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Endangered jaguars in Bolivia captured on camera

Daniel Alarcon/Wildlife Conservation Society

Miguel Llanos writes:

It’s not often that jaguars in the wild are captured on camera, and less so a mom with her cubs. But this photo shows exactly that and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which released it, says it’s a sign that efforts to protect the endangered species in Bolivia are working.

“The adult jaguar, nicknamed Kaaiyana, has been seen with her cubs in the area for over a month; though WCS conservationists have confirmed she has been a resident in the vicinity for at least six years,” the group said in a statement.

The family was seen along a gas pipeline corridor that crosses Bolivia’s Kaa Iya National Park. An estimated 1,000 jaguars live in the Bolivia-Paraguay border region.

“Kaaiyana’s tolerance of observers is a testimony to the absence of hunters in this area, and her success as a mother means there is plenty of food for her and her cubs to eat,” said WCS jaguar expert John Polisar.

WCS said it helps fund projects to mitigate the pipeline’s environmental impacts. Those projects include training park guards against illegal hunting and squatters.

“The photographic histories of jaguars in the area by WCS and the reproductive success of this female are testimony that conservation efforts have been effective,” said Julie Kunen, WCS director of Latin America and Caribbean Programs.

Jaguars originally ranged from the U.S. Southwest to southern Argentina but deforestation has reduced their habitat, and their stronghold now is in forests of Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. Experts are not able to estimate the overall population because of jaguars’ reclusiveness.

Related: Wildlife Conservation Society website.