Project: jaguar research tactics and tracking

Playing detective in the jungle

Imprints and feces - The first tactic revolves around the discovery of tracks and fecal material. Volunteers and staff delve into the heart of the forest in search of clues and signs of the jaguar's presence. Equipped with their data collection kits, they cut their way through the undergrowth to get to where the mighty felines could live, and bring back what evidence they can find for analysis.

Caught on camera
The second stratagem relies on camera traps. These traps are battery operated, like normal cameras, but are set off automatically, so any animal triggering the sensors will be photographed.

For the purpose of the study, the forest has been divided into four different types of areas. One of the zones where the cameras will be placed this year for example is near cattle farms. The idea is to investigate if proximity to livestock affects population density - either positively because the cats feed off the cattle, or negatively because the farmers hunt them.

In Latin America, farmers are not compensated if their cattle is in any way harmed by wild animals. In the province of Misiones, a law that would reduce taxes for aggrieved farmers is currently under discussion. This would presumably help reduce illegal hunting within the forest, although no study on the matter has yet been carried out.

Analysis
All data pertaining to the jaguars is brought back to the office for subsequent laboratory analysis. DNA fingerprinting of fecal material and imprint crosschecks are used to define how many individual jaguars have been tracked.

WWF office in Iguazú. / ©: WWF-Canon
WWF office in Iguazú.
© WWF-Canon
FVSA/WWF Office signpost. / ©: WWF-Canon
FVSA/WWF Office signpost.
© WWF-Canon
Camera trap. / ©: WWF-Canon
Camera trap.
© WWF-Canon

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