Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meet "Kitty Carlisle"

Ben, my partner in crime, or should I say, camera trapping, has come up with a name for UF2. (There she is above, a bit blurred due to motion, but still clearly recognizable, about 3km from the Lodge on 28 May 04). For those of you wondering, UF2 translates to "Unnamed Female 2." I amassed quite a database of jaguar photos several years ago when I was conducting a track study and two jaguar density studies in the Gallon Jug Estate. It is fantastic to recognize some of these same animals still stalking the trails.

While we in science are often chastised for "anthropomorphizing" study animals with names, that never bothered me overmuch. After all, the animal is never going to know and feel insulted or flattered, as the case may be. A name is a nice shorthand method for referring to individuals rather than the ponderous "UF2," which is a sort of name anyway (besides, it always reminded me of unidentified flying objects). Not only that, if naming helps people connect to wildlife and come to care about its conservation, then hey, I'm all for it.

So once I'd gotten more than a couple photos of an individual jaguar -- which implied it was using our area and likely to turn up again -- I invited people who had been helpful to our various conservation projects to Name-the-Cat, as a show of appreciation. Since this isn't a Formal Study we're doing, just sharing and enjoying some of the magnificent wildlife found in the Gallon Jug Estate/Chan Chich Lodge area, I say: let the naming begin.

And, with more photos of UF2 still to be posted, it is clear that she is a regular presence near the Lodge and is thus in need of a better name. Ben suggested it was HIS turn to Name-the-Cat. After some days of thoughtful deliberation, he announced: "I would like to name the jaguar ‘Kitty Carlisle’ or Carlisle for short. It is in memory of the late Uncle Scotty who loved his cats and would be honoured to be named after a jungle pussy cat!"

So there you go. Kitty Carlisle she is.

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