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jaguar A threatened species.

Experts urge coordinated efforts to save jaguar population

Illegal trafficking, deforestation are two important threats

Ecology experts and conservationists have urged authorities to make a coordinated effort to save the country’s jaguar population, which is under threat from poaching, habitat loss and illnesses transmitted by domestic animals.

Despite moderate increases in its population over the last decade — from 4,000 in 2010 to 4,800 now — the jaguar is still considered a threatened species, according to Rodrigo Medellín, a researcher at the Institute of Ecology at the National Autonomous University (UNAM).

The National Jaguar Conservation Alliance (ANCJ) reported last month that the biggest threat to jaguars in Mexico is the Chinese black market. The big cats are prized in China for their fangs, claws, bones and pelts for use in medicines, jewelry and textiles.

Medellín and ANCJ president Gerardo Ceballos said the only way to stop illegal trafficking of jaguars is through coordinated efforts by authorities, local populations and the international community, for which an alliance of 14 Latin American countries was created in order to articulate a conservation and protection strategy on the continent.

They said that specific goals and clear environmental public policy are necessary in order to maintain jaguar populations and biological diversity in the long term in Mexico.

One such goal would be achieving a rate of zero deforestation by the end of President López Obrador’s term, as 100,000 hectares of forest and jungle are lost each year in Mexico, contributing to the numerous threats to the jaguar’s existence.

They said it was also necessary to evaluate infrastructure projects for communications and transportation, as many affect the jaguar’s natural habitat and fragment populations, making them smaller and more vulnerable.

The Maya Train is one such project that experts have said poses a threat to the jaguar’s habitat and existence.

Their strategy also calls for an increase to the National Forest Commission’s (Conafor) budget in order to support communal landowners, members of cooperatives and owners of small wildlife refuges for jaguars.

Source: Excélsior (sp)

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