Last Saturday, July 6th, was the National Day of the Wild Cat, a date which was formalized by Executive Decree Nº 37827-MINAE of 2013.
According to the System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), this date adds to the efforts made by the Environmental Administration towards the conservation and management of wildlife, since it contributes to safeguarding vital ecological processes, providing important economic, educational, cultural, scientific, and recreational both current and future generations.
In Costa Rica, there are 6 species of these mammals, being the jaguar the largest of all. But, alarmingly, they are in danger of extinction. These 6 species are jaguar, puma, ocelot, tigrillo, caucel, and yaguarundí.
In recent years, wild cats of Costa Rica and the neighboring regions have been seriously affected by discriminated hunting, mainly by cattlemen, since these animals have eaten their cattle and, therefore, those men attempt to kill them.
They have also been affected by urban development and the invasion of their habitat. In the region, there have been some deaths and abuses of felines that crossroads and are run over by drivers of vehicles; there, the need to take precautions.
The SINAC calls for reflection and for raising awareness in the population and obtaining greater support for the preservation of these species and their habitat. A Unit of Attention to Conflicts with Felines (UACFEL) was created in order to advise communities, owners of farms, cooperatives of small farmers, and small mountain hotels in techniques to avoid incidents with livestock.
Likewise, agricultural insurance was created that will be the first product that will help to reduce the loss of biodiversity, giving alternatives to the farmers to face the depredation of livestock by these wild cats.
There are instruments so that the INS, through agricultural insurance, can compensate farmers in case of losses due to wild animals in agricultural crops. For small farmers, both institutions analyze the possibility of creating new insurance or making changes in existing insurance, taking into account variables of biodiversity conservation.
At last, do not hesitate to contact us in case of conflict with these wild cats; please avoid actions that threaten their population already in danger of extinction.