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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

South American Cryptids (Isnachi and Cats)

Illustration by Peter Visccher, depicting Peruvian cryptids. The primate is the 'Isnachi'. From Greenwell (1994)

'Peruvian tiger' (at left) and 'Anomalous jaguar' skulls in anterior view (and pretty much to scale). Photos by Peter Hocking.

Darren Naish has published this information but he evidently included a typo which confused the issue. The several putative South American Cryptid Big Cats (Yana Puma or "Felis Negra" of the old Natural Histories), Speckled Jaguar (Anomalous Jaguar) and Stripled Tiger (El Tigre) all seem to be actually only freakish variations on the common jaguar. Part of the problem is that people tend to view distinctive patterns of colouration as if they were distinctive species. Abundant documentation makes it clear that "Isnachi" is only another local name for the spectacled bear.

The Isnachi, Bear or Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is found in a wide range of distribution along the Andes holding various types of ecosystems. However, it is in danger of extinction due to poaching and habitat destruction. These activities are presented by the direct and indirect relationship that develops with man which is influenced by the cultural context in different geographical areas. Therefore, to understand the situation of Isnachi, and the implications for conservation, it is essential to examine each particular cultural and geographical space. The main objective of this research is to ascertain the influence of man on the distribution Isnachi Chazuta district, San Martin which is part of the Cordillera Azul National Park and its buffer zone. For this it was necessary to know their potential in the study area as well as the direct and indirect relationship between man and the species distribution. Is, knowing the relationship man - Isnachi well as the current context relating to land use and economic activities. To achieve this methodology on three components that allowed collecting the current context of the study area to ecological and socioeconomic status was developed. Two visits to the field were made in 2010 in order to recognize the area of ​​study, semi-structured interviews with villagers and record the presence of terrestrial wildlife and conservation threats. These incursions allowed to know the current context of the area and collect data to model the potential of the species under the MAXENT software niche. This basic information was obtained on its potential distribution as well as socio-economic context of the place. All under a geographic perspective, emphasizing the spatial context. This information eventually allowed to know and analyze the influence of man on the distribution of Isnachi. Among the conclusions are, first, that there is still Isnachis presence in the study area, however the sightings are sporadic. Importantly, the areas predicted as potential habitat for the species are the headwaters of the three streams that supply water and biological resource villagers. Human activities such as migration and hunting have reduced their habitat being specific cases and the hamlet of Siambal Canayo. Hunting is possible and opportunistic as it provides large amounts of fat and meat for family subsistence in food and medicine, however, is not essential to your daily life. The perception people have about the species is non-negative, ie, do not consider an animal that threatens their crops or animals or attack man in general. It's described as a "quiet" forest item, mostly it consumes "100% vegetable" by which it is shown that not everywhere direct relationship man - Isnachi must be conflicting. There is still the need for further research to deepen the environmental aspects of its potential as a registration field as well as their feeding methods used to estimate the current population distribution. Similarly one could emphasize more on the threats presented to propose solutions or alternatives that are more harmonious with conservation proposals currently being developed in the área.Finalmente concluded that this geographic focus (called Animal geography) and the methodology allowed one hand to recognize the skills of the geographer under their holistic capacity. So lets develop research topics both ecology and sociology and anthropology emphasizing the spatial context thereby contributing to the conservation of endangered wildlife.`

The Yana Puma or Felis Negra from old Natural History books:

Darren Naish is in error when he maintains a typo from his source material is correct when it states that the Yana Puma is another name for the spectacled bear. Obviously a part of the original statement is missing and the statement intended to read that the Isnachi is the same as the spectacled bear.

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