Abstract: International conservation planning at the end of the twentieth century is dominated by coarse‐filter, supra‐organismal approaches to conservation that may be insufficient to conserve certain species such as the jaguar ( Panthera onca). If we are to retain broadly distributed species into the next century, we need to plan explicitly for their survival across their entire geographic range and through political boundaries while recognizing the variety of ecological roles the species plays in different habitats. In March 1999 the Wildlife Conservation Society sponsored a priority‐setting and planning exercise for the jaguar across its range, from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. Field scientists from 18 countries reached consensus on four types of information: (1) the spatial extent of their jaguar knowledge, (2) the known, currently occupied range of jaguars, (3) areas with substantial jaguar populations, adequate habitat, and a stable and diverse prey base, and (4) point localities where jaguars have been observed during the last 10 years. During the exercise, these experts also conducted a range‐wide assessment of the long‐term survival prospects of the jaguar and developed an algorithm for prioritizing jaguar conservation units occurring in major habitat types. From this work, we learned that the known, occupied range of the jaguar has contracted to approximately 46% of estimates of its 1900 range. Jaguar status and distribution is unknown in another 12% of the jaguar's former range, including large areas in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. But over 70% of the area where jaguars are thought to still occur was rated as having a high probability of supporting their long‐term survival. Fifty‐one jaguar conservation units representing 30 different jaguar geographic regions were prioritized as the basis for a comprehensive jaguar conservation program.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2002
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