Last week AEP staff members journeyed into Cerro Hoya National Park to place “camera traps” to study jaguars with Jessica Fort, an aspiring PhD student and is currently a Peace Corps volunteer in El Cortezo, Azuero and Eric Donoso from SOMASPA, Panama’s Mastozoological society. As part of a pilot study, these cameras will help locate the last remaining members of this species and hopefully contribute to their conservation. In addition to measuring the abundance of Jaguar and other feline species, the long-time goals of this study are to improve conservation efforts within Cerro Hoya by providing new data on feline abundance and other wildlife and to increase awareness of the park’s growing need for conservation to the outside scientific community.
Two local guides, Domingo from La Tronosa and Gilberto from El Cortezo, also participated, along with two additional Peace Corps volunteers. This was a fascinating opportunity for AEP to collaborate with SOMASPA, Jessica, and Professor Clayton Nielsen from Southern Illinois University. The university and SOMASPA donated the cameras for this project.
For more information about the use of camera traps for conservation, read this article from mongabay.com.