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Meet Rüka: Osa’s Warrior

Juan Carlos Cruz, Osa Conservation’s Feline Program Coordinator, provides some insight and history behind the incredible Jaguar sightings our camera traps have recently provided:

“The Jaguar is the biggest wild cat species in the Americas and the third biggest in the world after the Lion and the Tiger. It is so big, individuals weighing up to 300 pounds have been found in the Amazon. But being so big means that Jaguars rely on big species of prey, such as peccaries, deer, sea turtles and even tapirs. In the Osa, the Jaguar’s home range spans 12 to 50 square kilometers, so big areas are needed to fulfill its ecological needs.

Photo credit: Tico Haroutiounian

Near Piro Biological Station, we are lucky to have this very healthy and strong Jaguar since last year that we have named Rüka, meaning “Warrior” in the language of the Ngäbe, who inhabited the Osa Peninsula hundreds years ago and still do today.

Rüka is a warrior indeed, since he is fighting a decrease in prey animals, making his survival harder and harder, and requiring him to travel longer distances to find prey while avoiding hunters and gold miners through the woods and domestic animals in the nearby farms.

At Osa Conservation, we make a concerted effort to provide a good environment for Rüka and assure that he counts on high quality habitat where he can find enough prey and shelter to establish himself in the forest near Piro, where we might observe him for many years to come.”