POACHING AND TRAFFICKING OF JAGUARS IN LATIN AMERICA
Jaguars are being poached and trafficked from multiple countries in Latin America destined for the Chinese market, to be sold as tiger’s parts. The most valued and trafficked parts of Jaguars are their fangs. These are considered to be valid substitutes to tiger’s canines due to their very large size. As a matter of fact, in Chinese jaguars are called “American tigers”. For millennia, Chinese medicine has ascribed magical powers and medical properties to tiger bones and teeth.
Jaguars are listed in Appendix I of CITES, as they are endangered species; the increased poaching thereof as a result of this illicit trade is becoming a severe threat for their survival. In response to this growing threat ELI has started a three-year intelligence-gathering project, in collaboration with IUCN Netherlands and IFAW, designed to map the illegal supply chain, identify the main players, and help local and international law enforcement agencies to address this important conservation and crime issue. The initial target countries are Bolivia, Suriname and Guyana, but we are expanding the work to two more countries.
To achieve this, we are working on the following interventions:
- Collecting and analyzing information
- Improving protection of jaguar habitats
- Professionalizing law enforcement systems
- Mobilizing the public and politicians
Our intelligence-gathering operation on jaguar trafficking is the most important undercover operation ever conducted on this issue. Operation Jaguar is an active operation, therefore most of the information collected so far cannot be shared with the public yet.