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Jaguar Sanctuary creates a unique balance between ranching and the preservation of a native species

While studying mineral deposits and rock formations in Sonora, Jalisco geologist Chris Lloyd found himself on a lonely road near the headwaters of the Yaqui River. The road eventually dead-ended, apparently in the middle of nowhere, but Lloyd and his companions came upon a campground.

pg8a“The campers were hunters,” Lloyd told me. “I might have expected that, but the surprising thing was that they were biologists and veterinarians and their rifles didn’t contain bullets, rather darts.”

Still more surprising was what the men were “hunting”: jaguars.

“Every year, these hunters tranquilize jaguars, weigh and measure them, and see how they are doing,” Lloyd continued.

This lonely campsite was located inside the Reserva Jaguar del Norte (Northern Jaguar Reserve), a 24,400-hectare sanctuary that has no fences surrounding it.

Lloyd said the biologists explained that they work regularly with cattle ranchers outside the reserve, showing them ways to better manage their livestock.

“They’ve convinced the ranchers to create new water holes on their land and not send all their cows off to one common hole where jaguars just sit and wait for dinner to arrive,” said Lloyd. “The biologists also reintroduced peccaries and told the ranchers the jaguars would prefer to hunt them, and leave their cows alone.”

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