Felines Run Out Of Natural Space and Have Devoured 27 Domestic Animals in Costa Rica

    The National System of Conservation Areas registered 38 incidents in 2023

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    Costa Rica’s environmental authorities shared Wednesday a series of statistics on incidents caused by the relationship between wild and domestic animals, including livestock.

    Pumas, jaguars, ocelots and coyotes, among other felines, have increased their prominence.Last year alone, as counted by the National System of Conservation Areas, there were 38 incidents.

    “In 2023, the puma has been involved in 18 depredations and the jaguar in 9 incidents with domestic animals in the provinces of our country,” the publication notes.The two provinces with the highest number of feline incidents were Alajuela and San José.

    The felines were left without a field

    SINAC experts argue that it is possible that these interactions are associated with the arrival of human occupation in areas that used to be covered by nature.”It is likely that these interactions are associated with factors of urban expansion at the country level, which implies deforestation, loss of habitat, less territory to move around, fragmentation of ecosystems, and others,” they say.

    Another factor is the incorrect practices of some farms. “Due to their economic limitations, they do not have good practices in the management of livestock and domestic animals, which facilitates predation by wild felines,” the experts add.

    The cases dealt with during the past year include advice from Sinac-Minae to farmers, who are given advice and technical indications on the type of anti-predatory measures they should implement in their territory in order to reduce depredations by felines and other wild animals.Because routes have been identified, especially those of jaguars, work is being done to reduce the risks in those places.

    What if I see a wild animal?

    Although the appearance of big cats in towns and urban areas still tends to be exceptional, authorities point out that sightings are feasible and should not be cause for alarm.

    “These wild animals may use riverbanks, lots, pastures, coffee plantations, parks or other areas as transit zones and in search of food; or simply as part of their natural displacement within their extensive territories”, they mention.

    In view of this, they emphasize that, by themselves, these animals are not a danger to humans. In fact, they prefer to go unnoticed and, rather, they flee in our presence.

    By way of advice, in case of seeing them, experts recommend:

    • Enjoy the moment; few people can have an experience of observing a wild feline.
    • Keep calm; remember that they are not dangerous for humans.
    • Do not run or turn your back.
    • If the wild cat transits in residential areas, contact 911 or any authority in the area (SINAC or Public Force) and report the sighting.
    • Do not try to approach it to photograph, follow or corner it; do not make sudden movements or throw objects at it. These actions may compromise your safety and that of the wild cat (for example, stressing it by feeling cornered or attacked).
    • In urban areas, these animals are only in transit. In the presence of a wild cat in residential areas, always stay inside your home or vehicle until you are sure that the animal has left the area. In these cases, also keep your pets inside the house and not in the yard.
    • Always maintain a channel of communication with neighbors in your community in order to keep abreast of the situation.
    • Avoid spreading alarmist messages.
    • Properly manage waste within your community in order to avoid visits from wild animals, which in turn may attract the attention of wild cats while they are passing through the area.

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