World Wildlife Fund (WWF) researchers found that a population of Jaguars living on an uninhabited island, off the coast of the Brazilian Amazon, have learned how to catch prey by jumping into in the sea to survive. According to reports, the Jaguars live in Maracá-Jipioca Ecological Station island reserve and researchers have set up cameras and have installed microchip collars on few of the jaguars to monitor their behaviour.
One of the employees at the Brazil branch of WWF, Marcelo Oliveira, said that one of the jaguars on the island jumped into the sea in order to catch fish, giving first-time evidence that the animals have been jumping in the water to catch their prey and sustain themselves. Oliveira is of the opinion that Jaguar population living in the reserve have fish as a big part of their diet. Oliveira said that Jaguars have two distinct fishing techniques and i.e. to wait for the tide to come in and catch their prey from the ponds that form in the mangroves. The second technique that they adopt is to directly jump into the sea.
According to reports, there is a population of 27 jaguars on the 600 sq km island with five or six cats per 1-- sq km. It is also said that their thriving population hunts lizards, monkeys, deer and buffalo in order to sustain themselves. However, mainland adjacent to the island reserve has proven to be dangerous for the big cats as buffalo farmers feel threatened by their presence in close proximity. In an incident, a leopard along with her cub was killed in a village after they had attacked dogs living there.
According to reports, the collars on the Jaguars living in the reserve are fitted with satellite technology and that helps WWF researchers to keep a tab on their movements. The cameras that have been set up by the researchers have also captured more than 30,000 pictures, giving an insight as to how these cats function and sustain themselves. These tasks undertaken by researchers will give them an insight into how a Jaguar's behaviour governs it to function in its own territory.
Researchers have also managed to collect samples of blood of Jaguars with collars in order to determine if the cats have been going over to the mainland to breed and if the scenario stands to be false then the population on Maracá-Jipioca will have a limited gene pool, causing a long-term health problem. The Island is 600 sq km big and is under the protection of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with no human beings living on it. The island houses tropical forests, dense coastal mangroves, mudflats and flooded grasslands.
(With inputs from agencies)