Big cats hit by photographers' cheap trick

By Peter Aldhous IT IS a picture that could save a thousand cats. This photo of a jaguar strolling through the Pantanal wetlands in south-west Brazil helped reveal how population sampling can overestimate numbers of big cats by up to 75 per cent – and could delay steps to save them until it’s too late. Many big cats such as jaguars and tigers are loners and therefore hard to study in the wild. While automated cameras can snap the activities of individual animals, ecologists can only calculate their population density by estimating how far the animals range. To do this,
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