The Margay had killed and eaten more than a dozen chickens and many guinea pigs from local farms. Instead of shooting it, the local people asked the Ministry of the Environment to trap and remove the animal.
Fausto Recalde, Keeper of the Wild in Cerro Candelaria Reserve, filmed the release on behalf of Fundación Ecominga, one of WLT’s four conservation partners in Ecuador. EcoMinga staff were involved in site selection (by invitation of the Ministry of Environment), and were the guides to the release site.
The Margay was released near the reserve, rather than in it, to minimise the amount of time the animal was in captivity.
Cerro Candelaria, an important reserve in Central Ecuador, is located in the Llanganates Sangay Corridor, a large tract of virgin forest between two national parks (Sangay and Los Llanganates).
The reserve contains a wealth of endemic orchids and vulnerable species like the Margay and Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus). In 2014 WLT donated funds to help Fundación Ecominga extend the reserve.
Margays (Leopardus wiedii) are small cats native to Central and South America and listed as Near Threatened by IUCN. They spend much of their time climbing through the treetops, but they occasionally hunt on the ground. Their numbers are declining because their natural habitat is shrinking and because they are hunted by humans when they prey on poultry.
Keepers of the Wild
WLT funds Fundación Ecominga to employ four rangers through the Keepers of the Wild programme: brothers Fausto Recalde, Luis Recalde and Jesus Recalde and their nephew Santiago Recalde.
The keepers patrol the Rio Anzu, Rio Zuñac, Rio Verde and Cerro Candelaria reserves, using their intimate knowledge of the area to ensure the habitat and wildlife are monitored and kept safe from external threats.