South America’s Best Big Cat Safari Ever!
Last week we had the best safari of our lives. We could never have imagined that we would see and learn so many things in just one night.
We left for a drive at 10:30 pm in search of Esperança and along the way we found a puma with an 4 months old cub … We stayed with them for about 15, to 20 minutes … The mother was a little skittish, but feeling that we presented no danger, due to the manner and care with which we approached, made no effort to take the cub away from the sighting. The cub stayed at a distance of more or less 35 meters (+/- 100ft) from our car for a long time.
We continued in search of Esperança and after about 30 more minutes dodging puddles and flooded plains, due to time of year, we found her. She was in full view and accompanied by Natureza (her daughter), Chuva (the first jaguar we began the habituation process with) and even Garoa (Chuva’s daughter). The perfect scenario! Four of the most habituated jaguars of Caiman Ecological Refuge all in the same place!
We stayed with them for more than 2 hours … During that time we saw a lot of interaction between the two cubs and also between mothers and cubs… At one point there was a brief fight between Chuva and Esperança but they all remained at the same location … They say jaguars are solitary … what were they all doing together?
We latter found out that there was a carcass in the area on which they took turns feeding on…. At around 2 am we decided to leave them. At 5 am we went back to the same place and with sun rising in the horizon, we found Esperança walking toward a pond.
We continued ahead looking for the other jaguars … Shortly after we found the two cubs walking together in the opposite direction that Esperança was walking to!
Lots to be analyzed and behaviors to be discovered. Why were the two cubs, from different mothers, walking together? Despite being so young (about a year / year and two months) are they already separating from their mothers? What is the degree of kinship between these jaguars? Are Chuva and Esperança sisters? Are the cubs cousins? Do jaguar cousins hang out together?
Well, many things to learn, discover and concepts to change … With this project we learn new jaguar behaviors each day that goes by!
A fantastic night that will never be forgotten.
Written and Photographed by: Mario Haberfeld