Last month, CBS ‘60 Minutes’ aired an exciting update on Noca - the first female jaguar collared as part of Panthera’s Pantanal Jaguar Project, which was featured on the 2010 ‘60 Minutes’ program, In Search of the Jaguar.
Re-airing original footage of Noca’s collaring from 2010, the update highlighted recent footage of Noca with a new mate – a resident male jaguar whom locals have nicknamed ‘Teo’ – and the exciting discovery that Noca had given birth to a cub since her collaring.
Panthera’s scientists have gathered years of data on Noca and other jaguars in the area using GPS collars, camera trapping, and other field techniques. All together, these data tell us about their movements, habitat use, prey requirements, survivorship, and mortality – and help us shape conservation actions to better protect jaguars across their range.
Camera trap photos and videos can also help us capture life history events – such as footage of Noca mating with Teo along the banks of the Piquiri River, which was taken last year in September just 200 yards from where Noca was first collared in 2010. Two weeks later, our camera traps snapped photos of Noca travelling with her nearly grown cub. And two months after that, additional images revealed Noca travelling by herself, indicating that the cub had likely dispersed in search of its own territory, leaving Noca to prepare for her next litter.
Noca’s story is a great one because we have documented her successful rearing of one cub, which is now part of the Pantanal’s next generation of jaguars, and, hopefully we’ll see a second litter of cubs for Noca in the next few months. Panthera’s CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz said it best during the 2010 '60 Minutes' program, “It’s through the data of a few animals like this that we’ll be able to save the whole species.”
Panthera’s Pantanal Jaguar Project began just five years ago, and today, we are seeing a real recovery of jaguars across Panthera’s sites in the Pantanal. On the two ranches where Panthera is working, camera trapping efforts have identified 27 jaguars in 2012, compared to 17 individuals in 2011, and while we are still determining density estimates, we know there are at least 10 resident jaguars, and three females with cubs.
A photo of a teacher and students from the Pantanal Sao Bento school.
Year after year, jaguars are being seen far more frequently, which is contributing to a boom in ecotourism. Where fishing once made up 80% of the local revenue, and nature-based tourism (including birding and jaguar spotting) made up 20%, we are now seeing the reverse. Today, 80% of revenue in the Pantanal is driven by nature tourism, specifically people visiting the area to see jaguars in the wild, and 20% is generated from fishing. Local people are now able to experience the economic benefits of living with jaguars in this incredible landscape.
Jaguars are far more prevalent due in large part to the creation of safe environments for these cats – where Panthera and our partners are preventing the hunting of jaguars and their prey, and mitigating human-jaguar conflict. These efforts include working with ranchers in improving livestock husbandry techniques to reduce the number of cattle killed by jaguars, and prevent the hunting of jaguars by frustrated ranchers. Our team is also conducting extensive ecological research on jaguar behavior, ecology, and interactions with livestock in the region. And last year, Panthera opened a school on these ranches for both children and cowboys, demonstrating that conservation ranches can be good for employees, too.
Today, the Pantanal Jaguar Project serves as a model for the recovery of jaguar populations across their range, demonstrating that the Americas’ largest wild cat and local people can live alongside one another in a mutually beneficial environment.
Make a contribution and help us continue to protect jaguars, like Noca, in the Pantanal.
Learn more about Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative - the most transformative carnivore conservation strategy, which seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations from Mexico to Argentina, within the human landscape.
CBS '60 Minutes’ Update on Noca
Original ’60 Minutes’ Program – In Search of the Jaguar
Noca plays with her new mate on the Piquiri River - Brazilian Pantanal, 2012