Jaguar conservation in Brazil’s Pantanal

 Jaguar in Colombia

Today The New York Times featured an article by J. MADELEINE NASH on conflicts between jaguar conservation efforts and cattle ranchers in the Pantanal.  A couple of interesting points:

  •  Panthera, a big cat conservation group, has recently acquired two ranches which it plans to operate for the purpose of testing techniques for reducing livestock-jaguar interactions.  The results may help other ranchers in the region to “adopt range management practices that encourage co-existence over conflict.”
  • The Pantanal may contain 15 percent of the world’s remaining population of jaguars
  • On some ranches jaguars provide landowners with an additional source of income in the form of ecotourism: “several ranches in the Pantanal, San Francisco among them, run ecotourism operations that have turned a liability into a valuable asset.”
  • Keeping water buffalo with cattle herds reducing depredation by jaguars.  Buffalo “appear to surround cattle in a broad, protective umbra.”
  • While it is illegal to kill jaguar in Brazil, laws are poorly enforced and perverse incentives encourage the practice.
  • Ranchers exaggerate their cattle losses to jaguar while understating larger causes of mortality (i.e. disease). Jaguar found scavenging livestock corpses are often blamed for killing animals that died from another cause.

Author: Rhett Butler

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