According to the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), a jaguar with an atypical coloration known as “melanism” was spotted in La Amistad International Park.
SINAC, La Amistad Pacific Conservation Area (ACLAP), Point Loma Nazareth University USA, Quetzal Education, Research Center (QUERC), Justice for Nature Organization, and Forests for Children Association are implementing a biological monitoring program of wild mammal species in La Amistad International Park.
This program uses cameras that are automatically activated by the movement of the animals. Currently, there are 13 monitoring stations, which remain active day and night. The camera traps are located in places with limited access for visitors.
These cameras collect evidence as strategic support for the control and fight against illegal access, poaching, and other illegal activities.
In addition, through these recordings, it has been possible to observe different wild species of birds and wild mammals. For example, squirrels, tapirs, rabbits, wild pigs (white-faced and peccary), mountain goats, coatis, opossums, badgers, coyotes, manigordos, pumas, and jaguars have been spotted.
One of the major surprises was the jaguar with atypical coloring. Usually, they have black spots in the form of a rosette on a yellowish coat. However, in a few individuals, this isn’t the case. Instead, their fur is totally or partially dark due to the accentuation of the black pigmentation in the feline’s fur.
“These studies allow us to advance in an adequate zoning of the protected area to define spaces for tourism, environmental education, and others where wildlife can live with little or no human intervention,” said Rafael Gutiérrez, SINAC’s Executive Director.
The Amistad Pacific Conservation Area (ACLA-P), and the officials involved in the constant monitoring of wildlife species, keep observation and sampling records to determine how healthy the ecosystems of the Conservation Area are.
“We hope to ratify this cooperation agreement soon and intensify the conservation efforts to continue developing outreach, dissemination, control, monitoring, research support, and public attention,” said Ronald Chan, ACLA-P Regional Director.
Costa Rica is a country with great biological diversity and has made great efforts for its conservation and sustainable use. Ecological monitoring is a fundamental tool to understand these conservation efforts’ impact and identify improvement areas.