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Fundación ProAves has successfully organized the first ever Jaguar festival in the Municipality of Mapiripán, located in Colombia’s Amazon Region. Planned with the support of municipal officials, the festival was created to increase support for local environmental protection, specifically the establishment of the proposed El Jaguar Reserve.
Situated along the border of Colombia’s llano grasslands and the Amazon rainforest, the proposed El Jaguar Reserve contains a rich mixture of forest and wetland features.
Identified as a conservation priority due to its extraordinary levels of wildlife density and threatened species, the proposed reserve is home to an impressive array of wildlife. Its lakes, rivers and marshes provide habitat for Amazon River Dolphins and Giant River Otters, while its forests are home to Giant Anteaters, Capybaras, South American Tapirs, Brown Woolly Monkeys, and Jaguars.
|Celebrating Jaguars in Mapiripán © ProAves|
| Environmental education class © ProAves
|Young Jaguars © ProAves|
The reserve’s Jaguars, now isolated due to habitat loss, have become a rallying point for ProAves protection efforts and helped inspire the recent festival.
The festival, which took place in the town of Mapiripán, included a variety of participatory activities attended by many of the town’s school children. These events included songs, plays, traditional dances, as well as a parade. In addition, ProAves offered environmental workshops to educate local citizens about surroundings ecosystems and the threats they face.
Habitat destruction and hunting activities have combined to create a situation that poses growing challenges for wildlife in the Mapiripán Municipality.
Over 11,000 acres of forest surrounding the proposed 4,164-acre El Jaguar Reserve have already been converted into oil palm plantations. Areas not directly threatened by expanding palm plantations remain vulnerable to growing agricultural and ranching demands.
Widespread hunting has also hurt wildlife populations – especially Jaguars. More than 15,000 Jaguar pelts were taken the 1960s, causing a severe decline in Jaguar populations. These threats have made the creation and expansion of protected areas a priority in Central Colombia.
To tackle this issue, Rainforest Trust is working with ProAves to buy several properties along the Guaviare River that will be used to establish the El Jaguar Reserve.
Once purchased, the newly establish nature reserve will fall under the watchful eyes of ProAves’ park guards who will monitor the site by means of regular boat and foot patrols.
“ProAves is setting a new standard of community involvement by working constructively with the Municipality of Mapiripán. The creative ways in which they engage the community are really opening people’s eyes to the benefits of rainforest protection,” said Christine Hodgdon, International Conservation Manager for Rainforest Trust. “ This is key for successful conservation both now and in the future.”
Visit Rainforest Trust’s El Jaguar project page to protect acres or learn more about the El Jaguar Reserve.