Guyana and the United States (US)-headquartered Panthera Corporation, the world’s leading wild cat conservation group, on Thursday agreed to conserve the country’s national animal, the Jaguar.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by representatives of Panthera and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MoNRE) now paves the way for Guyana’s participation in the International Jaguar Corridor Initiative.
“With the signing of the MOU, Guyana will now be in a better position to benefit from this regional project,” said MoNRE in a statement.
The Initiative is regarded as an ambitious plan to conserve jaguars and work with both protected and non-protected areas to ensure that people and wildlife can co-exist.
The newly-created Protected Areas Commission (PAC) will be responsible for the development of sub-agreements and project documents for on-the-ground implementation.
“Much of the initial work under the MOU will focus on research, education, and identifying opportunities for Jaguar conservation and related tourism initiatives,” the ministry added.
Panthera’s regional efforst include facilitating genetic flow between important Jaguar habitats. The MOU provides a framework for research and surveys on the Jaguar, public education on the behaviours of these large cats, and the examination of economic opportunities associated with Jaguar conservation.
Under the MOU, Panthera will be providing technical and scientific expertise on conservation priorities, Jaguar movement models and other resources aimed at facilitating long term benefits to local stakeholders, and Guyana as a whole.
The MOU will also provide a solid foundation for new initiatives to understand and mitigate conflicts between humans and Jaguars. These initiatives may include grants for local researchers and research institutions and the development of a conflict response mechanism to deal with problem animals.