The Iwokrama Research Centre and global wild cat conservation organization, Panthera have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at the development and implementation of actions for the science and conservation of jaguars in Guyana.
According to a statement issued by the Iwokrama Research Centre, the MOU was signed on Monday as a commitment made by the two parties to collaborate on education, research and practical applications for conservation of jaguars in Guyana with particular reference to the Iwokrama Forest and road. More so, it allows both institutions to jointly develop and implement strategic actions for the
science and conservation of jaguars in Guyana, framed under Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative.
Additionally, the organizations will also work closely with government agencies including the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, Wildlife Division, and Guyana Protected Areas Commission amongst others. Information from these actions will contribute to the management of the forest and road through Iwokrama.
In particular, this will be implemented through education, research and practical conservation applications including sharing information and developing additional co-operative plans to survey for jaguars, educating the public on the value of jaguars and other wildlife and mitigating conflicts between jaguars and people.
The statement explained that apart from the jaguar being an important and powerful symbol of the rich natural and cultural heritage of Guyana, its role as a top predator in the ecosystem serves an important indicator of ecological health. Additionally, the jaguar can provide an indicator of effectiveness of protected areas and its conservation can benefit its associated biodiversity, not forgetting its role in local tourism.
“Guyana is in a privileged position of having a healthy jaguar population, therefore providing superb opportunities for research and development of strategies to promote the conservation of this important species,” the statement said.
The Iwokrama Research Centre has been recognized as a key area for jaguar conservation in Guyana and research conducted over the years has proven this area, particularly the forest and road to be prime habitat for jaguar sightings.
The statement said Guyana is setting an example in jaguar conservation with its continued countrywide commitment to the jaguar corridor,” it said.
Globally, jaguar populations are on the decline mainly due to the loss of habitat and conflict with people. As a result, these animals are listed as a ‘near threatened’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Panthera first started work in Guyana in 2011 through the jaguar conservation studies in the Rupununi where it was established that the connectivity of the Amazon Rainforest throughout the Rupununi, Iwokrama and other adjacent areas in the northern habitat of the jaguar is important for the long-term conservation of Guyana’s natural heritage.
Founded in 2006, Panthera is an organization devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, lions, leopards, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes.
Panthera works alongside a wide variety of stakeholders in 50 countries around the world to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats thus securing their future and ours, the release said.