The jaguar is known as one of the largest and most powerful wild cats of them all. Nevertheless, this unfortunately does not mean that jaguars are not endangered. Quite the opposite is the case, which is why many jaguar conservation programs are working hard to prevent this species from becoming extinct altogether. As such, your help as a jaguar conservation volunteer is very much needed. Opportunities for volunteering exist in Central and South America in particular. If you would like to learn more about why you are needed as a jaguar conservation volunteer abroad, please read on. We are going to tell you about some of the threats that jaguars face as well as what this voluntary work is going to entail.
Why are jaguars in danger of becoming extinct?
Like most wild animals, jaguars face a series of threats. Just consider the situation in the US and Mexico, for example. A once flourishing jaguar population has almost completely been wiped out in these regions. It is believed that a mere 70 to 100 jaguars still live in Sonora, Mexico. Why is that? The problem that jaguars are facing in those regions is one of habitat loss. Areas, which were once key to jaguar survival, are increasingly being used for the following purposes instead:
- Other kinds of residential buildings
- Border infrastructure
In turn, jaguars are losing their natural habitats, which is why the remaining jaguar populations in Central and South America must be saved by any means. However, habitat loss is not the only devastating news to jaguar conservation activists. Instead, unregulated poaching and hunting continue to be an issue, too. Given the unique spots on a jaguar’s coat, jaguars are very attractive to hunters who consider these stunning wild animals their personal trophies. Moreover, global warming, climate change and habitat loss due to deforestation further contribute to the decline in the jaguar population in both South and Central America.
Which countries are still home to jaguars?
As a prospective jaguar conservation volunteer, you deserve an answer to this question. After all, this is where your voluntary work will likely take you. Depending on which program you choose, you might find yourself volunteering in jaguar conservation in any one of these countries:
While El Salvador and Uruguay also used to be home to substantive jaguar populations, this sadly no longer is the case. In fact, all jaguar conservation efforts were not able to save the jaguar population in these regions, wherefore there are no longer any wild jaguars to be found there.
Different approaches to protect jaguars
As a jaguar conservation volunteer abroad, what you will be doing will depend on the approach that your program is taking. Since there are many different approaches to jaguar conservation, part of your job might be educating the public or monitoring the local jaguar population. In many of the above mentioned countries, ecotourism and educating local ranch owners in particular are two of the most important pillars of any jaguar conservation work. Moreover, you might also be asked to participate in various research activities. This is important since researchers first need to determine where the remaining jaguar populations live so that they can focus their jaguar conservation efforts on the respective areas. In some of these jaguar hotspots, you might even find a protected reserve. Hence, this will likely mean that setting up camera traps to track the local jaguar population will be part of your job description. However, your local contact at your jaguar conservation program can tell you exactly what you will be doing as a future volunteer.