*This archived post was last updated in 2016
In December 2016, Project Wildcat ended the year on a high note. Our approach to protecting the estimated 80 jaguars left in Northern Sonora, Mexico, by expanding the existing Northern Jaguar Reserve has been a huge success as we look to add even more acres. This is done by partnering with ranchers and landowners north of the reserve who have signed management agreements not to kill predators, to allow us to place wildlife camera traps in key areas on their property, and allow for surprise site visits. Jaguars and other predators, out of desperation, have turned to killing cattle due to a decrease in inhabitable land and natural prey. If a rancher who has signed the agreement does kill a predator, they are removed from the program and lose these benefits that lead to a larger calf crop and a greater profit.
Thank you, Fernando, for signing the management agreement!
This year Project Wildcat began helping these ranchers change to a synchronized cattle breeding program. The bulls and cows had been in large pastures, together, all year long. In the southwestern United States, bulls are separated from cows for nine months of the year, synchronizing breeding and calf production. The Project Wildcat ranchers are excited about changing to this system. We are helping develop separate bull pastures with water pumps, fencing, and building new water tanks. We aim to get cattle to high ground and away from predators. Restricting calf production to a three-month period alone could reduce jaguar predation on calves by 75%!
Needless to say, we are thrilled about this progress and hopeful for the future. This year we were able to expand the corridor just north of the Northern Jaguar Reserve by nearly 35,000 acres! We are in talks with additional ranchers to increase this acreage. Things are looking good for the jaguar and other big cats as we expand this safe corridor.