PROTECTING APEX PREDATOR CATS
Project Wildcat, in partnership with Primero Conservation, works with the ranchers of Sonora to cohabitate peacefully with the majestic jaguar and other endangered species. The program’s hands-on approach teaches ranchers enhanced cattle management techniques and provides related infrastructural improvements that limit the cattle’s grazing range, like fencing and water systems.
Jaguars were once the supreme predators of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, yet only 80 remain today. This magnificent creature is the third largest cat in the world and sits at the top of the food chain in their native habitat. Their habitat, which extends throughout Central America as far south as Argentina, is now threatened by habitat loss and human conflict. Once abundant across the continent, they are now listed as threatened or endangered nearly everywhere they call home, particularly along the U.S. Mexico border. It is our responsibility to ensure land for these jaguars and other predators to roam freely.
Project Wildcat works in Sonora, Mexico. This is the northernmost population where jaguars are known to exist, as well as home to an amazing diversity of species. As of November 2017, motion-censored wildlife cameras installed by Project Wildcat captured 48 different species, revealing 22 birds, 20 mammals, 4 reptile, 1 amphibian, and a butterfly. Seven individual jaguars have pranced in front of the camera, including one female who was photographed on three different ranches, once with a cub!
Project Wildcat is working with six ranches who have agreed to refrain from killing jaguars and other predators in exchange for training, supplies, and equipment to protect their cattle. By offsetting cattle deaths with these incentives, these ranchers can no longer justify killing jaguars and other predators like mountain lions, ocelots, and bears. This is a huge accomplishment, as ranchers often kill jaguars and other predators in retaliation for these predators eating their livestock. These improved cattle management techniques have reduce jaguar predation on calves by 75%!