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Jaguar in cage (c) Iwokrama

Jaguar relocated in the Iwokrama Forest

Last Thursday, August 31st, villagers from Fair View, the only community within the boundaries of the Iwokrama Forest, contacted Iwokrama’s Management regarding a jaguar they had trapped. It was reported that the jaguar was a frequent visitor to the village and was hunting dogs in particular. The Village was understandably fearful as the attacks were becoming increasingly frequent.

Iwokrama immediately contacted the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission for assistance. A number of other partners were also engaged for advice including Panthera, Protected Areas Commission and Matt Hallett (University of Florida) who is currently conducting PhD research on Jaguars in Guyana.

The following morning, Friday September 1st, an expert staff team of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission arrived at Fair View and with the assistance of Fair View residents and qualified Iwokrama Rangers, were able to secure the animal in a special cage for transfer. They later successfully relocated the animal to another area within the Iwokrama Forest- away from the village of Fair View.

In an effort to monitor the movement and well-being of the trans-located jaguar, Iwokrama rangers will be working with a team from the Rupununi Wildlife Research Unit (led by biologist Meshach Pierre) and students from the University of Guyana, to set motion-sensored cameras in the immediate vicinity of the release site, as well as the area surrounding Fair View Village. This effort is part of on-going research between Iwokrama and the University of Florida to collaboratively monitor the impact of sustainable timber harvesting activities on large mammals within the preserve, with funding provided by the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. Research to date indicates that the Iwokrama Forest supports healthy populations of jaguars and their prey; both within areas designated for wilderness preservation and sustainable utilization.

Although Fair View Village exists within the Iwokrama Forest, human-jaguar conflict happens only intermittently; it is generally mitigated by support from Iwokrama, the actions of village leadership and the tolerance of local wildlife by village residents.

Panthera is a global organization that is devoted to the conservation of wild cats and has a Memorandum of Understanding with Iwokrama. Panthera has been conducting research in Guyana since 2011 working along with local scientists and experts. Most of the work has been done so far in the Rupununi as the savannahs serve as a hotspot for biodiversity and is potentially a crucial area for connecting Guyana’s jaguar populations with those of the Amazon.

Iwokrama would like to express appreciation to all that were involved including the Fair View Community and would like to advise that villages or persons that have issues with jaguars, do not engage directly with the animal for safety reasons but make contact with the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission at phone contact 223-0331 or via Email: wildlifescientificcommittee@gmail.com

Environmental and other organizations such as Iwokrama, Conservation International-Guyana, World Wildlife Fund -Guyana, National Toshaos Council can also assist with linking communities to the relevant government regulatory bodies.

It must be emphasized that the Jaguar (Pantera onca) and all of the other five species of cats in Guyana are protected by law.

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