Own of my travel agent (Nickadventure) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, just posted on his Facebook page comments from locals about a jaguar poaching increase, especially in Northern Bolivia, corresponding to the Beni Wetlands and Amazonian Forest, south to Tambopata reserve in Peru.
I will quote his comments here:
Sadly after speaking to locals in the Bolivian Amazon Area Jaguars are now under attack !!, Chinese workers are now paying 100-200 dollars for the teeth , bones and body parts of Jaguars and sadly locals are blinded by this money and are wiping them out.
Imagine the Jungles without Jaguars !! At the rate they are being killed its a real possibility.
We just recieved 2 Tourists who flew all the way from Mexico to Bolivia to see a Jaguar in the wild and we are happy to saw that we achieved their goals, with this in mind we have to look at the damage people are causing by killing Jaguars for less than 100 dollars per cat for the teeth to go to Chinese traders and what they are doing for the future of their kids and families.
Firstly by supporting Chinese and their own Greed they are severly affecting the environment , Jaguars are key predators and keep the ecosystem in balance, without them other species become overpopulated which alters forest growth and also spreads disease.
2ndly they are killing one of the Icons of South Amercia, and when the Jaguars have been wiped out like they have been in Argentina , most of Central America and USA only then will they understand how much Bolivia has lost. A forest void of Jaguars and other key predators is no longer a forest as it has lost its soul.
In terms of the economy a Jaguar is worth so much more to Bolivia than people can imagine, people travel from all over the world to Bolivia hoping to get a glance of this beautiful cat which in turn means more money for all, hotels are booked, guides are used, transport, restauraunts and more are all booked which means more money and employment for Bolivia.
A Jaguar lives for up to 15 years in the wild so imagine how many tourists have come to try and take a photo and how much money this brings into Bolivia over the life of just 1 Jaguar yet sadly as per usual mans desire to make a quick dollar is rapidly driving this amazing big cat to extinction.
With this in mind, lets hope locals, tourists and the government can start to understand that the life of a Jaguar or other species are worth much more to Bolivia than 100 -500 dollars and that action has to be taken to ensure the trade of animal parts in Bolivia is met with the strongest deterrents possible.
BOLIVIA WITHOUT JAGUARS IS NOT BOLIVIA !!
Note for those interested to discover wild Bolivia.
The place I have seen a jaguar in Madidi (with another local agent) is the same Nick use to go.
Nicks offers fantastic tour in the Bolivian Chaco, and reached really good results in tapirs and jaguars observations.
Let's hope tourism will develop in there, I greatly admire Nick perseverance.
If Kaa Iya is rather an expedition compared to Pantanal confortable lodges in Tres Irmaos region, Nick uses camera traps during the trip to show his tourists the most secretive wildlife he cannot guarantee to his clients, which I really appreciate.
I really expect to visit KINP one day with Nick, as well as other new destinations I discovered a couple of year before: Reserva Barba Azul (Beni) to see the once thought extinct endemic macaw, Red front macaw in the upper dry valleys. He also offers tour in Noel Kempff, Pantanal and seems to have a new tour to see the andean cock of the rock...