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