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How many jaguars are there in Panama?

March 04, 2013

How many jaguars are there in Panama?

Ricardo Moreno, who has probably done more jaguar tracking and camera-trapping than anyone else in Panama, says the number of jaguars is unknown

Ricardo Moreno, who has probably done more jaguar tracking and camera-trapping than anyone else in Panama, says the number of jaguars is unknown. “But we think they're being killed faster than they reproduce. Between Chagres National Park and Portobelo, my estimate is that three to six jaguars are killed every year… and a female only has one or two kittens every three years.”

Jaguars need room to roam, but their maximum range varies enormously, from 100 to 1000km2 or more depending on the availability food and on mating opportunities. “During my thesis research one adult male called Aquiles moved 43 kilometers in a single day, from Cana in Darien Province to the town of Boca de Cupe.

Killing jaguars is illegal. Especially at borders of protected areas, jaguars are hunted for sport and by ranchers frustrated by attacks on their cattle or dogs. Ricardo recently spent some time with residents and park guards near Portobelo, where he hopes to set up a program to compensate ranchers for economic losses, “We need some more funding, but we're eager to start.”

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