September 29, 2016

EPA conducting investigative visits following Jaguar attacks

It is possible that the encroachment of the Jaguars into the Region Two communities is linked to the long dry season currently being experienced, the Natural Resources Ministry said

It is possible that the encroachment of the Jaguars into the Region Two communities is linked to the long dry season currently being experienced, the Natural Resources Ministry said

In light of the recent reports of Jaguar attacks on livestock in Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting “investigative visits” to the three affected communities of Lima Sands, Tapakuma and Whyaka-Mainstay.

The Agency explained that these visits comprised detailed discussions with the affected communities to deal with the Jaguar attacks with urgency.

Additionally, the EPA has started to conduct “awareness sessions” in the communities encouraging them to keep livestock in enclosures which it is believed would deter the Jaguars and prevent the farm animals from becoming “easy prey”.

It was noted that traps were built by both community members and the EPA team in “strategic locations” the wild animals were known to frequent.

According to a release issued by the Natural Resources Ministry, two Jaguars, one male and one female, were caught in traps set on February 19 and March 11. The release added that the EPA on receipt of this information from residents of the Mainstay Community, “quickly coordinated with the Wildlife Management Authority, Protected Areas Commission, Transport and Harbour, Anna Regina Police Station and Guyana Livestock Development Authority for the safe transport and relocation of the Jaguars”.

It was also related that officers of the EPA and the Wildlife Management Authority accompanied by a veterinarian travelled to the area on both occasions to secure and transport the Jaguars to Georgetown where they were relocated to the Guyana Zoological Park and were allowed to “acclimatise for three to four days before patrons were able to view them”.

The EPA cautioned that trapping and relocating the national animal was “the last recourse”, as Jaguars are legally protected in Guyana under the Wildlife Management and Conservation Regulations.

The Jaguar is said to be the largest cat of the Americas weighing up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds). The Ministry’s release noted that these animals “need a lot of food and prey on forest dwellers such as peccaries (bush hogs); deer; tapir (bush cow); turtles; armadillos” to maintain their body mass. It was also noted that Jaguars which are supposedly “shy by nature” have been coming into the villages in search of food.

“It is possible that the encroachment of the Jaguar (s) into the Region Two communities is linked to the long dry season currently being experienced. With the forest being very dry at present, regular prey may have moved closer to water sources. As such, the Jaguar in moving in search of other sources of food or even in following the prey, stumbled upon “easy” food in the communities,” the Ministry said.

“To keep Jaguars away from human dwelling space, it would require keeping domesticated animals in well-constructed pens or corrals at night. Motion-triggered light or loud sounds near the livestock have also proven to work,” the statement added.

Over the past several weeks, Guyana Times has published a series of reports on the presence of Jaguars in several communities on the Essequibo Coast attacking livestock and small animals.

Any incidents with Jaguars can be reported to EPA’s Wildlife Unit on telephone numbers: 225-5467 and 225-6048 ext: 226.

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