Jaguars once roamed throughout the forests of Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast; however, due to deforestation, the only remaining population of jaguars in this region is found in the Paso del Istmo biological corridor. We have found evidence of jaguars, but to protect this last remaining population, we need to find out how many there are, where they roam, and what the most immediate threats to their survival are.
Jaguar populations all over the world are shrinking – habitat destruction, persecution, and loss of their prey all threaten these amazing creatures. If jaguar populations are to survive in the long term, then we have to do more than protect those animals fortunate to live in remote reserves; we have to also conserve jaguars throughout their range, in order to maintain gene flow and connectivity between populations. By saving the last population of jaguars in western Nicaragua, we contribute to the long-term survival of the entire species.
After decades of decline and without a documented sighting for over 15 years, it was thought that jaguars were extinct in western Nicaragua. Thanks to the camera traps set up by Paso Pacifico intern Robert Alexander Euwe, a graduate student in wildlife management, the male jaguar pictured here busted that myth in 2010.
Not only do camera traps provide undeniable evidence of jaguars' presence in western Nicaragua, establishing the importance of Paso del Istmo as a migratory corridor, their unique pelt markings allow biologists to identify individual members of the species. Information gathered from additional camera traps will allow us to monitor activity levels of jaguars and prey species, to ensure the connectivity of the corridor, and to promote human coexistence with jaguars.
Biologist Miguel Ordeñana will lead our efforts to ensure healthy jaguar populations on Nicaragua's western slope, furthering critical research, conserving habitat, and conducting conservation education and community outreach to promote peaceful coexistence with jaguars.
With your help, we will be able discover how many jaguars persist in the Paso del Istmo biological corridor of Nicaragua. We expect that we will be able to make basic estimations of minimum jaguar population size, home range size, and determine the most critical threats to Nicaragua’s last population of jaguars on its Pacific coast.
To keep up to date with our project, check out the jaguar posts on our blog.
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