October 1, 2014
The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is hands-down the King of the Amazon. Being the biggest cat in the Americas and the third biggest one in the world is an animal that most people recognize. Coated with a beautiful spotted fur –which has given these cats a lot of problems- make this cat a true jewel of the natural world.
What most people don’t know is the actual distribution range of this cat. They roam in the harsh desserts of the southern Arizona, the Central American forest, the Amazonian basin, the foothills of the Andes, the Atlantic rainforest in brazil, all the way down to northern Argentina.
Problem is that their population is decreasing at a very steep rate in the US (haven’t been seen in years in Arizona, it is believed that they actually might have been extirpated from there.), Mexico, and South-America.
However there are good news, a recent paper shows that the population of Jaguar in South-eastern Peru –specifically Manu and Alto Purus national Parks- is much higher than previously thought. There might be up to 6,000 thousand individuals roaming these areas, a population density rivalled only by the Brazilian Pantanal, where major conservation projects are protecting these cats.
Now with this information, is up to us –the non-scientific population- to share this information and battle to protect this Sanctuary for the cats. The major threats to the forest are illegal logging and illegal gold mining. Both of these problems can be solved via ecoturism. It is important to remember that the people doing this, do it because they have no other option. It is easy to promote ecoturism sitting on a coffee shop sharing news from your ipad. But for the people living there, who averagely make around $100 a month in the traditional way, the idea of cutting a few trees for 10 times that money is a life-changing opportunity. It is up to us to give those people are better job conserving the forest. That is why ecoturism can and will make a difference.