A camera trap in the depths of a tropical jungle in Guatemala captures extremely rare footage of a jaguar that kills another wild cat, a predator named ocelot. This rare glimpse of the cat-on-cat conflict could be a reflection of how climate change and competitive resources are having a dramatic impact on the Central American ecosystem. The footage was captured in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve in March 2019. It shows a male jaguar silently waiting for more than an hour near a water hole. A hat moves around, but the jaguar doesn’t bite. Instead, it patiently waits for an oscillating slip and takes a sip from the water. The jaguar jumped up and snatched the six and threw it into his jaws.
This is believed to be one of the first images of a jaguar directly killing an ocelot, although the behavior was previously suspected based on signs of the ocelot found by the jaguar pope. As published in the journal Biotropica, wildlife environmentalists at Washington State University and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) described the footage in detail and argued that it could be an example of climate-change-induced conflict.
Both wildcats are active during the twilight hours of the day, but they usually avoid each other. Although jaguars are larger than ocelots, they are usually trapped in easy prey, such as armadillos or peccaries. However, the researchers argued that while climate change is known to have had an impact, the two have become closer to each other due to declining water supplies in the region.
Rony García-Anleu, the study co-author from the WCS’s Guatemala Program, said in a statement, “These dramatic camera trap images clearly show the face of fierce competition wildlife for a valuable asset like water.” “Unfortunately, climate change and the associated droughts are predicted to worsen, meaning wildlife is facing difficult times ahead as they rely on water holes to survive.” It’s not just an unexpected event documented in their camera trap event they also collected footage of two Jaguars who were present to fight a young Tapir; it’s an unusual tendency for adult Jaguars to avoid each other. Again, these two seem to be in conflict with each other as there seems to be stiff competition for resources.
Lucy Perera-Romero, lead study author and a WSU doctoral student adds, “We have evidence that a lot of things related to climate change are happening, but we can’t be aware of every detail, every outcome.” “In this beautiful, green forest, for example, we may not know that water flow is a serious problem. It can be another source of death – except.”