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- Photo via Sinac -

Jaguar rescued from captivity in San Josť

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Published on Thursday, May 18, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


Park rangers of the National System of Conservation Areas (Sinac) rescued a jaguar (Panthera onca) that was in captivity on a private property located in Rancho Redondo District, San Josť Province.

According to Sinac, which is the public entity in charge of the administration of national parks and wildlife reserves in Costa Rica, someone reported several swarms of bees were found on the property, and allegedly, for no reason the insects were endangering the people who were on site.

Firefighters and bee control experts controlled the situation. However, they found the large feline and other wildlife animals, such as a river turtle (Trachemys scripta) in cages on the property.

Firefighters coordinated seizing the animals in collaboration with police officers and park rangers. They were taken to the wild animal rescue center of the Nature Restoration Foundation where they were examined by veterinarians to determine their health conditions.

According to experts, the jaguar is a young male between one to two years old, he was thin, dehydrated and in poor health conditions.

Sinac agents issued a complaint before the Public Ministry against the owners of the property as suspected of illegal possession of wild animals.

The jaguar is on the red list of threatened species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The wildcat is the largest feline species in the Americas and is known for its powerful build and beautiful spotted coat. It is primarily found in rainforests, swamps, and grasslands throughout Central and South America, with a range that extends from Mexico to Argentina. In Central America, jaguars can be found, besides Costa Rica, in countries such as Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Central American jaguars play a vital role in their ecosystems as apex predators. They help regulate prey populations and maintain the balance of the food chain. Additionally, jaguars are considered a keystone species, meaning their presence has a significant impact on the structure and function of their habitats.

Unfortunately, Central American jaguars face numerous threats to their survival. Habitat loss due to deforestation and human encroachment is a major concern. Illegal hunting and poaching for their valuable fur, bones, and other body parts also pose significant risks. These factors, along with conflicts with humans, such as livestock predation, have led to a decline in jaguar populations throughout their range, including the Central American subspecies.

Sinac has developed conservation efforts to protect jaguars and their habitats. Initiatives include the establishment of protected areas, anti-poaching measures, community-based conservation programs, and raising awareness about the importance of jaguars in the ecosystem. Collaborative efforts between governments, NGOs, local communities, and researchers are crucial for the long-term survival of this iconic species.

Recently, park rangers rescued some sloths in captivity in Guanacaste Province.

Taking wild animals and keeping them in captivity is a crime in Costa Rica. According to Wildlife Conservation Law No.7317, people found guilty of keeping wild species in captivity could pay a fine between $600 to $26,000 or even receive a prison sentence of one to three years.

Anonymous complaints about wild animals hunting or in captivity can be made by calling line 1192.


What have you heard from people who keep wild animals in captivity in your community? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments news@amcostarica.com