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Background Info – Nicaraguan Canal’s Potential Impact On Jaguars And Other Rare Wildlife

For immediate release

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Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) changed its name to Re:wild in 2021

Jayro Bardales (Photo by: Jayro Bardales)

September 8, 2015

Additional info

  • In late 2014, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Natural Resources (MARENA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Panthera.

    • 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 throughout the Mesoamerican isthmus.
    • 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 the developing nation of Nicaragua.

  • Today, Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative is the largest and most effective carnivore conservation program in existence.

    • JCI now 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 and GWC are working together in Nicaragua to conserve the country’s last wild places. This includes a joint initiative with the GTRK and Global Forest Watch to train and activate indigenous forest rangers tasked with safeguarding the Indio- Maíz Biosphere Reserve.

  • The jaguar is hypothesized to retain genetic connectivity throughout 78 percent of its range, and experts believe there are no genetic discontinuities in the species across the 18 countries it roams.
  • The International Jaguar Corridor is comprised of those 18 countries.
  • The Rama Indians call their language the jaguar language and say their ancestors kept jaguars as pets and were able to speak to the species. The last Rama community with a significant number of native speakers is Bangkukuk, the community where GWC and Panthera obtained the camera trap photo of the jaguar and the Rama community that will be displaced by the canal.
  • The Rama-Kriol Territorial Government (GTRK) is the maximum authority in the Caribbean region of the proposed canal route and has a communal title to the land surrounding the canal route, including the majority of the Indio-Maíz Reserve. More information about the GTRK and their efforts to restore their traditional territory, visit:
  • Jaguars have a large ecological role as apex predators, and white-lipped peccaries and tapirs for seed dispersal/seed predation.
  • Jaguars are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List; white-lipped peccaries as Vulnerable, and Baird’s tapirs as Endangered.

See a map of Nicaragua and other resources.



Susie Weller




Candace M. Hansen-Hendrikx*

Amphibian Survival Alliance/Global Wildlife Conservation



*The Amphibian Survival Alliance is a partner of Global Wildlife Conservation and Candace M. Hansen-Hendrikx is currently filling in for GWC’s Media Manager.

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