Paviolo et al 2006 The need of transboundary effort to conserve jaguars Cat News 45 061108 .pdf
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The Need of Transboundary Efforts to Preserve the Southernmost
Jaguar Population in the World
Agustín Paviolo1,2, Carlos De Angelo1,2, Yamil Di Blanco1, Carolina Ferrari1, Mario Di Bitetti1,2, Carlos
Benhur Kasper3,4, Fábio Mazim3, José Bonifácio G. Soares3 and Tadeu Gomes de Oliveira3,5
t the June 2005 IUCN/SSC/
Cat Specialist Group Workshop in Brazil on the “Status
and conservation needs of the Neotropical Felids”, Argentine and Brazilian researchers were surprised to
learn that the same jaguar Panthera
onca had been photographed by camera traps in both countries. The Brazilian researchers (Kasper, Mazim,
Soares and de Oliveira) “captured”
the animal during their sampling activities at Turvo State Park, in Brazil,
and the Argentine group (Paviolo, De
Angelo, Di Blanco, Ferrari and Di
Bitetti) photographed the same animal two months later, 36 km away,
during their ﬁeld study in Yabotí Biosphere Reserve, in Argentina (Fig. 1).
The jaguar is a large male in good
physical condition (Fig 2); his home
range most likely encompasses areas
of Argentina and Brazil.
Fig. 1. Map of forest remnants, protected areas and camera trap “captures” (stars) of
the same jaguar in the Green
Corridor of Argentina, Brazil
This is not the ﬁrst reported case of
felines crossing the borders between
countries in this region. Crawshaw
(1995) reported that three radio-tagged
ocelots Leopardus pardalis in Iguaçu
National Park crossed the Iguazú River
between Iguaçu (Brazil) and Iguazú
(Argentina) National Parks. He also recorded the movement of a young jaguar
that crossed the Iguazú River, which deﬁnes the border between Argentina and
Brazil, and at least twice it crossed the
Paraná River, which divides Argentina
and Brazil from Paraguay. It is worth
mentioning that the Paraná River is not
only a political border between these
countries, but also a wide river, second
in size only to the Amazon in South
A landscape feature important to
these transboundary crossings is the
threatened Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest (UPAF). To date, less than 7% of
the original forests cover remains. The
Green Corridor is the biggest continuous remnant (12,000 km2) of this ecoregion and is strategically situated in a trinational boundary between Argentina,
Brazil and Paraguay (Fig. 1). Misiones
province in Argentina contains more
than 80% of this forest remnant, and
comprises several national and provincial protected areas, including the Iguazú
National Park (670 km2), which, along
with the Brazilian Iguaçu National Park
(1,700 km2), protect the world-famous
falls. Brazil also has another important
protected area in the region, Turvo State
Park (140 km2), which is also separated
from protected areas on the Argentinean
side by a wide river, the Uruguay (Fig.
1). Only small forest remnants are still
present in Paraguay near the Paraná border, with a few small connections to the
remainder of the Green Corridor. However, jaguar populations isolated from
the Green Corridor still remain in the
rest of the UPAF ecoregion in at least
ﬁve isolated forest fragments in Paraguay (San Rafael National Park, Mbaracayú Biosphere Reserve, Morumbí Private Reserve and in Itabó and Limoy
Biological Reserves), and in three areas
in Brazil (Morro do Diabo and Varzeas
do Rio Ivinhema State Parks and in Ilha
Grande National Park). These populations are very important, despite their
isolation, and should be included into
conservation strategies for this species
in the ecoregion.
The Green Corridor still contains
populations of six wild Neotropical
cats, jaguar, puma Puma concolor,
ocelot, margay Leopardus wiedii, oncilla Leopardus tigrinus and jaguarundi
Herpailurus yaguarondi. The area has
also been identiﬁed as a “Jaguar Conservation Unit” (Sanderson et al. 2002).
These authors suggested that scientiﬁc
and conservation efforts should focus on
this population because of its long-term
conservation potential and its ecological
uniqueness. Also, this jaguar population
is the only one that has been categorized
with a “high long-term survival possibility” in both the Atlantic Forest and
Argentina (Sanderson et al. 2002).
Nonetheless, up-to-date results from
three camera-trap surveys by the Argentinean team at Iguazú National Park,
Urugua-í Provincial Park and at Yabotí
Biosphere Reserve indicate a very low
jaguar density (0,13 to 0,86 individuals/100 km2) in the region (Paviolo et
One of the most serious threats to
the jaguar population in the Green Corridor is habitat loss and fragmentation.
These processes have already devastated forests in Brazil and Paraguay and
are rapidly occurring in several areas of
Misiones Province due to the replacement of native forests by exotic species
destined for commercial logging, the
expansion of cattle raising and to unplanned human settlements. The Green
Corridor faces the additional problem
of forest degradation caused by the
non-sustainable logging of native plant
species and by the loss of native fauna
due to poaching. This leads into very
low density of terrestrial vertebrates in
most forests (Cullen et al. 2000, Paviolo 2002). The situation is aggravated
by the fact that the vertebrate species
most valued by hunters are the same
prey preferred by large wild felines
(Jorgenson & Redford, 1993). Jaguars
are also hunted either as trophies or
for the threat they represent for cattle.
Transboundary efforts are needed to
solve these problems. In Argentina’s
Yabotí Biosphere Reserve (Fig. 1) park
rangers and frontier guards report meeting Brazilian hunters who have crossed
the border to gain access to the larger
forest areas with more abundant prey.
Obviously, joint efforts and coordinated
control policies are needed to restrain illegal activities that threaten the regional
Recent results show that the jaguar
population has abruptly declined in the
last 10 years. These estimates indicate
that the present population of the Green
Corridor is about 50 individuals (Paviolo et al. 2006). Given the strong likelihood that the processes leading to the
present situation will become worse in
the future, the conservation of the jaguar
population in the Green Corridor and
the whole Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest
CAT News 45
Fig. 2. Jaguar male captured at Esmeralda Provincial Park, Argentina, and Turvo State Park,
Brazil (Photo: Wild Cats of Brazil Project).
is at stake. None of the protected areas
of the region can by itself ensure jaguar
conservation due to their low population
density. The possibility for this species
survival is closely related to the safeguarded connection between the protected areas and the existing remnants
in the three countries so as to ensure
free movement of the species. Equally
important is the mitigation of present
threats. Argentineans, Brazilians and
Paraguayans should realize that to sustain jaguars in the Upper Paraná Atlantic
Forest it is critical to coordinate and join
efforts to preserve the Green Corridor.
Argentinean authorities should consider
the Brazilian protected areas that lay on
the other side of the international border
as vital for the preservation of jaguars
and other species of the Green Corridor.
Brazilian authorities should understand
that without the Green Corridor, both
Iguaçu National Park and Turvo State
Park have no long-term future as isolated forest fragments. Jaguars can still
move between two important Brazilian protected areas, Turvo State Park
and Iguaçu National Park, but they do
so only through the Green Corridor of
Misiones, Argentina. There is no corridor in Brazil.
Transboundary planning as a regional conservation strategy has already been implemented in different
parts of the world. Within the IUCN
Global Transboundary Protected Areas
Network (www.tbpa.net), several international endeavors are being undertak-
en. Most of these projects involve the
protection of large felines as the snow
leopard Panthera uncia in the Central
Asia Transboundary Biodiversity Project (in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic
and Uzbekistan), lions Panthera leo in
the “Tri-DOM” (Sustainable Rainforest
Management in the Cameroon-GabonCongo Interzone), and even jaguars in
the “Path of the Jaguar” included in
the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor,
the region encompassing Mexico’s ﬁve
southernmost states together with Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama
(Graham 2004, Fall 2003).
Another good example of transboundary planning in this region is
the development of the Biodiversity
Vision carried out by several members of WWF network (WWF Brasil,
WWF-US, the WWF-US Paraguayan
Ofﬁce and the Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina) and the collaboration of
many local institutions from the three
countries involved. This Biodiversity
Vision is based on an analysis of opportunities and threats for ecoregional conservation and concludes in a proposal of
ecoregional landscape: the Biodiversity
Conservation Landscape aimed at preserving regional biodiversity and the
main ecological processes and ecological services (Di Bitetti et al. 2003). This
biodiversity conservation landscape
was designed with the jaguar as the focal species, supported by the idea that
due to its umbrella effect, most species
will beneﬁt from its conservation. This
Biodiversity Vision, has been endorsed
by local NGOs, government authorities
and other international NGOs. The implementation of this biodiversity landscape is a big challenge and should be
conducted in coordination among the
three countries. Jaguars and even other
felids can serve as focal species to guide
and monitor regional conservation efforts.
Crawshaw P. G. Jr. 1995. Comparative
ecology of ocelot (Felis pardalis) and
Jaguar (Panthera onca) in a protected
subtropical forest in Brazil and Argentina. Ph. D. Univ. Florida, USA.
Cullen L., Bodmer E. and Valladares-Padua
C. 2000. Effects of hunting in habitat
fragments of the Atlantic forests, Brazil.
Biological Conservation 95, 49-56.
Cullen L., Abreu K., Sana D. and Ferreira
Dales Navas A. 2005. Jaguars as landscape detectives for the upper Paraná
River corridor, Brazil. Natureza and
Conservaçao 3, n. 1.
Di Bitetti M. S., Placci G. and Dietz L. A.
2003. A Biodiversity Vision for the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest Eco-region:
Designing a Biodiversity Conservation
Landscape and Setting Priorities for
Conservation Action. World Wildlife
Fund. Washington, D.C.
Fall J. J. 2003. Planning protected areas
across boundaries: new paradigms and
old ghosts. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 17, 81-102.
Graham B. 2004. Integrating Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use:
Lessons Learned From Ecological Networks. IUCN, Gland,Switzerland, and
Cambridge, UK. vi + 55 pp.
Jorgenson J. P. and Redford K. H. 1993.
Humans and big cats as predators in the
neotropics. In Dunstone N. Gorman M.
L. (eds.). Mammals as predators. Zoological Society of London Symposia 65.
Oxford, England. Pp. 367-390.
Ministerio do Meio Ambiente, Conservation International do Brasil, Fundação
SOS Mata Atlântica, Fundação Biodiversitas, Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, Secretaria do Meio Ambiente do
Estado de São Paulo, SEMAD/Instituto
Estadual de Florestas-MG.:Availaçao
e ações prioritárias para a conservação
da biodiversidade da Mata Atlântica e
Campos Sulinos. 2000 Brasília. 40pp.
Paviolo A. J. 2002. Abundancia de presas
potenciales de yaguareté (Panthera
onca) en áreas protegidas y no protegi-
das de la Selva Paranaense, Argentina.
Tesis de licenciatura. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
Paviolo A. J., De Angelo C., Di Blanco Y.
E., Ferrari C., Di Bitetti M. S. 2006. Estado de conservación del jaguar (Panthera onca) en el Bosque Atlántico del
Alto Paraná de Misiones, Argentina.
Book of abstracts, VII Congreso Internacional sobre Manejo de Fauna Silvestre na Amazonía e America Latina.
Sanderson E. W., Redford K. H., Chetkiewicz C. B., Medellín R. A., Rabinowitz
A. R., Robinson J. G. and Taber A. B.
2002. Planning to save a species: the jaguar as a model. Conservation Biology
Proyecto Yaguareté. Asociación Civil Centro
de Investigaciones del Bosque Atlántico,
National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and Laboratorio de Investigaciones
Ecológicas de las Yungas (LIEY), Universidad
Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina.
3 Wild Cats of Brazil Project (Projeto Gatos do
Mato – Brasil, SACCA)
PPG Biologia Animal - Universidade Federal
do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
Universidade Estadual do Maranhão (UEMA)
and Instituto Pró-Carnívoros, Brazil
Instituto Pró-Pampa (IPPampa), Brazil
Iberian Lynx Ex-Situ Conservation - Seminar Series 2006
he Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus
is considered the most endangered felid in the world. In
December 2003, the Spanish Ministry
of Environment and the Andalusian
Government initiated a collaborative Conservation Breeding Program
for the Iberian lynx. In the past two
years, nine cubs have been bron at
El Acebuche Breeding Centre. As of
May 2006, 22 lynx are in captivity.
Soon the Andalusian Government
will open a new Breeding Center in
La Aliseda, in the province of Jaén.
The Iberian Lynx ex-situ conservation breeding program is closely linked
to in-situ conservaiton efforts. Its main
goals are to preserve genetic diversity in
captivity and, in the near future, to help
re-establish Iberian lynx populations
in areas of recent historical occupancy.
Additionally, the program has a strong
In order to take advantage of the
unique opprotunity of closely studying
the behaviour and physiology of this
magniﬁcent cat, Iberian lynx ex-situ
conservaiton is a learning-oriented program. In this regard, the program collaborates with more than 30 national and
international institutions and is presently carrying out collaborative projects in
the areas of husbandry, behaviour, nutrition, health issues, reproductive physiology and genetics. In addition, one of
the program goals is to gather and integrate as much information as possible
to help with the design of future reintroduction strategies in collaboration with
the ex-situ conservation program.
The objective of the Seminar series
in fall 2006 is to gather present knowledge regarding Iberian lynx biology as
it relates to conservation breeding efforts and to share knowledge and experiences with experts from other related
projects. The four seminars are dedicated to the following subjects:
• Veterinary aspects applied to Iberian
lynx conservation efforts
• Husbandry and management of captive populations
• Reproductive physilogy and biological resource banks
• Reintroduction of wild carnivores:
applicable experiences to the Iberian