JOHN DELANEY: (1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org)

STEPHEN SAUTNER: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org)

Paraguay Unveils New Management Plan For Jaguars

Asunción, Paraguay (December 22, 2016) – The Government of Paraguay took a major step forward today to ensuring a future for the Western Hemisphere’s largest cat species by completing a country-wide management plan for jaguars, the culmination of two years of cooperation between government agencies, the public and private sectors, and researchers from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and other NGOs.

The “National Jaguar Management Plan 2017-2027 in Paraguay” was announced this morning in Asunción by the Director of Biodiversity Conservation at the Ministry of Environment, Dario Mandelburger, at a ceremony attended by members of SEAM’ s Biodiversity Department, WCS, Itaipu Binacional, the National Ranchers’ Association (ARP), and the media.

“We commend the Minister and the government for their commitment to jaguars in Paraguay and for building the partnerships needed to protect these big cats both in and around the country’s protected area network,” said María del Carmen Fleytas, WCS’s Country Director for Paraguay.

With contributions from multiple authors representing diverse interests in Paraguay, the plan contains chapters on the natural history of the jaguar, research to-date, status, cultural significance, and the current legal framework supporting the jaguar management.  Action items for conservation include investigation, education, and policy. Perhaps most significantly, the plan contains protocols for managing human-jaguar conflicts, a must-have in a country so dominated by cattle ranching. 

“This plan provides a framework for jaguar conservation in Paraguay, and includes tools for coexistence that have broader utility across the jaguar’s range” said John Polisar, Coordinator of the WCS Jaguar Conservation Program. A major focus of the program is large jaguar conservation landscapes that focus on globally significant strategically located Jaguar Conservation Units (JCU).  The Gran Chaco, a wild brushy area the size of Pennsylvania straddling the Bolivia-Paraguay border, is one of the eight JCUs.  WCS played a key role in establishing enormous protected areas on the Bolivian side. 

On the Paraguayan side, huge tracts of private land are interspersed with protected areas.  Paraguay has become the sixth largest exporter of quality beef to international markets, and deforestation rates are increasing as a vibrant and successful ranching industry expands into formerly wild areas. In order for the jaguar to survive in Paraguay, jaguar-friendly productive landscapes need to be linked with effective protected areas. 

To that end, WCS has aligned with conservation minded ranchers since 2012 to test methods to reduce jaguar attacks on livestock and hence, human-jaguar conflicts.  WCS has also worked closely with the Paraguay Secretary of the Environment to coordinate the diverse group that united to assess the current state of knowledge about jaguars in Paraguay and effect the positive forward looking National Plan released today.

WCS’s jaguar work in Paraguay has been supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation.

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