As a nature lover, I like to keep myself informed on the environment and animals to hopefully some day be able to help save the world. So, I was doing some research and came across information that made me aware of the endangered status of our beautiful native jaguars in Mexico.
Jaguars have a lot of historic and spiritual value amongst the mexican culture. They were considered warrior gods in ancient cultures.
The jaguar is a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species native to the american continent.
These big cats are the third-largest feline species after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Americas. Their current habitat extends from Southwestern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina.
The jaguar is a near-threatened species and its population is quickly decreasing. Threats include loss and fragmentation of habitat, illegal overhunting, and human intolerance. During the decade of the 1960’s more than 1500 jaguars were killed every year mainly for their fur. These numbers have decreased in the subsequent years since hunting became illegal . By early 2000’s there were approximately 500 jaguars living in the Mexican territory. Population is estimated to grow every year thanks to conservancy and educational programs and natural reserves.
Jaguars depend on freshwater ecosystems and deep rainforests with large extensions of territory to survive. They have already been eliminated from most of the United States. Border infrastructure, mines, roads, towns and residential complexes amongst others, cause habitat fragmentation and blocking of migration routes.
Humans are constantly extending further into the jaguar’s territories, razing the rainforest and causing loss of natural prey, so the jaguars will occasionally feed on livestock. This generates conflict with ranchers and farmers, specially in South America and results in a very low tolerance and more killings.
Jaguars have exceptionally beautiful coats. Their base coats are mainly golden yellow, but can vary to an orangy or reddish brown and black. They have rose-like marks on their fur called rosette spots. These spots work great for camouflage in the dappled light of its forest habitats. Beautiful coats make jaguars a perfect target for hunters who illegally traffic with their coats and prize on their heads as trophies.
Jaguars and black panthers are already classified as endangered species in Mexico. There are several organizations dedicated to rescue big felines from cruel situations and providing them with the best quality of life as possible. Many of these organizations provide community education. They have meetings with local farmers and ranchers to educate and invite them to participate in conservation programs. Many of the ranch owners show genuine interest in participating in the different projects ranging from hosting ecotours to being directly involved in research or management of non-profit organizations.
There is a jaguar reserve in the state of Sonora, Mexico called The Northern Jaguar Project, which is one of the last truly wild refuges for jaguars. It has a naturally varied topography. Huge mountain valleys and upland peaks that descend into deep canyons. Steep cliffs and volcanic rock formations rising from the ground. Situated between two rivers, the reserve is a very rich source of freshwater.
The majority of the reserve is situated along the back of the Sierra Zetasora, a group of small hills and mountains with elevations up to 4,000 feet. The vegetation is varied and abundant: well-preserved oak forests mixed with fan palms. Palm trees that might be expected along the canyon bottoms sit on the tops of small hills; and the large gradients and hills are covered with dense sub-tropical vegetation.
The reserve is home to four feline species: jaguars, mountain lions, bobcats, and ocelots. It is also the only known place on the planet where jaguars and badgers overlap.
It is also home to more than 200 local and migratory bird species, more than 50 reptile and amphibian species, and plenty of mammal species.
Mexico is hoping to capitalize on the growing local appreciation for jaguars by developing environmental education activities that encourage people to consider why the preservation of species is so important. With this, we hopefully will continue to see rancher attitudes, commitments, and perceptions grow in support of wildlife.
My name is Guera Bertoldi. I live in Bucerias, Mexico with my 2 dogs and 3 rescue cats. I am a nature and animal lover and one of my main concerns is the loss of natural habitat and overkilling of endangered species. I like to travel to eco-friendly destinations and participate in conservation and cleaning programs in my community. I like to keep myself informed and I love sharing my information and opinion with the whole world. I think that the more educated people we have, the best results for our beloved planet.