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Environment On National Jaguar Day, webinar discusses App to monitor the largest symbol of the Amazon

Karol Rocha – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – This Monday, 29th, is celebrated the National Day of the Jaguar, the largest feline in the Americas and one of the biggest symbols of the Amazon. The predator animal, carnivore, of robust size, known for its agility and strength is at the top of the food chain and, for its own survival, it needs large preserved forest areas and the help of specialists as in the case of the creation of an application to monitor and prevent the disappearance of these populations.

Besides highlighting the importance of the queen of the forests for the ecosystem, the date reaffirms the need for protection of the species not only by organizations, specialists and researchers in biology, but by the society as a whole.

“On this day we can, besides remembering the species, disclose accurate information about its condition in each biome of our country, as an example, the jaguar is extinct in the Pampas of Rio Grande do Sul and is under a lot of pressure in the Caatinga”, said Rogério Fonseca, PhD in Ecology, Wildlife Conservation and Management and professor at the Department of Forest Sciences of the School of Agricultural Sciences.

He also coordinates the Laboratory of Fauna and Forest Interactions at the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam). In Brazil, the jaguar is found in the Amazon forest and the Atlantic Forest and in open environments such as the Pantanal and the Cerrado. According to Rogério Fonseca, the illegal trafficking of the jaguar exists and is organized, they use air and sea routes and China is the main destination. “For they use parts of these animals as ornaments and even as an item of traditional Chinese medicine”.

Jaguars draw attention for their beauty, cunning and are the guarantee of ecological balance in the food chain. “Today most lay people already know that where there is a jaguar, there is a differentiated environmental quality. We roughly say that the jaguar is a bioindicator species and, when we monitor it, it is with the intention of conserving the species. It also becomes an umbrella species, because it protects all the others around it”, further emphasized the expert.

The jaguar fur is highly coveted abroad. (Divulgation)

Application to monitor disappearance

This week, the Press Observatory of Jaguar Sightings and Attacks at Ufam re-edited and included new functions in the app created by a group of researchers to help prevent the disappearance of jaguars in Brazil. The embryo of the smartphone app is from 2015, but it was in 2016 that it left the programming to enter the virtual stores. Today, it has updates and it is possible to register occurrences of sightings or attacks of wild carnivores and signal the competent authorities of cases of conflict.

“It is possible for the individual to make records of occurrences with felines and even other animals. For example, a footprint that could be a jaguar’s, the user registers it and sends it to our specialists who verify if it is or is not a jaguar footprint. If it is, this record is stored and distributed to the MMA/ICMBIO/CENAP, which are the command and control agencies of federal environmental management that hold information about jaguars”, he said, commenting that the OIAA JAGuar/UFAM receives records from all over Brazil and other countries in the Americas. The application ‘OIAA ONÇA’ is compatible with Android smartphones and is available for download on Google Play.

A jaguar recorded in its natural habitat. (Divulgation)

Seminar discusses jaguar extinction

Among the schedule for the National Jaguar Day is the webinar ‘Unveiling the jaguar: the risk of extinction and compensation for environmental services. Where does the biologist fit into this?’. The lecture will be given by biologist Rogério Fonseca, with mediation by biologist Marcelo Garcia and will be broadcasted on the YouTube page of the Federal Council of Biology. The webinar will be on Monday, 29, at 7pm (Manaus time).