prevent these human conflicts, we have not found a good solution yet. There have been movements to kill these jaguars, not only in the area around the Rio Anzu but also around our Manduriacu Reserve and elsewhere in our area of influence.They are hunted with dogs, which have more endurance than big cats and can track and eventually corner or tree them for the hunters. Their best hope is the the existence of very large protected areas, with protected corridors connecting them. This is what we are trying to do in the Rio Anzu area and elsewhere….
Camera trap video of a melanistic jaguar in the Rio Anzu area at the Merazonia Wildlife Center.
Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga
Hi Steve and Lou, (and hello Kimberly—are you related to the grizzly Craigheads?)
It’s exciting that the jaguar was spotted.
I wonder if ranching people can be helped by guard dogs. In Chile, the ranchers were killing all the pumas to protect sheep. The Tompkins started breeding a kind of guard dog (Maremmas, that weight 45 kg) that can protect the sheep, and giving them away to the ranchers. I think that program was quite successful, but I have no idea whether the dogs can also scare off jaguars.
This article discusses them and other approaches, again not clearly relevant for jaguars. The dogs might just be yummy decoys. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/03/lights-dogs-action-patagonia-project-to-keep-pumas-from-preying-on-sheep￼ Lights, dogs, action! Patagonia project to keep pumas from preying on sheep theguardian.com
I’m attaching a paper that discusses jaguar-cow conflicts (old hat I’m sure for Kimberly).
Best wishes, Matt
Hi Matt and Minx, Thanks for that insight. We should look into that, though jaguars do love to eat dogs. We also have similar problems with puma in our area, and maybe dogs would work at least for puma. The puma have been especially destructive since they kill everything within reach, even if they can’t eat it all, and in a duck or chicken coop, all the occupants are “sitting ducks”.
The link above does not work, but this one does.
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