As featured on TIME's Ecocentric Blog
By Bryan Walsh
The near-threatened jaguar is the only big cat found in the Americas, and they’re usually quite shy. They have good reason—jaguars are hunted for their skins, and their jungle habitat is being cleared for agriculture. And now the cats face a new threat—growing plantations of oil palm, a commercial species that’s being raised chiefly for biofuels. Planting oil palm—which is becoming increasingly common in South America and Asia— involves clearing native jungle, and while the resulting plantations might resemble forests, the habitat is utterly changed. That can mean real trouble for the jaguars and other species that depend on the forest.
This image of a mother and cubs is one of the first photos of jaguars in a Colombian oil palm plantation taken by Panthera's camera traps. Placed in the Magdalena River valley, these camera traps were set to gather new data about the impact of Colombia’s ever-increasing oil palm plantations on jaguars. Panthera’s scientists are working to understand the implications of these habitat changes on jaguars and their ability to travel and reproduce, as well as the impacts palm plantations have on their prey species.
See more photos of these Jaguars in the Colombian oil palm plantaiton.
Press Release: First Photos Ever Of Jaguars In Colombian Oil Palm Plantation Taken With Panthera's Camera Traps
New York, NY - Panthera's camera traps recently produced the first photographic evidence of wild jaguars with cubs in an oil palm plantation in Colombia, including photos of two male jaguars and a female jaguar with cubs (left and below), and a video of a jaguar male.
Placed in the Magdalena River valley, these camera traps were set to gather new data about the impact of Colombia's ever-increasing oil palm plantations on jaguars. Panthera's scientists are working to understand the implications of these habitat changes on jaguars and their ability to travel and reproduce, as well as the impacts palm plantations have on their prey species.
Panthera’s Raffle: Support Jaguar Conservation and Win a Stay for Two at an Eco-Friendly Resort in Yucatan, Mexico
Through a generous donation from our partners at Bare Essentials Magazine and The Maya Foundation in Laakeech, we are pleased to offer Panthera’s supporters an opportunity to win a vacation for two at The Hacienda Chichen Resort & Eco-Spa in Yucatan, Mexico while supporting Panthera’s jaguar conservation initiatives!
This exclusive prize, valued at $1,200, includes:
Costa Rica, ‘the Rich Coast,’ is often rightly associated as a highly desired vacation hub, distinguished by its beautiful beaches, ecotourism operations and tropical jungles that are home to thousands of animal and plant species, including multiple healthy populations of the Americas’ largest cat – the jaguar.
Last week, a New York Times Green blog post discussed 'A Jail Term for Jaguar Smugglers' who were arrested for selling four jaguar skins to undercover U.S. Fish & Wildlife agents in Texas and Florida, and recently sentenced to one year and one day in prison. At the time of their arrest, the smugglers had also offered 10 more jaguar skins to the undercover agents.
Situated in the heart of Central America, Nicaragua is one of the 18 countries that is home to Americas’ largest cat – the elusive jaguar. Nicaragua serves as a crucial link in the Jaguar Corridor, connecting jaguar populations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras to all jaguar populations to the south of the country.
As part of ‘Big Cat Week,’ National Geographic WILD has debuted two new films featuring Panthera's jaguar projects in Belize and Brazil, and the Teton Cougar Project, run in partnership with Craighead Beringia South. Hunt for the Shadow Cat, which features Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative and Pantanal Jaguar Project, will be aired this evening at 10pm et/pt.
Panthera’s Executive Director of Jaguar Programs and Teton Cougar Project Director, Dr. Howard Quigley, was recently interviewed on the Wild About Pets radio show. Watch a pictorial video of this interview to learn about the Americas’ two biggest cats – jaguars and cougars. Find out what makes jaguars and cougars so remarkable and learn about the critical roles they play in balancing ecosystems for other animal species, and humans.