Spotting the difference in the spots

January 28, 2009

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has released some pictures from the first large-scale census of jaguars in the Amazon region of Ecuador—one of the most biologically rich regions on the planet.

One of the pictures, shown here, was taken with a  “camera trap” that photographs animals remotely when they trip a sensor that detects body heat.

The ongoing census, which began in 2007, is working to establish baseline population numbers as oil exploration and subsequent development puts growing pressure on wildlife in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park and adjacent Waorani Ethnic Reserve,” WCS said in a statement.   

So far the team has taken 75 pictures of jaguars, which can be individually identified through their unique pattern of spots,” it said. The research is being carried out by a team led by WCS research fellow Santiago Espinosa and his work is funded by WCS, WWF and the University of Florida.

(Photo: Santiago Espinosa, courtesy of WCS)

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