Jaguars

Jaguars need large spaces to hunt an intact prey base. The home range of this top predator, across parts of North, Central, and South America, is determined by the density and biomass of its prey. Thus, its status can serve as a signal of the conservation status of the larger landscape. Ideally, jaguars have room to safely roam, but human encroachment has meant that forests are being cleared, their natural prey is being depleted, and the land is being fenced off.

Our Goal

Ensure that healthy jaguar populations exist across the diversity of habitats in the jaguar's range.

Why WCS?

WCS has been a leader on jaguars for three decades, starting with studies propelled by Dr. George Schaller in the 1980s. When we united with jaguar authorities in Mexico to conduct the first priority-setting exercise for the animal in 1999 we brought together experts from throughout the species' range, establishing a framework for its conservation. That foundation and thirst for a collaborative approach across the region persists today. We deploy biologists across multiple biomes to hold ground against the encroaching threats that are eroding jaguar range.

8 landscapes

WCS works to protect jaguars in eight large wild landscapes across eight Latin American countries.

5,000 jaguars

WCS is committed to protecting more than 5,000 jaguars and 400,000 square km of jaguar habitat.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Challenges and Strategies

The threats to jaguars vary across the huge swath of jaguar range where we work. Consequently, the exact mix of tools we bring to bear in each site to hold ground and maintain a safe home for jaguars are tightly tailored to fit the local and national needs.

Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala

The threats to jaguars here include deforestation due in part to conversion to cattle pastures and retaliatory killing because of conflicts with ranchers and small landholders.

Our strategies include:


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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Greater Yasuni Landscape, Ecuador

Roads created for oil and gas extraction allow inadequately regulated access for hunters, and as a result, jaguar prey can be overhunted to feed urban markets.

Our strategies include:


Greater Bosawas Landscape, Nicaragua

Forest conversion to unproductive pastures, retaliatory killing by locals due to conflicts with domestic pigs, and the hunting of jaguar prey for local consumption and to satisfy urban markets.

Our strategies include:


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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape, Bolivia and Peru

The threats to jaguars here are many, including deforestation and land conversion around the landscape's edges, illegal logging for valuable tree species, road construction and its associated impacts, including habitat loss, and overhunting in accessible areas.

Our strategies include:


Peruvian Amazon

Threats here include illegal logging, overhunting, the introduction of domestic livestock, and deforestation for monoculture crops and pastures.

Our strategies include:


Gran Chaco, Bolivia and Paraguay

The expansion of ranch developments between significant protected areas is a threat. With that comes increased jaguar mortality due to a generalized antipathy towards jaguars and retaliatory killing in response to attacks.

Our strategies include:


Amazonas, Brazil

Here, increased road and hydro-power development, an expanding human population, demand for bush meat in urban centers, and retaliatory killings when jaguars attack lightly managed livestock are all serious threats to these big cats.

Our strategies include:

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