Monday was a good day for big cats in Costa Rica.
The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad outlined the way automatic cameras will keep track of wildlife in the vicinity of the Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Reventazón in what is known as the Barbilla-Destierro Biological Subcorridor and also called the Paso del Jaguar.
The international organization Panthera is setting up the project, finance by the Inter-American Development Bank. Some 80 of the heat- and movement-sensitive cameras are distributed around the jungle. Some of these are online so they can transmit immediately whatever photo has been taken.
For animal fans, the most recent photos are available on the Panthera Web site. Monday night there were photos of an anteater, an ocelot. an armadillo and a skunk. Even confirmed jungle hands might never see some of these in the wilds. And most probably would not want to confront the latter.
The big cat monitoring is part of the environmental management plan for the hydro project, which is about 80 percent completed. It
will provide power for 525,000 households. Panthera noted that the Path of the Jaguar is a critical area for connecting populations of this wild cat and other species, between the Cordillera de Talamanca and the Cordillera Volcánica Central.
The objective of this monitoring project is to help lay the foundation for prioritizing and protecting the critical connectivity habitats for the Paso del Jaguar and its biodiversity, the organization said.
Also planned are some detailed scientific studies including animal genetics.
Also Monday the zoo in San José said that cats there will be getting new homes.
The zoo has one jaguar (Panthera onca) that arrived a a cub in 1996. Such animals can live up to 22 years in captivity, noted an announcement. The second and smaller cat is a jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi) that has been at the zoo since 2009.
The zoo, correctly called the Parque Zoológico y Jardín Botánico Nacional Simón Bolívar and its foundation, spent 25 million colons (about $46,000) to erect new housing for both cats, an announcement said. Included is an area where visitors can watch the cats through glass.