photo courtesy of NJP/Naturalia
Last night my wife and I had the great pleasure of joining other local jaguar enthusiasts at a small get-together sponsored by The Northern Jaguar Project (NJP). Thank you Andrew and Diane for hosting this fabulous event! We had the privilege of meeting NJP’s Diana Hadley and Dr. Peter Warshall and Naturalia’s Juan Carlos Bravo. Juan Carlos and Peter gave a short PowerPoint presentation on NJP and Naturalia’s cooperation in Sonora and their efforts to expand the Northern Jaguar Reserve. Diana, Peter and Juan Carlos all shared tales from the Reserve and discussed their intention to eventually allow very limited and controlled ecotourism. Another topic of discussion was the relationship with the local ranchers. Especially intriguing was NJP/Naturalia’s program of paying the ranchers for particular wildlife photos taken on their property with cameras supplied by the project. There’s a sliding scale depending on the species, with the jaguar garnering the highest “reward”. The ranchers must agree to not kill predators on their property and it has become a point of pride to participate and win a monetary prize.
Education is also a vital part of NJP/Naturalia’s approach. Local school children are taught the importance of predators, especially the jaguar, and conservation in general. According to Juan Carlos, the program has been extremely successful.
To me, the most exciting news was of Naturalia’s recent collaboration with the Yaqui tribe in Sonora. Juan Carlos has built relationships with the Yaquis and there are plans afoot to biologically explore (in a minimally disruptive way), the diverse and largely unknown Sierra Bacatete. I will post more information as it becomes available to me.
NJP/Naturalia are in the midst of a time-sensitive fund raiser that seeks to complete the purchase of an additional 35,000 acres of precious Sonoran jaguar habitat. The deadline for raising over 3/4 of a million dollars is January 2008. I certainly urge anyone who loves jaguars, wildlife and wilderness to donate any amount.