New Jaguar Conservation Agreement Provides Protection for the Big Cat.
Early in December, at the beginning of the holiday rush, an important jaguar conservation agreement was signed between the government of Nicaragua and Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization. This agreement awarded new protection for the jaguar, the Americas’ largest wild cat. Through the agreement, both parties committed to embark on conservation initiatives to identify jaguar distribution and travel corridors in Nicaragua, allowing for the protection and connection of the big cats and their habitats throughout the Mesoamerican isthmus.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Panthera’s CEO and world-renowned jaguar expert, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. Panthera and MARENA also pledged to implement initiatives focused on the mitigation of human-jaguar conflict and support of agricultural and other land developments that are not only ecologically sustainable but economically profitable for the developing nation.
Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Rabinowitz said “The establishment of this agreement with the government of Nicaragua is a huge step for the long-term survival of the jaguar. Nicaragua represents a critical home for the jaguar, and a stepping-stone in the Mesoamerican Jaguar Corridor. Panthera will work together with the Nicaraguan government to strengthen efforts that conserve the nation’s wild habitats and provide opportunities for the safe passage of jaguars and other wildlife through the Nicaraguan landscape. With this signing, Nicaragua becomes the seventh jaguar range country to commit to the conservation of this iconic species, helping to forge a future for the jaguar, its habitats, and the other species that inhabit the forests with this magnificent cat.”
The Vice-Minister Ing. Roberto Araquistáin Cisneros added, “I applaud the hard and efficient field and scientific work that Panthera has done in the country over the past six years. Many of its studies and mapping are being used by this ministry. The Government of Nicaragua through MARENA is committed to safeguard and protect this wild cat and other wildlife, and I therefore urge young Nicaraguans and the various institutions of the country to be involved in this task of jaguar conservation.”
The Jaguar Corridor Initiative
Located in the heart of Central America, Nicaragua plays a vital role as the conduit connecting jaguar populations to the north in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, to all jaguar populations south of the country. The Atlantic region of the country, inhabited by many indigenous communities, is the only existing passageway for jaguars to move south through Nicaragua to Costa Rica, and beyond.
In recent years, Nicaragua has effectively protected extensive swaths of its forests that are home to the jaguar and other wildlife. As the country continues to develop, additional considerations will have to be made to allow for jaguar passage through agricultural landscapes and infrastructure development. Panthera has been successful in mitigating these activities in other countries to allow for human development and for jaguar passage and conservation.
Launched in 2008 through the Jaguar Corridor Initiative (JCI), Panthera’s jaguar conservation efforts in Nicaragua have focused on ground-truthing or verifying jaguar presence in the country. Results from these surveys allow a better understanding of the status of jaguar populations and connectivity in Nicaragua, as well as on the overall connectivity of jaguars in Central America.
Today, Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative is the largest and most effective carnivore conservation program in existence. The JCI now spans nearly six million square kilometers and seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations within human landscapes from Mexico to Argentina to ensure the species’ genetic diversity and survival.
Source: Panthera Press Release