The NGO World Animal Protection carried out an investigation that lasted 10 months and that determined the existence of illegal hunting in the mining and logging sites of Suriname, properties mainly of China.
World Animal Protection launched an undercover investigation into the incipient suspicion of illegal hunting of jaguars in Suriname. And, unfortunately, both the facts and the harsh images obtained show that the suspicions were true. The majestic big cats known for their elaborate spots are being poached and processed for export to China.
Illegal and cruel hunting
During the investigation, extremely hostile and heartless behavior on the part of the man was detected. Both hunters and rangers consulted, confirmed that jaguars are often shot after being tracked or primed. It is common for them to be caught when feeding them with other animals, such as a dog or a goat on a leash. Hunting occurs opportunistically when a jaguar accidentally crosses the path of a hunter, or is simply done deliberately with the aim of making money for the Chinese market. Some jaguars are even shot by local people due to the fear they can generate.
And that's not all. Felines also die in cases of conflict between humans and wildlife, as jaguars are believed to prey on either livestock or dogs.
Also, there is evidence that puppies are extracted from nature and sold to wealthy businessmen as a status symbol. But, since they do not know how to take care of them, they feed them with cow's milk or sugar water, a totally harmful diet, and end up placing them in cages, taking away their right to live with dignity.
Why so much cruelty?
The jaguar is hunted mainly because it is believed that after boiling its body for a week, a paste that can be mixed with other traditional medicine ingredients to treat arthritis, increase vitality and flush toxins from the body. However, there is no proof that this is real. To achieve exportation and evade controls, this kind of pasta is placed in containers and shipped to China in smugglers' checked luggage; their odors are masked by a strong-smelling substance to avoid detection by sniffer dogs.
And as if that wasn't enough, because jaguar teeth are coveted, the researchers found that smooth, gold-mounted teeth were available for sale at very high prices, both in shops and at Paramaribo stalls.
The report also revealed that Chinese and Philippine communities in Suriname sometimes make meat, soup, and even wine with jaguar remains.
Nicholas Bruschi, Research Advisor at World Animall Protection, argues that "This research has uncovered a shocking clandestine trade that exploits an iconic animal from the South American rainforests in a barbaric way for unproven traditional Asian medicine. Jaguars already face the challenges of habitat destruction and conflicts between animals and humans. Now they are cruelly and needlessly murdered, left to die in agony. This is very sad news for these incredible felines whose numbers are already in decline. And although jaguar cubs may look very cute, they are still wild animals and belong to the wild, not to the illegal pet trade. "
An alarming reality
The jaguar or jaguar (Panthera onca) is listed as "near threatened" on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Within the neighboring countries of Suriname (as well as within French Guiana and Guyana), jaguars are classified as en danger and in need of protection. Consequently, it is illegal to target and hunt the species for export, recreation, the domestic pet trade, or bushmeat. Only in the case of a few exceptions can jaguars be captured and sent for education, display and research to zoos, museums and wildlife reserves.
It is calculated that only 173,000 jaguars remain at large and that the population has decreased by 20-25% for 21 years. In Argentina, for example, less than 250 copies remain.
Unfortunately, they are increasingly vulnerable as a result of human behavior. The main threats it faces are the loss of its habitat, as a result of deforestation, poaching for its fur (to a lesser extent) and for its prey, the persecution of ranchers in retaliation for attacks on livestock and run over on the roads.
Acting for wildlife
World Animal Protection works tirelessly to prevent cruelty to animals around the world, and jaguar poaching for traditional Asian medicine has been under observation; Today, this reality is changing. To address the problem, the protectionist NGO will cooperate with rangers and specialized NGOs from Suriname to provide tangible solutions and to share intelligence that prevents poaching.
We are raising awareness on the issue, in the hope that the Surinamese government will put more effort within its borders and thus stop not only poaching, but also the smuggling of the product out of the country.
Let's put animals back where they belong; nature.