Wed, 01 Jul 2009 16:36:47 GMT — The sprawling, thickly wooded mountains of northern Mexico are home to abundant wildlife, but researchers were surprised by what they discovered when they began setting up remote cameras in the rugged sierra of Tamaulipas earlier this year. Jaguar, puma, ocelot, jaguarundi and bobcat have all been documented at Rancho Caracol, an 11,000-acre ranch just 150 miles south of Brownsville. Just getting to many of the camera locations is a challenge, and after the four wheel drive runs out of trail, the hiking begins. Chad Stasey is a feline researcher with Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M Kingsville, and once a month he spends a couple of days checking 25 trail cams. The cats like it a little bit rougher than I do, Stasey said. Arturo Caso, also with Caesar Kleberg, has been studying cats in Mexico for a decade and is helping to coordinate the research. First of all, I want to thank Caracol Ranch, because they have been really supportive of this program, Caso said. When we first set up our cameras, I want to be honest we did not expect to have so much success. It was really a pleasant surprise to find all these cats here at this ranch, and we are really working to try and conserve these cats for the future. Dean Putegnat from Brownsville is the owner of Rancho Caracol, which is a world class destination for white wing and quail hunters, and he is very supportive of the cat research. The jaguar to people is a special animal, and they see that and they share it. It works out well for us, he said. The jaguar, jaguarundi and ocelot are protected by law in Mexico and researches are hoping to apply knowledge they acquire at Rancho Caracol to helping save the endangered ocelot in South Texas.
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