Wildlife Conservation Society traps jaguars in Ecuador

A jaguar recently captured in a camera trap in Ecuador. (Photo/Santiago Espinosa)

The Amazon forests of Ecuador may be some of the most biologically rich on Earth, and thanks to the innovative technology of camera traps triggered by body heat, the Wildlife Conservation Society has captured 75 images of American jaguars in little more than a year. The photos help biologist Santiago Espinosa and his team survey wildlife populations in Yasuni National Park and Waorani Ethnic Reserve – 6,500 sqaure miles of wilderness threatened by increasing oil development, invading road systems and bushmeat trades.

Espinosa is working with indigenous Waorani groups to set up and monitor the complex camera networks. So far the traps are proving a success, giving researchers and the public a glimpse at rarely seen Amazon wildlife in their natural habitat, including white-lipped peccaries, (a type of wild pig and important prey of the jaguar), and the truly bizarre-looking short-eared dog. While there are plans to extend the range monitored by camera traps to other regions of Ecuador, you can catch up on more photos from Yasuni National Park and Waorani Ethnic Reserve for the meantime at the Wildlife Conservation Society Web site.

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