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New data shows growth in Mexico’s jaguar population

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Jaguars are extremely endangered in Yucatán, but new data is starting to provide reasons for cautious optimism. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A census of Mexico’s jaguars shows an increase in the population of 20% over the past couple of years. 

The news is being celebrated by conservationists who see in the new data evidence that conservation strategies to protect the giant felines are in fact working.

The data is even more encouraging as a similar positive trend was reported back in 2018, in the pages of the scientific journal PLOS One.

The census was conducted by gathering data from specialized photo capture equipment designed to determine where jaguars lived and how many roam a particular area. 

Though designed to track jaguar specifically, the motion-triggered imaging capture equipment also routinely gathers information on other types of animals such as tapirs, deer, and peccaries.

It is estimated that Mexico’s jaguar population is of approximately 5,000 specimens, most of which are concentrated in the south of the country. 

Earlier: Birth of baby jaguar in Mérida zoo offers hope

“It was incredible to see jaguars in so many places where there weren’t any before,” said ecologist Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

The largest concentrations of jaguars on the Yucatán were found to be in Southern Campeche, though a considerable amount of specimens were also found to inhibit the northwest of the Peninsula, near Celestún

Some of the measures accredited with the improvements in jaguar populations include the construction of wildlife corridors and programs designed to incentivize local populations to protect this endangered species.

The jaguar is a large cat species and the only living member of its native to the Americas. With a body length of up to 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) and a weight of up to 96 kg (212 lb), it is the largest cat species in the Americas and the third-largest in the world.

Other species of wild felines native to the Yucatán Peninsula inlcude the puma concolor, ocelots and tigrillos, also known as leopardu wiedii. 

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