We support the Rupununi Wildlife Research Unit’s work on jaguar ecology and human-to-jaguar conflict in the Rupununi Region of southwestern Guyana. Guyana is at the center of one of the world’s largest expanses of intact tropical forest (about 134.2 million hectares). This area, termed the Guiana Shield for the ancient volcanic rock formations that differentiate them from the Amazon, stretches across eastern Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and northern Brazil, is one of the world’s last ‘Frontier’ forests and a stronghold for jaguar populations in South America.
Considering that 46% of jaguar populations in the Guiana Shield remain outside of protected areas, understanding the threats that jaguars face within state, private and indigenous lands is critical to the conservation. We are working with WWF Guianas on a project seeking to identify important forested corridors that connect large, forested areas in Guyana with forests in the neighboring Roraima state of Brazil, where jaguar habitat is increasingly under threat from deforestation and conversion to agriculture. Once identified, these areas can be prioritized for conservation to ensure that agriculture, fire and road building activities, that might otherwise disrupt jaguar movement between the two countries, are planned in a sustainable way.
Human-to-wildlife conflict is a threat to local incomes and the greatest threat to large carnivore populations in the Rupununi Region of Guyana, as retaliatory killing of jaguars in response to depredation of livestock is a relatively common practice. Cattle have grazed the Rupununi savannas for hundreds of years and the region once supported some of the largest cattle ranching operations in the world. We are working with the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme Guyana, an EU funded initiative, to help livestock producers in the region better understand the drivers of human-to-jaguar conflict and identify livestock management strategies to help reduce it. Local research teams have placed GPS collars on free-roaming cattle to understand their movements, placed camera-traps at key conflict sites, facilitated workshops to understand where, when, and how often conflict takes place, and conducted interviews of livestock producers to gain insights to their response to these events. All data collected has been presented back to ranch and village partners, and key strategies for reducing conflict have been identified so that they can be implemented in the coming year.
Learn more about our jaguars or plan your visit to see these beautiful animals. Find out more about the 45 conservation programs we support or consider becoming a donor to help us carry out this critical work. Our Wellness team ensures that animals in our care are given the opportunity to thrive.