Thursday, 2 September 2004

Is the Jaguar endangered or not?

Although the IUCN lists the Jaguar as NT (=near threatened), throughout its range it appears to be endangered, and it is difficult to understand how this classification was arrived at. Almost every country, province or other administrative unit in its range that has produced a Red Data Book or a Red List, includes the Jaguar as Endangered, and in a few cases it is listed as extinct. And earlier editions of the IUCN Red lists included it as threatened. Since there is little or no evidence that the species is getting any commoner (except in a few places such as Belize), it is even more difficult to understand IUCN's listing. There is little doubt among most naturalists within its range that it is seriously threatened. The same problem occurred with the African Lion, which was not listed as threatened for many years, despite disappearing from most of its range. Now when only an estimated 10,000 are left, in highly fragmented, often very small populations, is its possible extinction being considered.

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