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Watch Ecologist Ronnie Steinitz at Work

How I found myself underneath a 200- pound jaguar in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest.

What does an Ecologist do?

Ronnie Steinitz is an ecologist currently in the first year of her doctoral research for her PhD. She studies primate-community interactions in several monkey species in Kibale National Park, Uganda. She also collaborates with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to study bobcat prey preferences with changing climate.

I had just finished my military service in the Israel Defense Forces, when I took off to explore the world far away from home. With nothing more than a backpack and a dream, I traveled South America by foot, finally settling at a wildlife refuge nestled in the Bolivian Amazon. I spent several months as the caretaker of a 3-year-old female jaguar named Katie. Katie chose to test my confidence the first time I walked into her compound. Her stunning, perfectly tailored camouflage, a product of half-a-million years of evolution, made her blend perfectly with the lush vegetation around me; I had no idea how closely she was stalking me until I felt the full impact of 200 pounds of pure muscle against my body.

Ronnie Steinitz
One of the handful of times that Katie, a 200lb jaguar, was not attempting to tackle me to the ground. I spent several months caring for her at a wildlife refuge in the Bolivian Amazon.
Ronnie Steinitz
Digging up iguana dens to weigh, measure, and log iguana eggs for the upcoming hatching season.
Ronnie Steinitz
Constantly yearning to learn more about the world around us.
Ronnie Steinitz
Field work in the Dominican Republic, studying foraging patterns of endangered species of iguanas as part of local and international conservation efforts.
Ronnie Steinitz
Analyzing bobcat blood samples for Stable Isotope Analysis- figuring out what these guys are hunting and where!
Ronnie Steinitz
Nature has so many secrets it is waiting to share with us. You need to be patient and listen to what it has to say.

Article originally published in Smore issue#5 May – June 2018. Subscribe to Smore.

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