I have just found an exciting article on Jaguars.org’s Facebook page. The story, originally posted by The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), concerns a new development in the fight to secure a long-term future for jaguars. WFEN, the Jaguar Conservation Fund (JCF), Proyecto de conservación de Aguas y Tierras (ProCAT Colombia), and the Sierra to Sea (S2S) Institute have collaborated with food producers in three jaguar range countries to develop a new Jaguar Friendly™ ecolabel.
The new label will function as follows. Ranchers and farmers in Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica will agree to implement agricultural practices that minimize habitat destruction. This will maintain landscape connectivity between protected areas, which is a crucial part of big cat conservation. In return, participating food producers will get to market their products as Jaguar Friendly™; which will make them more attractive to socially responsible consumers. Goods like coffee, beef, sugar cane, pineapple, and more will be included in the program.
The Jaguar Friendly™ initiative will hopefully benefit jaguar (Panthera onca) conservation by making the cats more economically valuable to farmers and ranchers. But I suspect it may have an additional effect. According to self-perception theory (Bem, 1967), we infer our attitudes based on our behaviors. As agricultural producers implement Jaguar Friendly™ practices, they might come to view themselves as the sort of people who care about jaguars. This could lead them to help the cats in additional ways, such as choosing to not persecute them. I am ironically planning a post about this topic next week.