You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take great pictures of wildlife in the forests surrounding our eco-lodge! The beautiful photo of a jaguar that accompanies this blogpost was taken by one of our Tambopata Ecolodge guests on the banks of the Tambopata River, as his small group tour passed by in one of our boats!
While visitors to the rainforest may not always see this beautiful animal, our conservation-based ecotourism initiative has contributed to an increased jaguar population in the forests of Tambopata, and in recent years jaguar sightings have been more frequent than ever before! Both within the Tambopata National Reserve and in our own Tambopata Ecolodge Private Conservation Area, as well as in the surrounding forests, thanks to effective conservation measures the health of the typical Amazon basin ecosystems we help to protect remains good.
In Tambopata, conservation efforts supported by ecotourism initiatives like our own have led to increases in populations of the jaguar’s preferred prey. This means that the largest big cat in the Americas is thriving in the forests of the National Reserve and our own Tambopata Ecolodge Private Conservation Area!
In recent years, jaguar sightings have increased, and many travelers have been fortunate enough to spot this magnificent animal from our boats during the excursions we offer into the pristine wilderness area we help to manage. On occasion, guests have even been fortunate enough to spot jaguars from our own eco-lodge private jetty, crossing the river as they patrol part of their vast territory!
Standing at the very top of the Amazon forest food chain, jaguars are a reliable indicator of the overall health of an area of forest. Jaguars require dense vegetation, choosing undisturbed habitat far from roads, and even minimal alterations will often cause them to abandon an area. And because jaguars are solitary animals, living and hunting alone until a male and female come together to mate, a single jaguar needs a huge area of pristine forest in which to roam. Studies have shown that a single male jaguar may establish and occupy a territory of between 53 and 233 square kilometers (20 to 90 square miles), with that territory overlapping those of more than one female.
This means that for a healthy jaguar population to exist, a vast area of forest must be kept free of human activity and protected from habitat loss. Together with the adjacent Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in Peru and the Madidi National Park across the border in Bolivia, Tambopata National Reserve forms the largest area of protected tropical forest in South America, making it the ideal refuge for this biggest of New World big cats, and for the many animals it relies upon for its food.