Conservationists Applaud Jaguar Release Program near Boquete - Republic of Panama
Friday, April 01 2011 @ 03:30 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
Critics claim the jaguars are being released too close to human population centers, and are in fact not wild at all. Ernesto Arosemena, a chicken farmer in the town of Boquete, says his chicken farm has been raided several times in the past few months by jaguars with collars. He also cited an incident in February in which a collared cat disrupted an outdoor birthday party in Palmera in an attempt to get to a large pot of "sancocho", which is a local chicken soup. Scientists associated with the project admit the jaguar’s diet in the compound consists of chicken meat and that sancocho is given as a treat for good behavior and learning tricks, but insist the jaguars will return to their normal diet once released into the wild. Arosemena disagrees, saying that jaguars that crave sancocho could deter locals from cooking the popular dish. Environmentalists counter the jaguars are not a threat to people, but they warn at no time should anyone ever try and pet or domesticate the jaguars, no matter how friendly they might seem.
The jaguar, with an individual range of up to 80 square km, is rapidly declining in numbers. The animal is considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, meaning it may be threatened with extinction in the near future. For a list of future jaguar release dates and sites please visit http://tinyurl.com/2ht3po