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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Like Here, Only Different ~ Smile You're on Candid Camera

You cannot be in all places at all times. 

No matter how slow or how quiet you are, the animals and hear, smell, feel and sense your presence LONG before you know they are around.  (Well except the Peccarys, everyone nose where, when and from what direction they come and go.  Peee-yuwee)

It is not hard to imagine what a small group of sweaty humans with suspect clothing and a layer of DEET and Pyrethrum smells like to a sensitive animal like an Agouty or a keen hunter like a  Jaguar.  They often depart long before we see them.

So the motion /heat sensitive cameras are a great tool to have.  They can be set up in key locations and effectively take the place of 24/7 watch duty.  They capture images which can help identify unique features on the cats.  The ocelots and Jaguar can potentially be identified by their coat markings.

The project had four cameras set up in key locations.  A few were set up in very remote areas others in the key study area of the Mammal Colpa and near a large water source.

They are pretty nifty and can take a series of images in a time frame you can set. A removable memory card allowed a team to swap out the data card without bringing the camera back to camp.  Built in flash permitted collection of night images.  Most of the animals species tolerate the flash and no one mentioned any report of an animal harming a camera.

Mounting the camera in high traffic areas like on a trail resulted in many images of the footwear all the team members wore.  In fact, when the images were reviewed on the computer, it was possible to id all of the team members by their footwear.

I was able to obtain some images from our two weeks from the Biosphere Facebook page. 

A Puma ( cougar, mountain lion) at the Mammal Colpa.  It is on the left, just to the left of the tree trunk, behind the main clay area, walking up slope.  At 3 in the afternoon as you see by the tag.

An Ocelot.  The rosette pattern of the fur may make this an identifiable individual.

A Jaguar.  A grand creature.  This is potentially the Jaguar they call Matthias, in honor of the founder of Biosphere.

Sometimes when the animal is very close to the camera you see nothing but the blur, but often the color and general impression is enough to make a species identification. Or you get half a portrait.


That is a Guan at the Mammal Colpa on the left.  I am not sure if a positive id was made on the bird on the right.

Looks like a gull to me but that would not be a likely jungle visitor.

It is a shame that there were  only four cameras.  Watching the images come up on the computer was like Christmas Morning!!!


  1. Uggg, I have one of those cameras that I bought to capture the critters around my house at night. Only problem is that I can't figure out how to set it up. I just have to try again. I don't think I'll get an ocelot, or a jaguar, or even a cougar, though.

  2. I hope not!!!

    But it would be fun to see "out your back window" at 2 am

  3. Annonymous

    I have not received any reports of trouble viewing frames on this or any other posting. I checked on three different computers today in two different server locations and the appearance is fine.