Projeto Onçafari makes extensive use of a number of cleverly placed camera traps. We use these motion triggered cameras to help us in identifying ‘jaguar hotspots’ – in other words to help us to clarify which areas the jaguars use. This ultimately helps us in focusing our time out in the field. After all the secret to habituation is time spent with the animal!
We are not only looking to seek out identities of individuals, but also trying to establish habits, behaviour and routines. We are continually learning about these majestic cats. The jaguar’s secretive nature and the difficult landscape have meant that historically we know very little about them. The camera traps are helping us to document behaviour that would previously have been impossible to capture.
The team managed to identify a tree in the core research area that had a lot of claw marks on the trunk. It was deducted that a cat, of some description, must be using the tree. So we placed a camera trap in the branches of the tree. The camera was positioned, secured using a bracket, and left for a month. We waited with baited breath…
We took the video segments, selected the highlights and edited them all into one short clip. This allows you to see which creatures used this particular tree that month. I like to think of it as a ‘month in the life of a tree’ – I think you will find it fascinating. It is rather humorous when you see what unfolds in the canopy.
In my opinion the highlight occurs 39 seconds into the clip. This moment is priceless.
Yet another fascinating bit of life in the Pantanal revealed by the Onçafari Team
Note: The jaguar in the video is a female known by Projeto Onçafari as Esperanza. She was collared in October 2012, in an attempt to learn about her territory. The collar records GPS points that allow us to get an idea of her movements. After two years the collar will drop off.
Written by Adam Bannister