Monitoring jaguars to help ensure their long-term survival


Jaguars often move between forest habitats to hunt and breed. Over a century ago, these large cats roamed as far north as New Mexico and Arizona and as far south as Argentina. But today, they’ve lost almost 50% of their original range due to threats like deforestation and habitat destruction, and the vast majority of their population is restricted to the Amazon basin. In 2017, WWF-Peru began monitoring jaguars in the Napo-Putumayo Corridor to gain crucial insights that could help ensure the species’ long-term survival.


Between 2017 and 2019, WWF staff installed 129 camera traps in three areas of the corridor: Colombia’s Putumayo Predio Indigenous Territory, Ecuador’s Cuyabeno Faunistic Production Reserve, and Peru’s Güeppi-Sekime National Park. Their aim? To determine jaguar and prey species’ population numbers and collect data on how jaguars use their habitats.


WWF scientists identified 30 jaguars across 64,700 camera trap images, allowing them to calculate that around 2,000 jaguars live in the roughly 32 million-acre corridor. These results confirmed that the corridor encompasses vital jaguar habitat, strengthening the case for protecting these ecosystems.


The illegal trade in jaguar parts—such as these items for sale at a market in Iquitos, Peru—is largely driven by both local and international demand, posing an ongoing threat to jaguar populations in South America.


Güeppi-Sekime National Park in Loreto, Peru, is one area included in the study. Soon, WWF will begin the second stage of jaguar monitoring in the corridor, and hopes to replicate the project in Brazil and Bolivia. The data collected will guide WWF’s efforts to protect this region and help local authorities make informed conservation decisions.

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