NEW YORK (March 22, 2005) - He's beautiful and he knows it. A male jaguar recently acted like he was on a fashion runway in Manhattan, rather than his home in Kaa-Iya National Park in Bolivia, when it plopped down in front of a remote "camera trap" and allowed a remarkable 35 pictures to be taken over a five-and-a-half hour period. Two days earlier, the same cat languished for 90 minutes, when 19 photos were shot.
Biologists from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) are using the remote cameras to census the park, which may contain more jaguars than any protected area in Latin America. Normally the cameras, which are tripped by an infrared beam, capture little more than a fleeting glimpse of wildlife.
No one knows why this particular jaguar spent so much time in front of the camera, where it alternatively sat, laid on his side or on his back with his feet in the air, rolled over, slept or simply stared back at the lens. "Perhaps he's just a big ham," speculated WCS field biologist Erika Cuéllar, who is helping coordinate the WCS jaguar survey.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is working to protect jaguars throughout their range with projects in several Latin American countries designed to safeguard healthy populations of this spectacular big cat.
Photos available through WCS's press office