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How is the jaguar Panthera onca perceived by local communities along the Paraguai River in the Brazilian Pantanal?

  • Grasiela Porfirio (a1), Pedro Sarmento (a1), Stephanie Leal (a2) and Carlos Fonseca (a1)
Abstract

Rapid habitat conversion, hunting as a retaliatory response to livestock depredation and, potentially, lack of knowledge regarding the species’ ecological role are the main factors influencing conservation of the Near Threatened jaguar Panthera onca in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil. Investigation of people's perceptions and attitudes towards a species is an important element of conservation initiatives but most information concerning human perceptions of jaguars in the Pantanal comes from conflict with ranchers, who typically perceive this species negatively as a result of economic losses. No information is available concerning perceptions of the jaguar by other inhabitants, particularly along riversides where the main activity is professional and recreational fishing. We used semi-structured questionnaires to interview 50 riverside inhabitants on how they perceive the jaguar and to investigate the influence of education and age on such perceptions compared to local people from rural properties in the Pantanal and other Brazilian biomes. ‘Dangerous’ was the predominant perception. We found that the negative perceptions of jaguars related to people's safety and not to economic losses from livestock depredation. We highlight environmental education programmes, ecotourism and better strategies to reduce livestock losses as useful tools for minimizing the perception that jaguars are dangerous in all situations.

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Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail grasiela.porfirio@ua.pt
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* Also at: Instituto Homem Pantaneiro, Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
† Also at: Universidade Lúrio, Campus de Marrere, Nampula, Mozambique
Footnotes
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