Protecting endangered jaguars in Nicaragua

This video is called THE JAGUAR: YEAR OF THE CAT.

From Wildlife Extra:

New protection for endangered jaguars in Nicaragua

The jaguar, American continent’s largest wild cat, has been awarded new protection with the recent signing of a conservation agreement between the government of Nicaragua and Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organisation.

The Nicaraguan Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Panthera’s CEO, Dr Alan Rabinowitz.

Through this agreement, both parties have committed to undertake conservation initiatives to identify jaguar distribution and travel corridors in Nicaragua, allowing for the connection and protection of the species and its habitats.

Panthera and MARENA additionally pledged to implement initiatives focused on the mitigation of human-jaguar conflict and support of agricultural and other land developments that are both ecologically sustainable and economically profitable for Nicaragua.

Dr Rabinowitz says: “The establishment of this agreement with the government of Nicaragua is a huge step for the long-term survival of the jaguar. Nicaragua represents a critical home for the jaguar, and a stepping-stone in the Mesoamerican Jaguar Corridor.

“Panthera will work together with the Nicaraguan government to strengthen efforts that conserve the nation’s wild habitats and provide opportunities for the safe passage of jaguars and other wildlife through the Nicaraguan landscape.

“With this signing, Nicaragua becomes the seventh jaguar range country to commit to the conservation of this iconic species, helping to forge a future for the jaguar, its habitats, and the other species that inhabit the forests with this magnificent cat.”

According to Panthera, Nicaragua serves as a vital home and conduit connecting jaguar populations to the north in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, to all jaguar populations south of the country.

The Atlantic region of the country, inhabited by many indigenous communities, is the only existing passageway for jaguars to move south through Nicaragua to Costa Rica, and beyond.

Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative, launched in 2008, spans nearly six million square kilometers and seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations within human landscapes from Mexico to Argentina to ensure the species’ genetic diversity and survival.

Panthera’s jaguar conservation efforts in Nicaragua so far have focused on verifying jaguar presence in the country, from Bosawas Biosphere Reserve in the north, to Indio Maiz Biosphere Reserve in the south.

Results from these surveys will allow for a clearer understanding of the status of jaguar populations and connectivity in Nicaragua, as well as on the overall connectivity of jaguars in Central America.

The Vice-Minister Ing. Roberto Araquistáin Cisneros adds: “I applaud the hard and efficient field and scientific work that Panthera has done in the country over the past six years. Many of its studies and mapping are being used by this ministry.”

In recent years, Nicaragua has effectively protected extensive swaths of its forests that are home to the jaguar and other wildlife.

As the country continues to develop, additional considerations will have to be made to allow for jaguar passage through agricultural landscapes and infrastructure development.

Good turtle news from Nicaragua

This video is about hawksbill turtles.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

Major comeback for sea turtles: Highest reported nest counts in Nicaragua

December 11, 2014

Summary: Scientists noticed a dramatic increase in nesting of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles including the highest nest counts since a conservation project began there in 2000.

A WCS team in Nicaragua reported today a dramatic increase in nesting of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles including the highest nest counts since a conservation project began there in 2000.

The total nest count for hawksbill turtles in the project area in Nicaragua’s Pearl Cays region has increased some 200 percent from 154 in 2000 to 468 in 2014.

Of the areas monitored, poaching rates have decreased by more than 80 percent. Poaching in 2014 was one of the lowest in project history at approximately five percent. Nest success has averaged approximately 75 percent this season, with over 35,000 hatchlings going to sea as of the end of November.

Before the project began, a preliminary study of the Pearl Cays showed that almost 100 percent of nests laid were poached and most eggs were removed for human consumption.

WCS established the Hawksbill Conservation Project in 2000 to reduce poaching and create awareness. In 2010, it helped contribute to the establishment of the Pearl Cays Wildlife Refuge, which safeguards nesting, foraging, breeding and migratory areas for sea turtles, while protecting other marine species and important habitat types.

“These recent nest counts show that by working with local communities, we can save sea turtles from extinction,” said Caleb McClennen, WCS Executive Director of Marine Conservation. “Communities partnering with WCS are directly involved with safeguarding their own natural resources. Without their help and commitment, this project would fail, and Nicaragua’s hawksbill turtles would be doomed.”

In addition to monitoring nesting success WCS scientists satellite-tagged three nesting females this year. The turtles are currently being tracked as they move northward near the Honduran border. Since 1999, WCS has captured and released nearly 3,000 sea turtles in the Pearl Cays. Staff record the date, size, and location for each sea turtle encounter as part of the tag and release program. This information can help improve the understanding of the species for informed management and development of conservation efforts in the region.

Conservation in Nicaragua

This video from Nicaragua is called Capuchin Monkeys from Ometepe.

From Fauna & Flora International:

Eternity Trail built in memory of Nicaraguan conservationist

Posted on: 27.04.12 (Last edited) 27th April 2012

New trail in Ometepe Island Biosphere Reserve will keep visitors safe and protect fragile forest ecosystems.

The legacy of an internationally recognised conservationist in Nicaragua was honoured on Friday, with the unveiling of a new nature interpretation trail on Maderas Volcano, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

The new trail, called Sendero la Eternidad (The Eternity Trail) is dedicated to Teresa Zúñiga, an inspirational and devoted Nicaraguan conservationist who ran Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI’s) country programme in Nicaragua from April 2006 until her untimely death in September 2008.

Teresa was an outstanding ambassador for environmental protection and was instrumental in initiating and driving forward the designation of Ometepe as an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Her loss came as a devastating shock to family, friends and colleagues, and to Nicaragua’s wider conservation community. …

Currently, the route covers 3 km of trails, including bridges, rest areas, route markers and interpretation signs. At the entrance to the trail is a small garden and rock sculpture depicting a salamander endemic to Ometepe Island. …

Words and thoughts were shared, both about the project itself and Teresa. Her efforts transcended FFI projects, and her tireless work helped to safeguard many of her country’s endangered species, such as the jaguars of Indio Maíz Biological Reserve and turtles nesting on Nicaragua’s shores.

A specialist in biodiversity and protected areas, she made a valuable contribution to the development of Nicaragua’s protected area system and the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

See also here.

New cichlid fish species discovered in Nicaragua

From Practical Fishkeeping:

Three new Amphilophus cichlids named

American scientists have described three new species belonging to the Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellum) species complex from Lake Apoyo in southwestern Nicaragua.

Publishing the descriptions in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Jay Stauffer, Jeffrey McCrary and Kristin Black have named the three new species Amphilophus astorquii, A. chancho, and A. flaveolus.

Convict cichlids benefit from close proximity to another species of cichlid fish: here.

Also from Practical Fishkeeping:

Comet the goldfish could arguably be called the world’s most intelligent fish after its owner, Dr. Dean Pomerleau, taught him to play football, basketball, limbo, play fetch, slalom around a series of poles and push a rugby ball over a set of posts.