Photo credit: Leonardo Maffei
Bolivia’s sprawling Kaa-Iya Gran Chaco National Park, known for some of the world’s highest densities of ticks, may now lay claim to another superlative: more jaguars than any protected area on earth. According to a recent study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other groups, published in the Journal of Zoology, as many as 1,000 of these elusive big cats may call Kaa-Iya home.
Using methodologies developed by WCS to count tigers in India, the researchers employed remote camera "traps" to photograph jaguars, recording each animal’s unique spotting pattern. Through a statistical analysis that counts each animal re-photographed within a given territory, an accurate population estimate can be determined.
"Our results show that the Chaco is rich with jaguars – and Kaa-Iya in fact probably contains the largest population recorded in any protected area," said WCS conservationist, Dr. Andrew Noss, who co-authored the paper along with representatives of Fundación Ivi-Iyambae, Captinía de Alto y Bajo Isoso, a Bolivia-based indigenous group that helps manage the park.
Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
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