Panthera group’s effort to preserve jaguars lauded
Georgetown, GINA, November 24, 2012
The efforts of the Panthera Group to launch a Jaguar Corridor initiative in Guyana, was welcomed this evening at a simple ceremony at the Cara Lodge in Georgetown by Protected Areas Commission, Commissioner Damian Fernandes.
Addressing a group of special invitees which included conservationists and government officials, Fernandes noted that Guyana is the fourth country to sign the agreement which seeks to preserve the habitat of the world’s third largest cat and South America’s apex land predator.
Chief Executive Officer of Panthera, Alan Robinowitz, offered a brief insight as to how the efforts began in the 1970s to preserve the world’s big cats and spoke of his initial efforts in Belize to create the first protected area for the jaguar in 1984. This move transformed that country, which now derives a major part of its revenue from eco- tourism.
He said that the jaguar is fortunate compared to lions and tigers which are severely threatened with extinction. He noted that Guyana’s position is commendable as it is in a position to balance the preservation of the animal with human development. Referring to many of the recently discovered diseases which threaten mankind due to contact with wildlife, Robinowitz said that predators such as the jaguar play a key role in keeping the shield between wildlife borne diseases and human, intact.
Earlier today representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) and United States (US)-headquartered Panthera Corporation, the world’s leading wild cat conservation group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which formally paves the way for Guyana’s participation in the International Jaguar Corridor Initiative.
“Much of the initial work under the MOU will focus on research, education, and identifying opportunities for Jaguar conservation and related tourism initiatives,” the ministry said in a statement.
Under the MOU, Panthera will be providing technical and scientific expertise on conservation priorities, Jaguar movement models and other resources aimed at facilitating long-term benefits to local stakeholders, and Guyana as a whole.
The MOU will also provide a solid foundation for new initiatives to understand and mitigate conflicts between humans and Jaguars. These initiatives may include grants for local researchers and research institutions. The MOU provides a framework for research and surveys on the Jaguar, public education on the behaviours of these large cats, and the examination of economic opportunities associated with jaguar conservation.
The Jaguar Corridor Initiative is a plan to conserve jaguars and work with both protected and non-protected areas to ensure that people and wildlife can co-exist.