We are at our annual Jaguar Scientific Expedition season – and here are some behind-the-scenes exclusive images and information.
Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development has different projects in the most diverse areas – tourism being just one of them all, with its Uakari Lodge.
One of the most successful programs is the ‘Iauaretê Project’, related to the behaviour of jaguars at Mamirauá Reserve. Local scientists’ aim is to comprehend how such big cat can survive at the Reserve (a 1-million-hectares floodplain forest) during flooding – when no land can be found here and jaguars live 3 to 4 months on top of trees. Yes, that is right – jaguars become cute (big) ‘monkeys’ for a couple of months at the reserve. For that reason, these researchers have been monitoring the behaviour of the species at the reserve – hence, they can find them in the wilderness via GPS collars.
This fact has always brought the curiosity of our visitors. Although the concentration of jaguars in the reserve is very high if compared to other regions of the Amazon, spotting it during a regular program is very rare. More recently, the Iauaretê Project proposed Uakari Lodge’s team a scientific program inspired on their work – and, with the program, bring awareness to the fact that the species is still threatened in the Amazon.
The first program was set in 2014 – it counted on the studies developed by Pedro Nassar, who ended up writing his Master’s dissertation on the impacts of such program for Uakari Lodge, Mamirauá Reserve, the local communities, Iauaretê Project and, most importantly, the impacts over the species.
The 2019 operation
On its 5th year of operation, the Jaguar Expedition is again developed during the peak flooding season (May-June) – when the animals are trapped on top of trees and we can safely approach them. The Iauaretê Project, though, has not managed to monitor animals this year – so the expedition of 2019 focus on the science and daily activities these researchers develop along the year. Our visitors become, then, important ‘assistants’ to the conservation programs related to jaguars in the Amazon.
Even in such situation, the pre-trips demand lots of dedication from both teams – Uakari Lodge and Iauaretê Project. We look for lost GPS collars, install camera traps, scientific equipment travels to the lodge and even flights happen so we make sure this activity is feasible during the visit of our beloved ‘assistants’ – yes, we take travellers to see the Reserve and the lodge from airplanes!
After a lot of work from both teams, we are set to receive guests. They will take canoes, get immersed in the jungle, fly over the lodge, learn a lot on the species. And most import: they support the conservation of the top-predator of the food chain in the Amazon, a fundamental role for the balance of wildlife in the biome.
(Image credits: Marcelo Santana, Gui Gomes, Bernardo Oliveira, Miguel Monteiro)