Tom and I thought it was odd that after George from the Forestry Department came and talked to our neighbors, we heard no more about the jaguar in the area. A few days ago, we think we found out why.
When we towed Tony up into the Mountain Pine Ridge to visit our friend George last month, we knew we had ridden past a motion sensing wildlife camera mounted on the Slate Creek Line. We suspected, but didn’t know, that it was one of Blancaneaux’s cameras which they’ve mounted in various places to collect information on cats within a 5-mile radius of the lodge. Tom was in 7 Miles a few days ago, and a friend who is working on this project at Blancaneaux asked if we’d had a good ride up the Slate Creek Line since as well as capturing pictures of cats, the camera got a good picture of us. Geraldo then asked if we saw signs of cats up there, and we told him that we’d seen many tracks. Then, he asked what we thought about the jaguar killing one of our neighbors’ pigs.
Tom corrected him and said it was a dog that was killed, and Geraldo then informed Tom that rumor has it that a pig was also killed not too long ago. So, after a brief discussion with Geraldo, Tom came to the conclusion that we’re no longer in the loop on what’s going on with the jaguar around here. Apparently when the delegation approached us to get help, the help they wanted was an assurance that the jaguar would be shot and killed. When the neighbors instead were told to protect their dogs and livestock, and to contact Forestry again if anything happened, they decided they’d deal with it their own way, and the rumor Tom heard from Geraldo is that they’re trying to get a gun so they can kill the jaguar themselves.
We find this very distressing. First, we don’t think the jaguar should be killed anyway, since we’re in its territory. Second, we think the neighbors have a way overblown sense of the danger of the jaguar, and just find it inconvenient to protect their animals. Third, even if they go out and hunt and kill a jaguar, there’s no guarantee that the jaguar they kill is the one attacking dogs and livestock. George says the only way to make sure you trap the right jaguar is to get a trap to the site of a recent kill, and put the carcass of that kill in the trap; most jaguars will return to finish their own kill, but they won’t be attracted to the carcass of a dead animal they didn’t kill. So, the neighbors are not going to deal with Forestry or tell us what’s going on because they know we won’t do what they want us to do. It’s very frustrating, and we just hope that the rumor mill continues to get the rumors back to people like Geraldo who will contact Forestry and see if they can get a trap out here – although the trap would be more likely to succeed if the neighbors would contact somebody right after an animal was killed so the carcass could be used for bait.