Friends and colleagues,
This month, the spotlight was on the conservation of our iconic Latin American species and their habitats, with the King of the Americas roaring louder than ever.
In our Wildlife Practice, WWF launched the Jaguar King campaign to ask the governments of Latin America to comply with the Plan Jaguar 2030, which reports minimal progress in the conservation of this feline since its beginning in 2018. Even so, the campaign has already exceeded expectations, having surpassed its initial goal of 50,000 signatures on its digital petition in support of the conservation of this species, as it obtained more than 110 thousand signees by the end of February.
On the other hand, the first national census of the Andean condor took place in Colombia. And in Peru, the women of the San José community became valuable allies in the protection of sea turtles. Meanwhile, in southern Chile, the project "Real Time Acoustic Alert System" was developed to alert vessels about the transit of blue, sei and humpback whales in the Gulf of Corcovado. In Paraguay, photographs of jaguars were found in the camera traps of the monitoring carried out within the framework of the Paraguay Más Jaguareté Project. Likewise, Fundación Vida Silvestre launched a filter on Instagram so that users learn about the species that live with the jaguar in Misiones, Argentina.
In Climate and Energy work, WWF-Mesoamerica launched a 10-episodes podcast series through the Smart Coasts climate adaptation project, which was broadcasted in Spanish, English and Mayan for different audiences across Central America.
In the Forests practice, WWF-Mexico called on authorities, academia, NGOs and civil society groups in Mexico, the United States and Canada, to protect the migratory phenomenon of the Monarch butterfly, after revealing that the presence of this species in Mexican forests has reduced by 26% and that the degradation of the forests where the butterfly hibernates has increased.
Lastly, in regards to Freshwater, the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world, which extends through Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay, is facing great threats. For its part, Ecuador launched a project to measure the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Enjoy this first edition of the year,
Vice president & Regional Director
The Jaguar King: WWF calls on Latin American governments to comply with Plan Jaguar 2030
WWF-LAC launched the #JaguarKing campaign, led by WWF-Mexico, to urge 14 Latin American governments to fulfill their commitment to the Plan Jaguar 2030, a roadmap that was launched in 2018 and reports minimal progress in strengthening the measures of protection to the feline and its habitat and in benefiting the communities settled near the landscapes where this species lives.
The campaign has already gathered more than 110 thousand signatures in support of the conservation of the most representative feline in the Americas through its petition:
A census for the Andean condor in Colombia
The Andean condor, the only animal that is part of the national symbols of Colombia, is facing the risk of extinction. WWF-Colombia recently supported the country’s first national census of this species. The census was conducted between February 13 and February 15 by more than 25 volunteers, including people from indigenous and agricultural communities, who received virtual training to conduct the survey across different regions of the country. The results, expected to be available in March, will serve as a starting point for making the conservation efforts for this species more effective. The census was conducted in partnership with the Neotropical Foundation, Natural National Parks, WCS, the George Dahl Hydrobiological Foundation, Regional Environmental Authorities, local agencies, and over 40 other institutions.
Women from the San Jose community are key partners in protecting sea turtles
In Peru we can find 5 of the 7 species of sea turtles in the world. All of them are in danger due to the threats they face throughout their life cycle and along the migratory routes they travel through. In fact, Peru is one of the countries with the highest rate of bycatch in the Eastern Pacific. In order to solve this problem, we have trained 24 women and 2 men from the community of San Jose, Lambayeque, to assemble LED lights, that reduce bycatch by up to 60 %. For this reason, 400 disassembled LED lights have been shipped, and educational materials such as handbooks and tutorial videos have been developed. These virtual workshops were held between July and August, lasting 4 days. A gender workshop was also implemented to promote the self-identification of women within fishing, which is an important industry for the country.
Underwater noise: A latent threat to whales in the Gulf of Corcovado
The project "Real Time Acoustic Alert System" is being developed in Southern Chile, which will alert vessels about the transit of blue, sei and humpback whales in the Gulf of Corcovado. This is an initiative led by WWF-Chile, Dr. Susannah Buchan and the COPAS SUR-AUSTRAL Oceanographic Research Center of the University of Concepción. The acoustic monitoring station allows to distinguish the vocalizations of the whales, to analyze them and to transmit their location to the boats so that they can reduce their speed and avoid collisions, damages to the species' hearing organs or disorientation.
A pleasant surprise
During the first days of February, we had a nice surprise: photos of jaguars were found while reviewing the trap cameras of the Paraguay Más Jaguareté Project. The photo that generated the greatest impact was the one that recorded a mother with her calf at one of the monitoring points in the Mbaracayú Reserve. The discovery of the photos encourages us to continue joining efforts for the conservation of our great feline, the jaguareté, in one of the last remnants of the threatened Atlantic Forest in Paraguay.
What animal from Misiones are you?
Fundación Vida Silvestre Launched a filter on Instagram so that the public can learn about species that live with the jaguars in Misiones, in a fun way. The filter scans the face, picks an animal and provides its characteristics. Among them, you can find the following species: jaguar, tapir, tucan, snake, monkey, ferret, peccary, jaguars, weasel, deer, fox and buoyant bird.
Educational material on climate change adaptation
Through the Smart Coasts project: Integrating climate change in marine protected areas and coastal management of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion, a series of 10 educational podcasts on climate change adaptation in coastal areas was developed. The original series of radio audios was broadcasted through different stations in Spanish and the Mayan language in the case of Guatemala, Spanish in Honduras, and English for the Belizean audience.
Monarch monitoring successfully completed with community partners
The Monarch butterfly’s presence in Mexican hibernation forests decreased by 26 % last December, occupying only 2.10 hectares (ha) in comparison to the 2.83 ha reported during the same month in 2019. Meanwhile, the forest in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve’s (MBBR) core area, where the species establishes its primary hibernation colonies, recorded a degradation of 20.26 ha between March 2019 and March 2020, four times more than the numbers during 2018-2019, when 5 ha were degraded. This was revealed by two studies by the WWF-Telmex Telcel Foundation Alliance, in partnership with the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world and is threatened
The expansion of agriculture near rivers, the use of pesticides, the multiplication of infrastructure projects (hydroelectric plants, waterways), as well as deforestation and uncontrolled burning, are the primary threats to the biome. Bolivia, Brasil and Paraguay share the same threats in the Pantanal, many of which are caused by human activities. WWF has worked in the area for over 20 years, introducing tools such as community participation, land planning and climate resilient production practices.
New project measures the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the Amazon
During the International Commitment to Mercury Control Day, WWF-Ecuador announced that this year, together with the University of the Americas, it will start an innovative project to analyze the bioaccumulation of heavy metals such as mercury in fish and aquatic ecosystems of the Amazon. This way, it seeks to show how the presence of these metals affects riverine communities that depend on Amazonian fish, an important source of protein.