Many people have heard about the devastating fires in the Brazilian Amazon. Unfortunately, neighboring Bolivia has also suffered from heightened fire activity this summer, as has the Brazilian Pantanal: the world’s largest wetland. All told, scientists at Panthera – an international wild cat conservation organization – estimate that 500 jaguars have lost their homes or their lives.
As Panthera states, the jaguars who survived the recent blazes are still in dire straits. Much of their less mobile prey is likely to have perished, which means that hunger might drive more jaguars to hunt livestock. This, in turn, will expose the cats to retaliatory killings.
With less cover available, jaguars will also be easier to see – and shoot.
Worst of all, the burnt forest might never be given a chance to recover. Dr. Esteban Payán, Panthera’s Regional Director for Northern South America and Panama, explains that farming, ranching, and logging operations will likely move into the charred lands before the forest can regrow.
The Amazonian fires aren’t only bad for jaguars, they’re also a problem for countless other species and people.
Furthermore – given the Amazon’s immense significance in regard to climate regulation, biodiversity (the Amazon contains 25% of the Earth’s total biodiversity), and other domains – the impacts of this summer’s fires will be felt around the world.
For more information, please see Panthera’s original press release.