Posted on Feb 15, 2022

EcoEducation: A Sign of Hope for Jaguars at Corcovado National Park

It's hard to study an animal that doesn't want to be seen!  So when scientists wanted to find out how human disturbance affects animals like the Jaguar on the Osa Penninsula in Costa Rica, they embarked on the largest camera trap study in South America.  In February 2018, 240 cameras were installed in a grid across the entire peninsula. Cameras were left in the forest for an average of four months.
Results showed that places with more human activity had fewer types of animals.  The animals that continued to thrive in areas with a lot of human activity were smaller animals - especially rodents.  Larger animals like Jaguars were driven out.   But areas that have been protected through conservation efforts have shown almost full recovery of species from the 1990s where few large animals were found outside of parks.  
The camera trap research study was a collaborative effort between biologist, universities and private citizens who were trained to use the cameras, monitor the animals, and report the data.  The question of how many Jaguars occupied the Osa Peninsula was not able to be answered before this collaborative effort because of the range of the Jaguar.  A single institution would not be able to cover that much area.   

Read the full report here.