In the first such initiative in Colombia, and one of the first in South America, just over 93,500 hectares (231,000 acres) have been prioritized for jaguar conservation through a zoning plan. Following a rise in conflicts between humans and the big cats in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in 2013, a management plan was put in place and priority areas for jaguar conservation were recognized by local authorities. Coffee growers, whose farms overlap onto jaguar habitat, were also engaged in conservation through a certification scheme. Under the Jaguar Friendly label, for which they can sell their coffee at a premium, the farmers allocate a hectare of protected forest as jaguar corridor for every hectare of coffee they cultivate. Fires had a devastating effect in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Colombia’s Caribbean region, between 2012 and 2013. In 2013 alone, the region lost an estimated that 22,000 hectares (54,400 acres) of forest, mainly due to fires, according to CORPAMAG, the environmental authority for the department of Magdalena. At almost the same time, CORPAMAG began to notice an increase in reports of livestock such as cattle, donkeys, mules and lambs being killed. According to small farmers in the area, […]

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