Mirror 10 Setup, Rio Las Piedras

22nd June 2018

Untamed Photography’s mirror image stimulation study focusing on the competitor recognition with Neotropical cats of the lowland Peruvian amazon was certainly a challenge!

This long term project consists of placing many mirrors in the lowland Peruvian Amazonian Rainforest in areas such as Terra-firma and Flood plain it mainly focuses on big cat behavioural interactions towards the mirror. This project especially interests me as I find the interaction between an animal and itself fascinating as the only other interactions it has is between prey, members of the same species and predators but never itself.

I, Jase, and coordinator Mark all had our own role to play, Mark was in charge of carrying the most important object which was the mirror whilst Anna carried wipes and silicon. However it was a very physical challenge for me and chase as we were tasked with carrying a square piece of wood through the jungle which was difficult to manoeuvre but over an hour walk it became especially difficult.

We soon identified a secluded area by the river also linked by a huge wooden log which acts as a bridge which jungle cats such as jaguars love. The area was also completely off trail meaning human activity is minimised significantly again increasing the likelihood of a Jaguar and Puma. The hardest step was crossing the river and getting the mirror frame, a large piece of wood and the glass across the river, as well as getting use to the freezing cold water of the river Amazon.

When we got to site of the mirror the setting up would begin. We started by trying to find two equal length and width branches, then use the Machete to sharpen them like spears. Once we had the two spears we then used the Machete to dig a small trench that was equal length of the wooden canvas allowing it to slip right in, the spears were then nailed to the canvas acting as support beams to keep the mirror in place. Finally we used a silicon gun around the edges of the four mirror panes along with three pieces of double sided sticky tape to ensure the mirror wouldn’t fall if a jaguar suddenly decided to become aggressive.


Story written by Mark Fernley