Big cats not only capture our hearts and imagination, but in the past months, they have also captured the centre stage of multiple conferences and events of global significance. WWF delegates, including the Amazon Coordination Unit’s (ACU) Regional Jaguar Coordinator, Dr. Melissa Arias, had the honour to participate in these events and to elevate the status and importance of Latin America’s largest cat, the jaguar, in the global conservation agenda.
Organised by the IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict & Coexistence Specialist Group and co-hosted with the GEF-funded and World Bank-led Global Wildlife Program, and WildCRU of Oxford University, the International Conference on Human Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence
took place from 30 March to the 1st
of April in Oxford, UK. The conference was attended by more than 500 participants from 70 countries, and it included a rich programme of nearly 50 sessions covering a wide range of topics, from animal behaviour and strategies to mitigate depredation of livestock by carnivores, to social values, international policies, and financial mechanisms to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
While the conference had a large Africa focus, due to the high incidence and high costs associated with conflicts between humans and African megafauna, WWF contributed towards the representation of Latin American and Amazonian case studies and species. ACU’s Regional Jaguar Coordinator participated in a session on carnivores, speaking about the linkages between human-jaguar conflict and the trafficking of jaguar body parts, and the work that WWF is doing to build human-jaguar coexistence across the Amazon. The key message of the talk was that conflict acts as a frequent source of jaguar body parts in trade, but there are other drivers such as local and foreign demand which also exert great pressures over jaguars. Therefore, human-jaguar conflict and jaguar trafficking require coordinated multifaceted interventions, without disregarding contextual nuances and the specificities pertaining to each. Melissa also intervened at a panel session entitled “Collaborating for coexistence across Latin America”, speaking about the role of jaguar champions, from individual community members to governments officials and international organizations, in sparking collaborations and action around jaguar conservation. The presentation also flagged the Jaguar Roadmap 2030 as an example of a successful collaboration for jaguars, supported by WWF in alliance with the UNDP, WCS and Panthera.
Click here to watch the conference’s videos
, including Melissa’s talk on jaguar conflict and trafficking
and collaborations in Latin America