Guyana partners with int’l body to protect its jaguars
Guyana is working with an international partner to protect one of its most prized animals…the jaguar.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, it is signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Panthera Corporation (Panthera), aimed at conserving Guyana’s national animal, the Jaguar.
Guyana is the latest country to partner with Panthera on a regional effort to conserve the species, and facilitate genetic flow between important Jaguar habitats.
“The MOU provides a framework for research and surveys on the Jaguar, public education on the behaviours of these large cats, and the examination of economic opportunities associated with Jaguar conservation,” the Ministry said yesterday.
Under the MOU, Panthera will be providing technical and scientific expertise on conservation priorities, Jaguar movement models and other resources aimed at facilitating long term benefits to local stakeholders, and the country as a whole.
“The MOU will also provide a solid foundation for new initiatives to understand and mitigate conflicts between humans and jaguars. These initiatives may include grants for local researchers and research institutions and the development of a conflict response mechanism to deal with problem animals.”
Panthera, which is the world’s leading wildcat conservation group, is currently spearheading the International Jaguar Corridor Initiative – an ambitious plan to conserve jaguars and work with both protected and non-protected areas to ensure that people and wildlife can co-exist. With the signing of the MOU, Guyana will now be in a better position to benefit from this regional project.
The Ministry said it has identified the newly created Protected Areas Commission (PAC) as the focal agency for this important initiative. The PAC will shortly be moving the MOU forward with the development of sub-agreements and project documents for on-the-ground implementation. Much of the initial work under the MOU will focus on research, education, and identifying opportunities for Jaguar conservation and related tourism initiatives.
The jaguar, which Guyanese locals call the big cat ‘tiger’, which outside of its girth (after the lion and tiger, the jaguar (Panthera onca) is the third-largest feline in the world, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere), and can be identified by its tawny yellow coat and beautiful markings of black spots, or rosettes, forming broken circles around a small central spot.
The only Panthera species found in the Americas, jaguars can also be differentiated from other big cats in the region by their large head, short, stocky legs, and sturdy body.
Jaguars are built more for stealth and sudden capture than long-distance running.
They are considered uncommon throughout their entire range. They are listed as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix I (threatened with extinction), and on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, the jaguar is Near Threatened.
In Guyana, the solitary creatures are often spotted along trails or gaps along the forest edge where roads or rivers run. Sightings are most common in the Iwokrama Forest, especially along the main roadway.