The past few days I’ve been camped in a wildlife refuge. Seeking refuge myself. I’m not wild, but I’m not exactly domesticated, either.
So far I’ve seen jack rabbits, deer and coyotes. Also a variety of small birds (which, sorry, all look the same to me). There are pronghorns here, and javelinas, but I’ve seen only their tracks and scat. The coyotes must be eating well because I encounter their scat everywhere, particularly on the roads.
Probably a pronghorn track
According to a flyer I picked up at an information kiosk, there’s also a possibility of seeing jaguars. That’s surprising. I always thought of them as jungle animals, but the flyer says:
Throughout the past 100 years, jaguars have been consistently documented in the borderlands of Arizona and New Mexico. To develop a sound plan for protecting and conserving jaguars in the United States, the Jaguar Conservation Team needs more information about jaguars in the borderlands—information you can help supply.
Jaguars are shy and elusive and generally travel at night. They are at home in a variety of habitats, from high spruce-fir forests of the mountainous “sky islands” to the lowland thorn scrub deserts. Their habitat preferences in the United States are not well documented and may be determined as much by the availability of food and water as by habitat type.
1. If you see a jaguar or signs of jaguar activity:
2. Note the exact location. Be as specific as possible.
3. Note coloration, size, posture and behavior of the animal.
4. Look for tracks, scat, hair and other signs. Make a tracing of a track, if you can do so without destroying it. Collect hair and scat samples for analysis by wildlife officials.
Report the sighting immediately to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, 602-789-3573 or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, 505-522-9796.