www.jaguar.org.br | Issue 34 | November 2009
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Workshop for jaguar conservation creates a national action plan and predicts 60 years for the species to disappear in northeastern Brazil
By Rogério Cunha de Paula rogerio.paula@icmbio.gov.br CENAP/ICMBio

The National Center for Research and Conservation of Mammalian Carnivores (CENAP, in Portuguese), part of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), in collaboration with the Brazilian organization Pró-Carnívoros Institute and the US organization Panthera, organized a workshop about jaguar conservation in Brazil. The meeting was held from November 10th to 13th in the city of Atibaia, São Paulo State, Brazil and also received support from the IUCN, through the Cat Specialist Group (Cat SG) and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG – Brazil).

Participants of the Jaguar Conservation Workshop in Atibaia, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, in November 2009. (Rogério Cunha de Paula)  

During the event, objectives and actions were defined to compose the National Action Plan for the jaguar together with a map of the priority areas for its conservation, a document being created by the ICMBio to be ready in mid-2010. More than 200 actions were proposed, out of which 10 were stated as priority for each biome of the national territory. This resulted in a total of 50 priority actions for jaguar conservation in Brazil.

Discussions followed six thematic lines that emphasized Public Policies, Poaching, Conflicts, Education and Communication, Research, and Habitat Loss and Fragmentation. In addition, population and habitat availability models were developed.

According to Rogério Cunha de Paula – CENAP’s acting chief – these analyses could direct emergency efforts to areas where the jaguar has the greatest risk of extinction in the short and mid-term. For the biologist, northeastern Brazil, which today probably harbors less than 250 individuals, is at risk of losing its jaguars within 60 years, due to persecution of the species in retaliation to cattle predation and to conversion of natural habitats. “One solution for this problem is to work towards the creation of new protected areas and corridors connecting the existing ones, which could permit the contact between the otherwise isolated populations,”, explains Rogério.

Threatened Status

Also, the threatened status for the species was defined for each biome, following the criteria of the IUCN. While jaguars occur more abundantly in the Pantanal and in the Amazon – resulting in a conservation status of “Near Threatened”, the situation in the other Brazilian biomes is critical. The jaguar’s status was classified as “Vulnerable” in the Cerrado, “Threatened” in the Atlantic Forest and “Critically Threatened” in the Caatinga.

The jaguar is the biggest feline of the Americas. In the last decades it has suffered a drastic reduction of its populations and consequently disappeared in several areas where it once occurred. The species is listed as Threatened at the state, national and global level. In Brazil it is listed as Vulnerable and in most of the national territory it is in extreme decline.


Importance of the Potosin Huasteca for the conservation of the Jaguar in Mexico
By Ávila-Nájera Dulce. M. terapan@hotmail.com e Octavio C. Rosas-Rosas Colégio de Pós-graduados

Distribution of the jaguar in Mexico. Map by Ceballos & Oliva (2005)  

Ejido San Nicolás de los Montes, State of San Luis Potosí, México. By: Dulce Ma. Ávila-Nájera  

Male jaguar registered during 2007 in Holm Oak forest. By: Dulce Ma. Ávila-Nájera  

In Mexico, studies about the distribution and conservation status of the jaguar are scarce; however, it is assumed that the species is distributed along both coasts and in the Tehantepec Istmus, state of Oaxaca, continuously through to the Yucatán Peninsula. The species’ abundance is not homogeneous and the southern states of the Mexican republic are thought to host the largest populations. In the State of San Luis Potosí we only had anecdotic records of the species (Dalquest in 1953) and only based on results obtained from studies carried out during 2006 a jaguar conservation project was initiated in the State. For example, the work conducted by Villordo et al. (in press) documented the presence of Panthera onca in 11 ejidos (portion of public not cultured land) and seven communities of vegetation, with Holm Oak forest yielding the largest number of jaguar records. From the 11 ejidos, due to the association of the predominant vegetation with rich biodiversity and habitat conservation, San Nicolás de los Montes (20 085 hectares) was elected for a camera-trapping study in the dry seasons of 2007-2008, in order to determine the abundance and density of the jaguar in the region. As a result an abundance of five individuals was estimated and a density of 1.55 ± 1.93 jaguars/ 100 km² was calculated. This value was obtained using the mean maximum distance moved (MMDM) with the help of the program Arc View 3.2.

The relevance of the results is that they represent the first estimate of abundance and density of the jaguar in San Luis Potosí and determine that its presence and conservation status are threatened by habitat fragmentation (from 1976 to 2000 San Luis Potosí has lost 428 809 hectares of natural vegetation through human activities, mainly due to a change in land use patterns; Villordo et al., in press) and poaching of the jaguar and their natural prey.

The perspectives for the conservation of the species are encouraging, despite the current scenario, because several programs for jaguar conservation have been initiated, targeting awareness, environmental education and an adequate management of cattle. The Huasteca region in San Luis Potosí is crucially important for the conservation of the jaguar and other neotropical species, because it is part of the Sierra Madre Oriental biological corridor in eastern Mexico, representing not only the transition zone of the zoogeographic neartic and neotropical regions, but also the jaguar’s northern range limit in the east of Mexico.

Literature Cited

Ceballos G. & G. Oliva (Coordinators). 2005. Los Mamíferos silvestres de México. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Mexico. 986 p.

Dalquest, W. W. 1953. Mammals of the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Louisiana State University, Biological Sciences Series. 1:1-229.

Villordo-Galván, J. A., O. C. Rosas-Rosas, F. Clemente, L. Tarango, J. F. Martinez, G. Mendoza, M. D. Hermosillo & L. C. Bender. 2009. Present status of the jaguar (Panthera onca) in San Luis Potosí, México. The Southwestern Naturalist (In press).


On September 22nd 2008, our guide, my wife and I were coming from the Santa Teresa ranch and driving along the Transpantaneira road (near Poconé city, Mato Grosso State, Brazil). Suddenly, our guide spotted a sleeping jaguar along our way. We observed it for a long time from the car until it woke up and stood up. That’s when we saw that the jaguar had killed a caiman. We got out of the car and I took this picture. Between us and the jaguar lay a small swampy area.

By Karl Zachmann karl-zachmann@gmx.net


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"Our mission is to promote the conservation of the jaguar, its natural prey and habitat throughout the species geographical range, as well as its peaceful coexistence with man through research, management and conservation strategies."

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