On International Jaguar Day, learn about its importance as a connectivity symbol is more important than ever



Posted on 06 December 2023

Every November 29th we celebrate the biggest cat in America, a crucial species to keep the Amazon rainforest healthy: the jaguar. In addition to having one of the most powerful jaws, the king of the jungle has other abilities that make it special:  runs, jumps, climbs, swims and even dives. The large areas of land that the big cat needs to walk turn its habitat into a space of connection that generates sustainable livelihoods for the species and communities that coexist with it.
 

However, the king is in danger. In the last 100 years, the world population of jaguars has decreased by 50% and almost 90% of its population is found in the Amazon rainforest, according to tri-border monitoring of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia carried out by WWF in 2019. This percentage is increasingly reduced due to the multiple threats that affect the species.

 

According to the AREAS Amazonia project, in the protected areas of the Madre de Dios region, it is estimated that there are around 6,000 jaguars that are affected by illegal mining, deforestation, hunting and the fragmentation of their habitat, causing the decline. of their peers and their prey. The home that the king guards every day disappears little by little.

To corroborate that these ecosystems are recovering, monitoring is important and an excellent way to do this is through camera traps. “We currently have 68 double camera trap stations installed and 12 canopy bridges in the forestry-livestock sector of the province of Tahuamanu. Its distribution and location are key to understanding seed dispersal and the behavior of the big cat, as well as that of its prey, and knowing the impact of forestry activity on tree species,” says Vania Tejeda-Gómez, Wildlife Officer at WWF Peru.

 

Tejeda-Gómez pointed out that these actions are vital to propose an action plan that improves the connectivity of the forest and the conservation of the jaguar, a species whose protection benefits the entire ecosystem.

Another key component to its conservation is ensuring proper coexistence with humans. In that way, WWF Peru promotes innovative measures and strategies that help demonstrate that the jaguar is not a symbol of danger or harm to people and their economic activities, as long as its habitat is respected and conserved.

“We have carried out diagnostic studies on the risks, management and perceptions of approximately 144 ranchers and farmers from local communities regarding the conflict with the jaguar on their properties and farms. With the findings it was possible to identify the topics that must be strengthened and raise awareness. In addition, 12 properties were selected to implement anti-predatory measures,” says Fabiola La Rosa, Wildlife Officer of WWF Peru.

Jaguar conservation symbolizes preserving the rainforest, which is why its monitoring, raising awareness among the population and launching economic activities free of threats to it and wildlife is so important. Thus, we contribute to having a healthy Amazon that will continue to provide benefits to subsequent generations.