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“Protected areas must be expanded to protect jaguars,” says new research

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Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2020. 11:39 am CST.

By BBN Staff: A new study, published in the journal BMC Genetics, says that protected areas in Belize must be expanded to protect the jaguar population, which continues to decline.

The study, led by the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Bristol, references the study period of 2002-2011 and provides a screenshot of the genetic patterns of jaguars living in and traveling through Belize, as well as providing insight into the best routes for the jaguars to take across two key areas in Central Belize.

Head Researcher Dr. Angelica Menchaca stressed that Jaguars do not stay in one place and can move long distances, often through unprotected areas between reserves. She noted that areas in between national parks with human activity may put jaguars at risk from retaliatory killing, conflict with cattle ranchers and limit connectivity between reserves.

“If we are to help this threatened species, then our conservation efforts must expand protected areas to ensure the maintenance of this threatened species across its range,” Menchaca said.

The study points out that jaguars are in increasing danger due to high deforestation rates for large-scale agricultural development, which constantly changes the landscape. Jaguars are currently listed as ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for the conservation of

Nature (IUCN)’s red list of threatened species. Last year there were several reports of jaguars being killed and mutilated in Belize, presumably by poachers who sell their body parts such as the head or fangs on the black market.

 

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