Monday, September 13, 2010

We have a match!

You may think that I am reaching ... but I believe we have a database match of jaguar images! The top two black-and-white images are part of a blurry series taken near Chan Chich Lodge on 09 July 2010 just before midnight. The quality is so-so but there are some areas on the animal where the pattern is distinct. So it was without a great deal of hope that I went through the jaguar photo database comparing images to the new photos.

I was stunned to get a match with the color photo above! So how did I do it? In the far left image, the extended right rear leg matches nicely with the color photo, as does the inside left rear leg. In the top right image, both the forelegs match nicely with the forelegs in the color image. In the top images, the body pattern is quite blurred but you can still make out a general spot pattern, which to my eye, looks like a fairly good, though rough, match to the lower photo. It is the distinct leg patterns that made the match possible.

And now for the fun part ... what do we know about this jaguar? Well, it is an adult male, evident by the robust build (in the lower photo, you can just see the scrotum). The color photo was taken during my jaguar density study on 04 April 2005 at 3:49 PM. So this animal is probably more than 5 years old given that it appears to be an adult in the color photo. Even though the top half of the animal was not photographed, the photo has proven its data value since it has allowed a match. The color photo was taken about 12 km east of Chan Chich Lodge, along the southern property boundary by the lower escarpment.

The color photo was the ONLY photo I had of this individual and thanks to the recent images, it is nice to know that this male jaguar is apparently healthy and still roaming the Gallon Jug Estate.


  1. Yup, that's a match alright. It's great that you have cataloged these pictures and can go 5 years back to look for matches.

    I assume you match based on manually comparing although I do know that there is photo comparison software out there that may be accurate enough for your work.

    With your recent PC problems, I hope you take lots of backups :)

  2. I seem to have a problem posting replies here. This is my second attempt; let's see if I have better luck!

    Anyway, I'm so glad you agree we have a match; two sets of eyes are better than one. And yes, I do match manually -- I know the software is out there, but for this application, I think the human eye is better. (And yes, we are back up fanatics, something you learn once -- the hard way!).

    Actually, my jaguar database goes back to 1993 with the first camera trap photos I ever took at Chan Chich Lodge. With an estimated 11 year lifespan in the wild, of course those early jaguars are long gone. But I like knowing their offspring are still roaming near the Lodge.