Conservation of Jaguarundi

Conservation of Jaguarundi

Project Animal(s) : Jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi)
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : South America
Project Type : Conservation
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Project is timebound? : No

The jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) is phylogenetically part of the puma lineage, thus being closer to the puma (Puma concolor) and the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) than to the other Neotropical cats. The jaguarundi is regarded as a monotypic species. Like the cheetah, the jaguarundi cannot retract the claws of its hind paws completely, and its behaviour resembles the puma more than other medium-sized cats in the same habitat.

Despite its apparent tolerance to habitat alterations, the main threats of the jaguarundi are habitat loss and fragmentation which also can lead to prey reduction. Generally the jaguarundi has never been exploited for commercial trade but was surely caught in traps set for the commercial use of other species. It may be occasionally hunted around settled areas and is commonly killed due to poultry depredation. In some areas they are killed for medicinal or ornamental purposes, or taken as pets.Another potential threat is the lack of information about this species’ life history and ecology.

The jaguarundi is included in the Appendix II of CITES and the jaguarundi populations of Central and North America have been listed in Appendix I since 1987. The jaguarundi is protected over much of its range and hunting is prohibited in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, U.S. and Venezuela. In Peru hunting is regulated and the jaguarundi is not legally protected in Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana and Nicaragua.

As little is known about the jaguarondi, its status should be periodically reviewed and there is an urgent need for further research on its ecology, demographics and natural history in order to identify threats and their impacts as well as to ensure that adequate conservation measures can be implemented.

Project Agency : Cat Specialist Group

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