SAN MIGUELITO – JAGUAR CONSERVATION RESERVE

Located just 180 km or a 3 hour drive from Santa Cruz Bolivia is the San Miguelito Cattle Station.  This property is situated in the centre of the agriculture belt of Bolivia and is the only property in the region that still has large portions of natural forests remaining.  Because the surrounding properties have been totally cleared for soya this has forced all the animals to move into this special and unknown series of cattle ranches where wildlife thrives.
This Property was used in conjunction with the recent WCS Kaa Iya National park camera trap survey for jaguars and the results were astounding. The properties here have an estimated 11 jaguars per 100km making it one of the highest Jaguar density’s in the entire Latin America. Adding to the impressive results was the fact that these cattle properties are the only ones in the region that has 6 species of cats (Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, Geoffrey’s cat, Jaguarundi and Margay).  Tapir, Anteaters, Giant Armadillos, Caimans, Monkeys, Peccaries, Deer, and much more are also found in abundance here.

ABOUT THE CONSERVATION PROJECT
Although this Cattle station has a general no hunting policy, there are problem jaguars which eat cattle and sadly if seen they are usually killed. Through our tours we wish to bring sustainable and controlled eco-tourism here which will help alleviate the damage caused from Jaguar / cattle depredation and our vision as well as the property owner is to have tourism to a level where no Jaguars will have to be killed in the future.
Tours to this property will not only support the only farmer in the region who has left natural forests intact, it also helps cover the costs of the cattle depredation which will benefit the Jaguar and Puma as well.

3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS

TOUR INTINERARY EXAMPLE

DAY 1

07:30 am departure and we commence our 3 hours’ drive to the Cattle Station. Here you can see just how much land has been cleared for soya and we also pass through the colonies of Menonitas who are largely responsible for most of the land clearing in the region. We arrive at the property unpack all of our belongings and have lunch. Around 3 pm we set off for a hike to an area of the property where we regularly capture images of Jaguars on our camera traps. Here we check for tracks and wildlife and collect our old camera trap that we set up on previous trips, if we find good Jaguar tracks we stop and make plaster moulds which make excellent souvenirs.  We return to the lodge after dark where we have a freshly prepared dinner. We also check the images from the camera traps.
We have the option of a night spotlighting drive/walk or fishing in the nearby river for Piranhas. This river is also an excellent place to see Spectacled Caiman and Capybara which are common and also make a large percentage of the Jaguars diet.

DAY 2

Early morning trek in the hope of seeing wildlife, these hours are perfect for seeing monkeys and toucans and with luck we can have glance of some of the larger mammals. We will be visiting a different area of the property where Jaguars have been seen so again with luck we may see signs of the big cats. We return for freshly prepared breakfast and have a couple of hours to fish for piranha or learn about life on a cattle station.
Lunch and then we drive to an area of the property which is close to the only river in the region, it’s also an area where we have recorded the most big cat images so we will stay the night and set up a series of animal hides (Tents surrounded by Army Camo Nets) and if we are lucky a Jaguar, Puma or Tapir will walk past.

DAY 3

We spend the early morning in the hides watching for wildlife before we have breakfast by the campsite then we pack up our equipment and slowly hike back to the lodge, along the way we pass through many different types of landscapes so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Once back at the lodge we start packing our equipment and preparing for departure.  At 12:30 pm we have a freshly prepared lunch and we say goodbye to the Ranch and return to the city of Santa Cruz.