In May of 2013 (almost 3-years ago) I was asked to photographically document, for Puuc Jaguar Conservation, a scientific expedition into the jungles of Kaxil Kiuic in Yucatan, Mexico. The weeklong expedition involved the placement of 50 remote cameras in the jungle to help identify and track the movements of transient Jaguars in the Puuc region of the Yucatan.
To say that it was an experience of a lifetime would be a gross understatement of the facts. I worked with an amazing team of dedicated people, under harsh and demanding conditions, to do something good for these large cats. The Jaguar is the apex predator throughout Latin America, and as goes the Jaguar so to goes the environment.
Eventually we would not only capture images of the Jaguar, but also of the Puma, Ocelot and Margay. The Jaguar is the world’s third largest cat after the Tiger and African Lion, and they even surpass the Leopard in size. They are big, powerful and incredibly beautiful. In the past they’ve been threatened with loss of habitat and poaching, but seem to be making a comeback with continued preservation efforts.
It’s through the efforts of organizations like Puuc Jaguar Conservation, with their dedicated scientific staffs and volunteers, that these noble creatures may yet survive the Grim Reaper of extinction. I left Yucatan in 2014, to pursue my travels farther south, but I am still in love with the Jaguar. I was able to renew my acquaintance with Markus Tellkamp, PhD, Director of Puuc Jaguar Conservation, again in Ecuador before heading into the Amazon.
I have included a link to the Puuc Jaguar Conservation Newsletter describing the expedition; all of the photos and most of the narrative are mine. If you are interested in ecology, conservation and especially the preservation of the big cats, including the Jaguar, you should give it a moment of your time. I still stay in touch with most of the expedition participants, although the college interns are all graduated and pursuing their own lives and careers these days.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler