Another wild cat was an unusual meal choice for a jaguar, so scientists are looking for the reason.

A camera trap at a watering hole in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve captured some extremely rare footage of an unusual jaguar meal: an ocelot. The footage showed the male jaguar letting a tapir pass by and waiting it out to instead nab the cat. Washington State University described the event as a possible “sign of climate-change-induced conflict” in a statement on Tuesday.

Ecologists from WSU and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) studied the footage and published a paper on the predator interaction in the journal Biotropica in late December.

Daniel Thornton.

The timing of the watering hole incident was important. It happened in March 2019 during a serious drought. “Although these predator-on-predator interactions may be rare, there may be certain instances when they become more prevalent, and one of those could be over contested water resources,” said study co-author WSU assistant professor Daniel Thornton.

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