Good news for the jaguar population in Mexico

Efforts to help grow the jaguar population in Mexico have produced results. File photo.
Efforts to help grow the jaguar population in Mexico have produced results. File photo.

Encouraging statistics are coming from the second National Jaguar Census, which will be completed and released later this year.

The data will be ready at the end of May or the beginning of June, said Gerardo Ceballos González, of the UNAM Ecology Institute.

If deadlines are met, the census will be presented at the International Symposium on Ecology and Conservation of the Jaguar in Cancun from June 10 to 17.

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Ceballos González, who is also president of the National Alliance for the Conservation of the Jaguar, emphasizes that efforts have been successful because they involve both scientists and local residents.

Civil organizations have also joined in. The World Wildlife Fund, foundations formed by Telmex-Telcel and the federal government’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas have combined resources to reverse the jaguars’ population decline.

Ceballos explains that through the alliance they designed a multi-prong strategy, which includes the census.

The alliance also works with farmers to avoid conflicts with jaguars, which prey on livestock. They work with people on using livestock insurance, which covers such losses, and on ways to protect cattle and other working animals to begin with.

An estimated 4,000 jaguars roam from the U.S. border to Chiapas, 20 percent fewer than the 1900 population. Another 1,800 live in jungles between the Gulf of Tamaulipas to the Yucatán Peninsula.

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Mexico is the only country with a jaguar census. The first studies were in 2009 and 2011.

A broader collaboration is also possible. An agreement between Mexico, Guatemala and Belize is under negotiation to pool yet more resources.

The three countries have a combined 2 million hectares/5 million acres in nature reserves, home to about 1,500 such felines.

“I hope that the agreement can be finalized this year,” said Ceballos González.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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