The climate crisis is blamed for a staggering attack by predators on predators that took place in the Guatemalan rainforest and was captured on camera.
The footage shows a male jaguar attacking and killing an ocelot, which researchers say is rare and likely due to the unusually fierce and growing competition for water.
It’s so rare that researchers have seen signs of ocelot in jaguar feces. However, this is the first direct evidence that a jaguar kills an ocelot – and the fact that it was captured on film makes it all the more fascinating to experts.
The strike took place in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve in March 2019 when northern Guatemala suffered a severe drought Mail According to reports, the researchers were taken aback to find that the jaguar let other prey by unscathed before pouncing on the ocelot as soon as it stopped to drink some water.
Daniel Thornton, a professor at Washington State University’s School of Environment, said that Mail This “over-competition” for water as a result of climate change could lead to one jaguar attacking another cat.
“People don’t often think tropical systems are dry, but in many parts of the world tropical rains are quite seasonal,” said Thornton, co-author of a report on the attack published in the magazine Biotropica.
He said that due to climate change, “some tropical ecosystems are expected to become even more seasonal”.
“The more isolated and rarer the water resources become, the more they become hotspots of activity,” he added.
While jaguars tend to travel alone, chasing and ambushing smaller prey such as wild boars, deer, tapirs and caimans, ocelots eat rodents, birds, reptiles and insects.
“These dramatic images of camera traps clearly show the fierce competition between wildlife and valuable resources like water,” said co-author Rony García-Anleu of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Guatemala Program.
The killing was registered as part of a larger human impact monitoring project in northern Guatemala.
Researchers had cameras at more than 40 watering holes in the area, but in the 2019 dry season when the attack was captured, only half of the holes were water and none were within six miles of where the attack occurred .
As such, the room has become a popular and controversial place for jaguars to track prey. While the big cats characteristically avoid places where their peers are frequent, the footage captured by the researchers showed seven different jaguars in place – and even a fight between two of them.
“In these beautiful green forests, we may not be aware that water flow is a serious problem,” said lead author Lucy Perera-Romero, a Washington State University graduate student.
“It could be another cause of death – aside from deforestation, hunting and everything else we do,” she added.
The Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Peten region in northern Guatemala, which makes up one fifth of the country’s total land mass, has been administered by the Guatemalan National Council for Protected Areas since 1990.
However, the animals that live there continue to be threatened by human activities, including poaching and illegal livestock farming, logging, and farming in restricted areas. And now climate change too.
Mr García-Anleu, the co-author, said the future of the region is bleak. “Unfortunately,” he said, “climate change and associated droughts are expected to worsen, which means difficult times are ahead for wildlife that depends on waterholes for survival.”