Wildlife Conservation Society researchers identified more individual jaguars than ever before with digital camera surveillance.
Researchers identified 19 individual jaguars by spot patterns in the rainforests of Bolivia, a record number for a single camera trap survey in the country. The animals were identified from a total of 975 photographs.
“We’re excited about the prospect of using these images to find out more about this elusive cat and its ecological needs,” said WCS Conservationist Dr. Robert Wallace in a statement. “The data gleaned from these images provide insights into the lives of individual jaguars and will help us generate a density estimate for the area.”
The cameras were set up from the Alto Madidi and Alto Heath, a region at the headwaters of the Madidi and Heath Rivers inside Bolivia’s Madidi National Park. The survey also included Ixiamas Municipal Reserve, created following a previous WCS survey in 2004 along the Madidi River.
The digital cameras, replacing traditional film units, are strategically placed along pathways in the forest and especially the beaches of rivers and streams for weeks at a time, snapping pictures of animals that cross an infrared beam.
Now, researchers returning to the traps can download the images much faster than in the past with traditional film units which took days for the film to develop.