2 jaguars released in Mexico, but 1 dies
July 20, 2009
One jaguar died and one survived a historic release into the jungle of Mexico's Yucatan
Peninsula — an effort aided by an Arizona veterinarian and at least two Arizona biologists.
The surviving jaguar, age 5 to 7, is still roaming under the dense canopies of the
privately owned nature preserve where she was released. Pictures taken by cameras
placed in the area show she is in very good condition — "fat and sassy," said Ole
Alcumbrac, a Lakeside, Ariz., veterinarian who helped organize the jaguar release
in cooperation with the Mexican government.
The jaguars were released into the Calakmul Biosphere Preserve, a 1.8-million-acre
area owned by the Nature Conservancy. The jungle is so dense there that it took workers
for the project eight hours to hack with machetes about 1.3 miles into the area to
hunt for the older jaguar's kill sites.
The effort was run by the Mexican government, but it worked closely with Americans
who raised $30,000 to $40,000 for the project and flew to the area. Participants included
two Texas Tech University wildlife experts and an official with a wildlife veterinary
dental foundation from Colorado. The jaguars got repairs to canine teeth, including
a root canal for the younger jaguar, after each animal broke a tooth trying to escape
from its cage. After being trained to hunt for prey in the wild, the jaguars were
released before Mexican television cameras because the government wanted to make the
public aware of problems jaguars face and the importance of protecting them and their
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