Recent trail camera images of Pumas (Puma concolor) in Patagonia reflect the success of conservation work carried out by Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN), an Argentine conservation partner of World Land Trust (WLT).
In partnership with FPN, researchers have been monitoring Pumas on the Patagonian plains of southern Argentina, where WLT supports conservation at Estancia la Esperanza (Ranch of Hopes). To record images of individual Pumas, researchers have installed trail cameras near water sources and crossing paths.
Numbers of Guanaco (Lama guanaco) have increased on the reserve, with latest surveys showing 755 individuals. These healthy numbers of Guanaco are enticing more Pumas into the reserve and reinforcing the natural balance of predator and prey.
As part of the project, the photographs are analysed, and footprints, faeces and remains of hunting activities are registered. Samples are taken to the laboratory of Dr Romina Llanos to be analysed and used for her research project on conflicts between wild life and productive activity in Patagonia.
WLT has been working with FPN, to protect Patagonia’s coastal steppe for 15 years. At the start of the partnership, in 2003 WLT funded the purchase of 15,000 acres (6,000 hectares) to create La Esperanza Wildlife Refuge.
Today WLT continues to support conservation by funding a wildlife ranger Adrián Rodríguez, at La Esperanza, under the Keepers of the Wild programme. Among his other duties, it is Adrián’s job to install and check trail cameras on the reserve, and to record other signs of wildlife.
WLT supports FPN by funding ranger salaries and infrastructure through the Keepers of the Wild programme.
In July 2015 WLT launched Keepers of the Wild 2020, an appeal to raise £750,000 to guarantee that rangers such as Adrián can continue to protect nature reserves created with funds from WLT.