Por: Mateo Hernández
The territory associated to Rio Claro´s watershed holds a great diversity of animal species, many of them endemic to the Middle-Magdalena Region (Magdalena Medio). The former implies that these species are exclusively found in this zone, and no other place on the globe. Our estimates suggest that, within the premises of the Natural Reserve, it is possible to spot over 100 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, 70 species of reptiles, 45 species of amphibians, and 50 species of fish, beyond abundant species of insects and invertebrates.
The reserve and its adjacent areas are home to an important variety of vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered species, many of which have seen their habitat completely destroyed by deforestation and expansive human development. Among these varieties we find mammals: the Mico Tití (Saguinus Leucopus ); birds: the Paujil (Crax Alberti), the Torito (Capito hypoleucus ), the Flycatcher (Phylloscartes lanyoni ), and Fish Species: the Bocachico (Prochilodus magdalenae ) and the Pataló (Ichthyoelephas longirostris ). Along the course of the 20th Century, and due to extensive poaching, many large mammals went extinct in the region, among them the jaguar (Panthera Onca ), and the Danta (Tapirus terrestris colombianus ).
MAMMAL OBSERVATION AND TRACKING
Without a doubt, mammals draw our attention profoundly. Often times, when visitors ask “what animals can we find here?” they are thinking about mammals. However, observing mammals can be quite a difficult task: the majority of these beings are nocturnal and often flee from humans -resulting from decades of poaching.
Within the reserve, frequent animal sightings include diurnal species such as squirrels, monkeys, fish, and occasionally river otters. During the nighttime, a larger variety of species can be spotted throughout the reserve. However, this requires more preparation, and a certain amount of luck, as many nocturnal outings are required to spot a specific animal.
Fortunately, there are other means of intuiting the presence of many of these nocturnal animals. Many animals leave evidence of nocturnal activity (food remnants, tracks, excreta and scratches) which can be found and interpreted with the help of a specialized guide and some experience.
Ideal for tracking these mammals are sites along the water streams, on sand or mud soils. Animals gather around water sources to drink and often leave their tracks impressed along the riverbanks. With a little knowledge, one can infer different traits about each track (age, sex, activity performed, etc.).
The hoofprints most frequently encountered in Rio Claro belong to the following mammals:
- Fara (Didelphis marsupialis)
- Tigrillo (Leopardus pardalis)
- Guagua (Agouti paca)
- Ñeque (Dasyprocta punctata)
- Rata espinosa (Proechimys sp.)