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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

50% of the Jaguars remaining in the world call Brazil home........Therefore, the so-called "Jaguar highway" that the advocacy group Panthera is fostering throughout South and Central America revolves around Brazil maintaining it's "Jag" #'s at significantly high levels.........."Onca Pintada" as Jaguars are referred to in Brazil, nurtures it's young kittens for two full years before ousting it into the wild to fend for itself..............Therefore, it is critical that our largest "cat" have enough open space to live out its life immune to the whims of hunters trappers and loggers...............If the the baby Jaguars do not get two full years of parental tutelage, they tend to perish............So much good science exists on how to perpetuate this top trophic carnivore and yet so little of this seems to be factored into local states management plans

Mission to save jaguar exposes big cats' plight in Brazil

FAZENDA PRETO VELHO, Brazil: It was late at night at the Preto Velho ranch when the unsuspecting jaguar
 approached the trap, took the bait -- and was downed by a tranquiliser dart.

This was no common hunting scene, but an experiment aimed at saving the Americas' biggest cat, whose
 numbers are threatened in Brazil due to soybean crops and livestock encroaching on their natural habitat, 
especially in the savannah that covers much of central Brazil.

The South American powerhouse, home to around half of all American jaguars, is also home to some who 
practise the old profession of "oncero", hunter of the "onca pintada", as these animals are called locally.

Preto Velho, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Brazil's capital, is owned by Cristina Gianni, founder of the "No
 Extinction" (Nex) conservation group.

For the past 12 years, her land has acted as a sanctuary for the king of the South American jungle -- 
these solitary, nocturnal creatures who can speed across land and water, travelling up to 50 kilometres in a day.

Within hours of being hit with the tranquiliser, and after being fitted with a GPS collar, the 95-kilogram
 (210-pound) black cat, named Xango, was back awake with a roar that set the ground rumbling, and sent
 back to his natural habitat.

"Monitoring this animal can be very important to the ecology of the species, since it is becoming extremely
 scarce in our savannah," said Luiz Alfredo Lopez, environmental analyst for the government's Institute of the
 Environment (IBAMA), which helped oversee the operation.

Fear of hunters meant the capture and collaring of Xango, under supervision by experts from IBAMA, was
 kept under tight wraps.

AFP was allowed on the scene, but held to an embargo on reporting it, to give Xango time to recover and 
move away, and thus avoid becoming prey to a hunter or a landowner eager to preserve his cattle.

But thanks to the GPS that shows Xango's location, scientists are able to keep watch, learning that he prefers 
to range in a nearby forest, and allowing them time to warn nearby farmers if he is coming close.

A safe place for jaguars

The Nex conservation group said Xango's appearance in the savannah near the capital, which has become
 increasingly urbanised and where few jaguars roam, was unexpected.

"Finding this wild jaguar in an excellent state of health, just 80 kilometres from Brasilia, has been a great surprise,
" said Leandro Silveira, president of the Jaguar Conservation Fund, located some 800 kilometres from the Preto 
Velho ranch, and which provided the GPS collar.

Gianni and her group hope, by tracking Xango closely, it will be able to keep him safe while at the same time
 allowing him to roam freely -- a modified version of what the sanctuary aims to do regularly.

The group's reserve is home to more than 20 cats, including 13 jaguars, a number of whom could not survive in 
the wild.

Several of them, like one animal called Xico, were raised by families until they grew too big for domestication.

Xico slept in a bed and played with dolls in the house "until he began to grow, and his animal instinct awoke,
 and they had to get rid of him", said Rogerio Silva de Jesus, manager and caretaker of the estate.

The jaguar -- like lions, tigers, and leopards -- is scientifically classified as a panther, and as with the other large cats, typically requires large areas of unspoiled nature. The species also benefits from a long maturation period, under the care of its 

"The mother spends two years teaching the young to hunt and not die. When that is lost, the animal does not 
survive in the wild," said Gianni.

She admits that "in the vast majority of cases, the reintroduction of large felids (cats) to nature has failed, even
 in Africa".

But Gianni's group is planning to buck the odds. It has three jaguars it hopes to set free, including one whose
 reinsertion has just been approved by Brazilian authorities.

Fera, a jaguar captured as a juvenile in northern Brazil nearly two years ago, has been raised in a special enclosure,
 where he was trained to hunt and maintain his aversion to humans.

Perhaps even more importantly, Fera, which means "fierce", seems to have kept his wild spirit despite his upbringing.

"When he came to us as a kid, Fera showed a ferocity as if he had never left the jungle," she said.

"We discovered that his instincts had remained intact, and I promised I would do whatever is possible to return him
 to nature."

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