How to Save the Jaguars? Turn the Locals From Foe to Friend
A National Geographic Explorer aims to help conserve the jaguar population in Panama by enlisting the help of local farmers.
Ricardo Moreno loves cats. At 14 years old, he would follow around his pet cat and study its behavior—much to his mother’s displeasure.
Now, the Panamanian has moved onto bigger things: Saving the Americas' biggest feline, the jaguar.
The big cats once roamed over nearly nine million square kilometers, from the southern mountains of Argentina to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. But decades of deforestation and hunting have drastically shrunk its habitat and eliminated 40 percent of the historic population. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the jaguar as near threatened to extinction; the species is already gone from Uruguay and Ecuador.
As their homes disappear, remaining jaguars are forced to hunt livestock instead