Fires had a devastating effect in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Colombia’s Caribbean region, between 2012 and 2013. In 2013 alone, the region lost an estimated that 22,000 hectares (54,400 acres) of forest, mainly due to fires, according to CORPAMAG, the environmental authority for the department of Magdalena. At almost the same time, CORPAMAG began to notice an increase in reports of livestock such as cattle, donkeys, mules and lambs being killed. According to small farmers in the area, jaguars were responsible for these attacks, and people began hunting down the big cats to safeguard their livelihoods. This conflict pitted the near-threatened jaguar (Panthera onca) against impoverished farmers whose entire livelihoods depended on no more than two head of cattle each. In addition to this, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a unique ecosystem, full of endemic species and also the northernmost territory of jaguars in South America. The challenge that arose was how to guarantee the conservation of the great carnivore, and the economic stability of hundreds of people. Jaguars caught on camera trap. Image courtesy of ProCAT. North of South In 2017, José Fernando González-Maya, director of Colombia’s Water and Land Conservation Project (ProCAT), together with several researchers from the Institute of Ecology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, published a large study in the journal Oryx that painted a mixed picture for the prospects of the jaguar throughout South America. Accounting for all of the variables, the researchers concluded that of the 34…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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