A study by researchers from the University of Oxford has gathered information about the behaviour and ecology of jaguars, including that the animal is more social than previously thought, and that it has a diverse diet that includes fruits and fish. The researchers, armed with GPS collars and camera traps, found that jaguars interacted with one another, including bonding during the breeding season. Jaguars living in the Pantanal, a Brazilian wetland, were also discovered to be strong swimmers. The research could help to protect the species, which is listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
New Study Reveals Surprising Insights into the Secret Lives of Jaguars
Jaguars are one of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. With their striking black spots on rust-colored fur, powerful jaws, and piercing eyes, these enigmatic big cats have always captured our imagination. However, despite their iconic status, we still know very little about the day-to-day lives of these elusive animals. Fortunately, a new study has shed some light on their secret lives.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Oxford, who spent over two years tracking and observing jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal. Using GPS collars, camera traps, and direct observations, the researchers were able to gather a wealth of information about the behavior, movements, and social interactions of these big cats.
The study revealed several surprising insights into the secret lives of jaguars. Here are some of the key findings:
They are more social than we thought
Contrary to popular belief, jaguars are not solitary animals. The researchers observed that jaguars frequently interacted with each other, particularly during the breeding season. They also found evidence of social bonds between some individuals, including a mother-daughter pair who were frequently seen together.
They have diverse diets
While jaguars are primarily known for their love of meat, the study found that they have a surprisingly diverse diet. In addition to hunting prey such as capybaras, caimans, and tapirs, the researchers also observed jaguars feeding on fruit, fish, and even armadillos.
They are master swimmers
Jaguars are known to be skilled climbers and powerful runners, but the study revealed that they are also excellent swimmers. The researchers observed jaguars swimming across rivers and lakes and even diving underwater to catch fish.
Why are these Findings Important?
The new insights into jaguar behavior and ecology provided by this study are important for several reasons. One of the most pressing is the conservation of this iconic species, which is currently listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. By understanding more about how jaguars live and interact with their environment, we can better protect them from threats such as habitat loss, hunting, and climate change.
What is the Pantanal?
The Pantanal is a vast wetland that covers parts of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It is home to an incredible array of plant and animal species, including jaguars, anacondas, and giant river otters.
What is a GPS collar?
A GPS collar is a device that is attached to an animal’s neck, typically by a veterinarian or trained wildlife biologist. The collar contains a GPS unit and other sensors that can track the animal’s location, movements, and behavior.
How many jaguars are left in the wild?
It is difficult to estimate the precise number of jaguars remaining in the wild, but some estimates put the global population at around 20,000-30,000 individuals. However, jaguars are difficult to count due to their secretive behavior and large home ranges, so these numbers may be subject to change.