by Graham Reynolds, Earthwatch Team Member
Hi! My name is Graham (Robert) Reynolds. I am a seventeen-year-old
high school junior at Carolina Day School and I live
in Asheville, North Carolina. I'm down here in Jalisco,
Mexico, working with Carlos and Alberto and a team of
about ten other volunteers. We are staying at the Chamela
biological field station, located in the Chamela-Cuixmala
The Mexican dry tropical forest, which is mostly what
makes up the reserve, is an endangered ecosystem and
it is very fragile. Through this project we are hoping
to better understand the life-styles and habits of several
different kinds of carnivores in the dry forests so
that in the future we can better help protect them.
The animal in this picture is a coatimundi (co-wa-ti-mun-di),
or 'coati' for short. They are a relative of the raccoon
and have a long snout. We have already caught several
posssums, but this is the first target animal, or carnivore,
that we are trying to catch that has shown up in the
traps. It is the first coati we have found since we
have been here, and we were all very excited to find
Many of you may wonder what we do with the animal
once we catch it. First of all, we inject it with an
anesthesia, which basically puts it to sleep for about
20 minutes. Then, we take it out of the cage and measure
it. This coati was 121 cm long and weighed 5.2 kilograms.
By looking at its weight and its teeth, which were long
and sharp, we determined this coati to be about three
to four years old. It is a young male and had lots of
scars on its neck, belly, and hind legs, probably from
fighting with other coatis.
After taking the measurements, we tattooed its ear
with the number 64, which we will use to identify it
if we ever catch it again. Once the shot wore off, which
was just after this picture was taken, the coati was
not very happy to be surrounded by people. He started
to growl and get anxious, so we knew it was time to
let him go.
We were very happy to have caught this coati and we
hope that in the next few days we will catch a lot more.
If we are lucky, we are also hoping to catch the elusive
ocelot, a beautiful cat that is covered with spots.
If we catch one, I will be sure to let you know!