"We got cats!"

A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on

This pic of a jaguar's butt, taken by a motion-triggered camera over a decade ago, told a group of wildlife conservationists exactly where they could find jaguars.

That was the beginning of the Northern Jaguar Project, a group that now runs a 50,000-acre reserve dedicated to helping protect the big cats.

Since then, they've collected a lot of great photos of the whole animal.


A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on

This gorgeous jaguar is a male named Osman.

Cameras continue to be really important. The group pays ranchers near the reserve in northern Mexico for photos of live jaguars — the same amount they used to be paid for a dead jaguar.

Since a jaguar's idea of a good meal is baby calf, ranchers aren't used to seeing them in a friendly way. In the past, both the U.S. and Mexican governments supported systematic extermination of jaguars by paying people for their skins.

But now, since the same jaguar can be photographed many times, a live jaguar becomes worth a heck of a lot more than a dead one. And over time, ranchers working with the NJP are learning to live with the cats and have come around to seeing the cats as part of a healthy working landscape.

The motion-triggered cameras have also captured all kinds of animal shenanigans. (Be prepared for jaguars getting it on.)

A video posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on

If you are into growing the jaguar population, this is really exciting stuff. (Do you think they know about the camera?)

Like, since when do skunks chase foxes?

A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on


And what exactly is that mountain lion going to do with that gourd?

A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on

Let's see, we have a badger carrying a toad, a mountain lion carrying a gourd, and a jaguar carrying a rabbit. OK, well at least that last one makes sense.

Hey, handsome!

A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on
A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on


Clearly, these cameras are great at giving us a more intimate and personable sense of some of the wild animals in northern Mexico.

On a more serious note, the conservationists' work is incredibly important for us here in the U.S.: We pretty much no longer have jaguars.

We recently killed off one of the very last of our wild jaguars (thanks to the very people charged with protecting them). In the past, jaguars were present in one continuous population from California, Arizona, and New Mexico all the way south to Venezuela. Although the Feds recently set aside land in Arizona for jaguars, barriers like the giant steel wall we've recently built along the U.S.-Mexico border present a serious threat.

The border wall between Arizona and Sonora has been really hard on wildlife in the area that are accustomed to moving freely in search of food and water. Image by Northern Jaguar Project, used with permission.

Thanks to the Northern Jaguar Project, at least some people are keeping an eye on the big picture.

The folks at NJP say that when the border wall comes down (just like the Berlin wall did), then they will have saved a healthy group of jaguars that can eventually move in and repopulate U.S. wilderness.

A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on

Jaguar guardian Javier Valenzuela checks a motion-triggered camera with his ranch hand and friend, Avery.

Until that border wall comes down though, they're working with local people to create a beautiful, biodiverse home for some of the most gorgeous (and occasionally goofy) creatures on earth.

A photo posted by Northern Jaguar Project (@northernjaguarproject) on

The Northern Jaguar Reserve, a 50,000-acre sanctuary for the world's northernmost jaguar population in Sonora, Mexico.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less
Jada Sayles/Twitter

Jada Sayles got both a newborn baby and her college degree.

You know what they say about the best laid plans? Well, it's true. And no one knows that better than Jada Sayles. On May 15, Sayles was all set to graduate from Dillard University, a historically Black university in New Orleans. Around 4:30 a.m., she realized that her plans were about to change in a big way. Instead of getting ready for her graduation, she was in labor and being admitted to the hospital.

"I thought I was gonna walk across the stage to get my degree, instead I got my baby," Sayles tweeted, along with a series of photos. "My sweet face decided to make his way on MY big day (now his). Shoutout to my university for still bringing my graduation and degree to me."

Keep Reading Show less

Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

Keep Reading Show less