Project: The jaguar centerpiece

Jaguar (Panthera onca). rel=
Jaguar (Panthera onca).
© WWF-Canon / Michel GUNTHER

How protecting the feline could save the forest

The jaguar stands out as a key piece in the forest's salvatory puzzle. Because it is a charismatic top predator, it is considered an umbrella species - this means a species which, by the nature of its habitat needs, can serve as a conservation proxy for protecting other animals and plants that depend on the same habitat. Protecting it - like finding the ecosystem's highest denominator, will ensure a future for other species too.

Territorial figures
The territory of one male jaguar extends between 8,000 and 15,000 hectares and does not overlap with that of other males. Females on the other hand require expanses half that size. Their land can be contained within that of a male, but will not be shared with other females. Knowing how many individuals there are in the forest and how many would make up a population that would survive in the long-term will define the minimal forest area to protect.

A cat and mouse game
An essential unknown factor in the equation is the amount and whereabouts of the jaguar, which explains why camera traps, trailing techniques and over 200 men are currently dispatched throughout the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest.

Rules - spotting the spotted cat
The main goal of "proyecto tigre" is to have enough data to conduct a population viability analysis (PVA) and draw up a map of the jaguars' whereabouts. A PVA is an assessment of a population's risk of extinction or its projected population growth either under current conditions or expected from proposed management. The result of the analysis and the map will be used to secure a great enough area of forest for a jaguar population to thrive in perpetuity.

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