One of the many benefits of Felis is that we meet a lot of interesting people who all have the same goal: Small cat conservation. Mauro Lucherini is one of these motivated cat enthusiasts. Mauro, based in Argentina has a long history of carnivore study and is presently working on the Patagonian Cats project. Patagonia is home to the Puma (Puma concolor), Pampas cat (Leopardus colocola), and Geoffrey's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi), the latter two of which are little studied and might be rarer than previously thought. The project's goal is to "fill this gap and improve our understanding of the natural history and conservation threats of the Pampas and Geoffroy's cat populations in the Patagonian steppe, but we also plan to begin actions to reduce threats as soon as they are identified by working locally with various social actors.". But how does Felis fit in? Mauro remarked that, because Patagonia is such a large territory, he could definitely use some extra camera traps. That, as you may have guessed, is music to our ears. Providing camera traps to aid in research and conservation. We were very much interested. As a result, following several conversations with Mauro, we are pleased to announce a collaboration with him and the Patagonian cats.
Lorenz and Valentin met with Mauro in Milan on March 25th to hand him the first four of several camera traps for him to take back to Argentina. More will follow, however we are looking for people that want to help transport some from Switzerland to Argentina. This significantly cuts transportation expenses and frees up funds for cat conservation.
The camera traps will help map the presence of both cat species in order to better understand what determines their distribution in Patagonia. We are eagerly awaiting the first results of this new partnership and the photographs taken using camera traps. We have no doubt that there will be some excellent photographs and that the camera traps are in good hands.
Check out Mauro's work on his website and on Instagram.