El Tigre

Mountain lions are common in these forests. Their tracks are often seen in the mud at streamside. Jaguars are here too, wandering in from La Amistad National Park. My neighbor Mr. Romulo Vega lost two young calves the past 10 days, this following another neighbor having lost three further down the valley. Locals refer to the Mountain lion as leon and the jaguar as the tigre. Mr. Vega has homesteaded his small farm with cattle since he started clearing his land in 1960. In 53 years he has lost 48 calves to Jaguars and mountain lions.
The chances of seeing these cats are slim. Knowing you are sharing the trails and forest with them is enough to feel their presence. We might not see them but they most likely do see us.
When powerful top predators are sharing the same forest with you this adds a distinct feel to a place where you tread with more humility.
Knowing the tigre and leon are here and not seeing them makes them in many ways more present. The result is that a deeper sense of wilderness is felt with every howler monkey heard and every quetzal, bellbird and guan seen.

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