Meet The Man Trying To Save The Jaguar

jaguar conservation

Ricardo Moreno is a cat loving conservationist who has focused his efforts on protecting South America’s biggest cat, the jaguar. The jaguar used to roam across a territory that spanned nearly nine million square kilometres. Its range extended from the Southern mountains of Argentina all the way up to the Grand Canyon in the United States. Unfortunately, after decades of hunting and habitat destruction, the jaguar’s range has dramatically shrunk and in the process its population has fallen by a whopping 40 per cent.

Threatened by extinction

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the jaguar is listed as being near threatened to extinction and in countries such as Uruguay and Ecuador, the species has all but disappeared. As deforestation takes place, jaguars can no longer rely on their traditional sources of prey and are forced to hunt livestock instead. This results in ranchers and landowners killing them in retaliation further reducing the population.

Grassroots conservation campaign

Mr Moreno has taken it upon himself to try and do something about this and has developed a grassroots strategy designed to put an end to the killings. He wants to make jaguars popular with locals. Over the last five years he has give more than 1,300 talks to local farmers in a variety of South American countries aiming to convince them of the jaguar’s importance as an apex predator that balances local ecosystems. Mr Moreno says he is not always successful but on some occasions, he does get through. He says the response he gets is that farmers say they really don’t like killing the big cats and because he has taken the time to speak to them they say will not kill the cat.

Paying for protection

Mr Moreno has also established a compensation program that doles out cash to locals for helping researchers keep track of jaguars. For example, if a remote camera is able to obtain an image of a jaguar on a landowner’s property, the non-profit set up by Mr Moreno will pay the resident. The information obtained is invaluable, allowing the organisation to keep track of the jaguar’s movements and in the process, enables researchers to alert farmers that a jaguar may be approaching. In such cases Mr Moreno’s organisation will help the farmer build a small enclosure for their livestock that is close to their house.

Building confidence

Mr Moreno and his team are also teaching locals how to create plaster casts when they come across a jaguar’s tracks. He says these casts can then be sold by the locals to tourists as souvenirs generating additional income. The main goal however is to generate confidence with the locals because if you don’t do this, the situation of the jaguar will never change. This is true not just for jaguars but for all big cats all over the world.

 

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Leave a Reply