On this day last year (2018), a brand new global event was born: International Jaguar Day (not to be confused with the luxury car brand).
Whilst these big cats are undoubtedly majestic creatures, you may be wondering why a day dedicated to this specific species is necessary?
The motivation behind marking the day is explained on the campaign website: ‘The decision to celebrate International Jaguar Day reflects a growing recognition of the importance of the jaguar as an icon for sustainable development in the Americas, and the health of our planet’.
As this insightful info graphic illustrates, jaguar habitat needs to be taken care of, as it can regulate global climate and support ecosystem resilience. The Amazon forest is a prime example of this.
Conserving jaguar habitat also ensures water for agriculture, food, hydropower, mineral resources, and medicinal products and supplies.
Last year, at the United Nations headquarters, a forum took place to acknowledge the threats facing the jaguar, such as poaching, habitat loss and people hunting its prey. The aim was to come up with solutions which will help overcome these challenges.
During the meeting, where a range of representatives from different countries were present, International Jaguar Day was put forward. Now it is in action.
A detailed statement was also issued, which describes the conclusive agreement that there is an urgent need to protect the jaguar. Plus, a commitment was outlined regarding the goals going forward.
For instance, by promoting research and sharing data, people can better understand the crucial role of the jaguar, and find out how they can help take care of the species.
Ultimately, the representatives pledged a number of conservation efforts to be highlighted on International Jaguar Day, and honoured throughout the entire year and beyond.
But it will take bold steps from powerful forces to make a positive change. And the jaguar is already extinct in two former range countries: El Salvador and Uruguay. There is no time to lose.
The campaign website proposes unified action in order to achieve progress:
‘Protecting the jaguar requires governments, NGOs and local communities to work in partnership to foster successful landscape level coordination, improve protected area management, develop innovative finance mechanisms for conservation and dedicate resources to mitigate the species’ greatest threats’.
So, these big cats play a bigger part in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) than you may have initially thought.
Will you be spreading the word about International Jaguar Day, further educating yourself about this special species, or finding out what different organisations are doing?
Did you know that jaguars can see six times better than humans at night? Today, we ought to set our own sights on treasuring this near-threatened species.
Image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com.