The latest jaguar count in Mexico shows that the number of jaguars in the country has increased from 4,000 to 4,800 in eight years. What's particularly thrilling is that the jaguars have returned to areas where they have long been extinct.
"It was incredible to see jaguars in so many places where there were none before", says Gerardo Ceballos, researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and one of the researchers behind the study, in a comment to Mongabay.
One reason for this success is that the jaguar has received better protection in the areas where it is located. The new count now makes it easier to see where new protective measures may be needed for the jaguars. The researchers have put forward proposals on which areas need increased protection to create corridors for the jaguars. In this way, different populations should be able to reach each other to benefit genetic variation.
The local population has in the past been pessimistic about protecting jaguars, but new initiatives have reversed that trend. The government is now compensating the local population for domesticated animals that are killed by jaguars. In addition, the Mexican state can pay for electric fencing to protect livestock against the jaguars.
"The locals have been critical, but when they received compensation, they also got a reason to protect the forest and they are now our most important ally", says Gerardo Ceballos.
Image: Pixabay / stanvpetersen