What money can buy:
Data collection kits
Donations to WWF have been used to buy the material needed to record and collect data on the jaguar. Each volunteer on this project is given a kit including plaster to mold tracks as well as material to record whereabouts and gather feces. As time goes by, these kits need to be replenished, and new ones need to be purchased as more people join the network.
These expensive but essential devices were purchased thanks to donations and in-kind support from Lincoln Park Zoo and the Fundacion Antorjan, amongst others.
Money has also been spent on two vehicles - one is affectionately known as "La Manioquera" as it looks more like a truck to farm manioc than a car used in scientific investigations. The second is newer but driven with just as much pride. These two cars are essential to keep up with the 200 volunteers and are also used to get to the boundaries of the forest within which the camera traps are hidden.
Prerequisites for long-term monitoring of the jaguar population are the availability of at least one full-time focal point to collect data from the volunteer network, and funding to have one workshop a year involving all the network. The first condition has already been fulfilled as Carlos De Angelo recently obtained a two-year fellowship. The second requirement still lacks funds.
Time is money - volunteer on the ground or in the office:
In the forest
Being part of the network of volunteers on which the project relies is harsh but rewarding. Because of the conditions in which the work is carried out, only very fit individuals can take part (volunteers have to hack their way into the forest, are often stung by bees and sometimes snakes, and are frequently cut off from the world, with no radio or phone communications possible for days).
In the office
Although no funds are available to support interns on this project, people who are willing to volunteer are welcome to join the team in the Fundacion Vida Silvestre WWF Associate office in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. Cat and forest experts are also invited to join the crew.