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What was the Carnivore Project?
The biologist Peter Crawshaw created the Carnivore Project.
Since 2009, there are biologists working on a new project sponsored by the Orient Express from England. Without having this project probably in the future we would not see jaguars in the Iguassu National Park, Brazil. The project uses to monitor the ten species of land predators that exist in the Iguassu National Park, among them the jaguar.
The information below was a interview with Peter Crawshaw 15 years ago.
When was the Carnivore Project created?
Created in 1990, the Iguassu Carnivore Project is part of a non-profit organization with an office in Sao Paulo called Pro-Carnivores.
What happens when they capture the animals?
When a capture occurs, the feline is weighed and measured. The researchers analyse the coat, calculate the age of the animal based on the condition and coloration of the teeth, take blood samples and verify other characteristics that help in the research for preservation. Radio-transmitters are placed on the animals permitting the monitoring of their activities and the tracking of the location of the felines from a distance.
How does the monitoring function?
Based on signals from the radio it is possible to verify if the animal is moving or resting. When there is no alteration in the signal for more than three hours the animal is probably dead, because it would never stay still for more than three hours.
What has been done until now?
From 1990 to 1999, researchers placed radio-transmitter collars on more than 70 animals of various species, such as the jaguar, puma, jaguatirica (a small panther-like cat), ferret, vaguarundi and margay, all of which feed basically on meat. They also placed them on coatis (racoon-like animals), crab-eating racoons, tayras and bush dogs, which are also carnivores.
How many jaguars exist in the Park today?
The Iguassu National Park´s 457.000 acres can provide refuge to approximately 170 jaguars. The current population numbers between 50 and 60 felines. This is an approximate number; there could be fewer.
What has become of the animals?
Despite these efforts, the number of animals found dead or shot is very large. The jaguar could disappear from the Iguassu National Park within five years if the rate of deaths caused by man in the last seven years is maintained. According to Peter Crawshaw, the population of panthers is also approaching a critical number due to genetic depletion.
What is the solution?
To eliminate or delay the danger of extinction which the researches have been warning of, surveillance of the Park must be increased and an aggressive program aimed at stopping the killing of the jaguars must be implemented. The next step would be to educate the ranchers, visitors and hunters; in fact, the whole community.
In which areas of Brazil it is the project very active today?
To see information about it, click here.