Enchanting Trail Camera Footage of Jaguars and their Prey

jag_manu3
A screenshot from Jaguars in Manu by the Crees Foundation (2015).

I have just stumbled across an excellent video from the Crees Foundation. It is a compilation of trail camera footage from the Manu Biosphere Reserve in Peru: a UNESCO World Heritage site that I would love to visit.

The main stars of this video are Manu’s jaguars (Panthera onca), but the reserve’s white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) also get some screen time. This is important, because jaguars do not live in isolation. They depend on their prey for survival, which in turn depend on plants. Jaguars are embedded within complex ecosystems: just like ourselves. This means that conservation initiatives which benefit apex predators like jaguars have the potential to strengthen entire ecosystems.

I suspect I will revisit this topic in the future. But for now, enjoy the footage. It is not everyday that one gets to see how jaguars and white-lipped peccaries behave when there are no humans around.

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Enchanting Trail Camera Footage of Jaguars and their Prey

  1. Thank you for sharing this footage with us! I love all kinds of animals and I think rare, elegant big cats like the jaguar (or the lynx, my favourite) are especially beautiful and fascinating. The last images made me so sad, it’s horrible how people can be so heartless and enjoy killing those animals for fun.
    I hope you can visit the biosphere one day in the near future! :)

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    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Monika! I also love all animals, but there’s just something about big cats that especially grabs my attention.

      The last images were difficult to see :( I won’t pretend to understand why people kill animals like jaguars, because I’ve had very different life experiences than them. I can only guess that they’ve been taught that it’s okay to kill these creatures. The best way to change their minds is to develop relationships with them and teach them about how important jaguars are: while removing any barriers to coexisting with them.

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      1. Maybe because they have something very elegant about them? :)
        Yes, I think you’re right! It’s amazing how you can apply your psychological skills in your work for the jaguars. What are your long-term plans? To work in Peru? And when did you decide to change your path?

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        1. Yes, big cats are incredibly elegant. I’ve also heard that humans might be biologically wired to direct more attention to potentially dangerous animals. If we’re taught that these animals are good, this heightened attention may translate to awe or wonder. If we’re taught they’re bad, it might be expressed as fear.

          My long-term plans are learn more about what underlies tolerance for jaguars and other big cats. In psychology, there’s a phenomenon known as resilience. Some people are able to undergo horrible experiences, and yet emerge without significant mental health problems. Studying these situations allows psychologists to better understand how to buffer people against negative experiences. Similarly, I want to study people who are unusually tolerant of big cats. I’d like to know why they act as they do, and how we can foster tolerance in others.

          I’d love to visit the Manu Biosphere Reserve, but I think the best place for me to do my Master’s thesis is in Sonora, Mexico. The Northern Jaguar Reserve in this state is home to the most northerly breeding population of jaguars, and it benefits from a high degree of rancher participation. I’d love to talk with these ranchers and learn more about them.

          But the place I’d most like to go is Guyana. This South American country is home to one of the largest stretches of continuous rain forest anywhere on Earth. My ultimate goal is to help conserve Guyana’s rain forests before they’re subject to the large-scale deforestation that’s occurring almost everywhere else.

          Lastly, I decided to change my path last winter. I had long wanted to do something nature-based, but it took me many years to finally make the switch. You can read more about it here: https://thejaguarandallies.com/2015/07/02/introduction/

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          1. Hi Josh, thank you for being so patient!

            To be honest, you’re writing about things I’ve never really thought about – but they’re so interesting and I love learning about new things, especially when they have such an importance. I really appreciate that you take your time to explain it to me :)

            How do you define “tolerance” in this context? Do you mean that you want to study the locals who are less afraid of Jaguars? How are you going to find the people who are unusually tolerant? It sounds very interesting and I hope that you’ll be able to find out more about it!

            So can you already speak Spanish or are you planning to learn it this year? wow, Guyana is an interesting choice! With your enthusiasm and passion, I’m sure you’ll be able to change something. It’s always inspiring to hear from people who do what they love and follow their dreams :)

            Do you regret switching so late or was it the right moment?

            Have a nice Sunday! :)

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          2. Hello Monika! Again, thank you for your thoughtful response.

            I define tolerance in terms of behavior. Some people may think of it as positive attitudes towards certain species, but attitudes don’t always correlate with actions. So for me tolerance is about choosing to not harm, or even to help, large carnivores.

            When I say I want to study people who are unusually tolerant of jaguars, I mean I want to get to know individuals or groups who have every reason to harm them; but choose not to. This might include ranchers who loose livestock to jaguars, and yet usually don’t resort to lethal control of the cats. Another option is to interview local people who are highly involved in jaguar conservation. It would be even better if they came from a social group, such as ranchers, who are often thought (even if erroneously) to be relatively intolerant of large carnivores. I’d like to know why they act the way they do, and how to encourage those behaviors among other people.

            As for how to find some people, I’m going to need to spend lots of time learning about existing conservation programs and reading lots of studies. This might help me locate areas where local people seem unusually tolerant of jaguars, or highly involved in their conservation. I might also meet people with helpful contacts once I start grad school.

            I’ve been SLOWLY teaching myself Spanish for several months now. I have no idea how good I am, because I’ve convinced myself that I’m too busy to find and meet with a good conversation partner on a regular basis. But sooner or later I’m going to have to find a way to make it work. I’m hoping there will be some clubs or something I can take advantage of once I move to California.

            Lastly, I do sometimes wish that I’d switched paths earlier. But I don’t think things could’ve worked out any differently than they did. There were an unusual set of circumstances that came together at the same time that led to my decision. So I think it happened at the right moment, even though for me it felt late.

            Thanks for your reassurance! I appreciate it :)

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