El Copé Jaguar Project

Jaguar on camera

Why jaguars?

  • Jaguars (Panthera onca) are an iconic and apex predator ranging throughout Mexico and Central and South America and have strong ties to the culture of native peoples.

  • Jaguars serve as an umbrella species for broad-scale conservation of biodiversity due to their extensive home ranges, preference for large areas of intact native habitat, and sensitivity to human-related threats.

  • Jaguars are threatened across their range from: 1) Habitat loss and fragmentation, 2) Conflicts with ranchers due to loss of wild prey and greater dependency on livestock, 3) Poaching, and 4) Declining cultural connection with local peoples.

El Cope landscape

Why El Copé?

El Copé National Park is a protected montane cloud forest in northcentral Panama. The landscape of El Copé is an important focal area for jaguar conservation because it is a global hot spot of tropical biodiversity providing a critical connection within the Mesoamerican Biological and Jaguar corridors linking Central and South America. This landscape also supports critical habitat for common large prey of jaguars, including the endangered Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari).

Map - El Cope in center of Panama

By initially focusing our project in this protected area, we can understand jaguar use of this largely untouched habitat.  Over time we want to increase the scope of this project to understand how human-related factors, such as agriculture and roads, surrounding El Copé may limit the population viability of jaguars and overall biodiversity in this region.

What is this project accomplishing?

  • Using remote motion-detecting cameras to determine where and when jaguars and their large prey use El Copé

  • Understanding what landscape factors, such as roads, influence jaguar and large prey use of El Copé

  • Increasing the knowledge the Panama Ministry of Environment has for conserving jaguar habitat and biodiversity

  • Enhancing knowledge of where jaguars occur across Panama

  • Employing and educating local Panamanian citizens to assist with research

  • Building partnerships among the Panama Ministry of Environment and international non-profit wildlife conservation organizations

Partners - Contacts

Institute for Wildlife Studies (www.iws.org) – Jared Duquette (Research Ecologist)

Panama Wildlife Conservation (http://panamawildlife.org/) – Luis Ureña (President)

Yaguará-Panama (https://www.facebook.com/yaguarapty/timeline) – Ricardo Moreno (Research Biologist)




Species remotely photographed

Jaguar (Panthera onca)
Puma (Puma concolor)
Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)
Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi)
Margay (Leopardus wiedii)
Tayra (Eira barbara)
Grison (Galictis vittata)
Long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)
Hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus leuconotus)
Crab-eating racoon (Procyon cancrivorus)
White-nosed coati (Nasua narica)
Common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis)
Gray four-eyed opossom (Philander opossum)
Brown four-eyed opossum (Metachirus nudicaudatus)
Nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana)
Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata)
Paca (Cuniculus paca)
Armoured rat (Hoplomys gymnurus)
Collared peccary (Pecari tajacu)
Tapir (Tapirus sp.)
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus chiriquensis)
Black guan (Chamaepetes unicolor)