José Daniel Ramírez Fernández

José Daniel Ramírez Fernández

Jose Ramirez Fernandez: Champion for Costa Rica’s Small Wild Cats

Jose Ramirez Fernandez is a passionate conservationist working tirelessly to protect small wild cat species in the dense forests and rugged mountains of Costa Rica. As a native Costa Rican who is an expert in rodent biology, Jose brings a unique perspective and skill set to his mission of saving animals like the elusive oncilla, powerful ocelot, and the newly discovered clouded tiger cat.

Innovative Solutions to Help Cats and Communities Coexist

The biggest threat facing these rare wild cats is conflict with rural communities, especially when the cats prey on farmers’ chickens held in vulnerable coops. Rather than placing blame, Jose takes a pragmatic and compassionate approach.

Through his community-based conservation project, Jose provides materials like tin, wood and wire mesh to help villagers build more secure chicken coops that keep the birds safe at night when cats usually hunt. This simple yet effective solution dramatically reduces chicken losses to wild predators, thereby removing the incentive for farmers to trap or shoot the cats. It’s a win-win strategy that fosters peaceful coexistence between cats and communities.

“We prevent not just the killing of small wild cats, but also of other wildlife that get involved in chicken coop attacks,” Jose explains. “By giving the people good quality materials, it’s often enough. You don’t need to spend a lot of money because the owners will build the hen houses themselves.”

Tireless Dedication in the Face of Challenges

Operating on a shoestring budget, Jose and his small team conduct research, educate the public, and work hands-on with community members to protect Costa Rica’s small wild cats. Camera trap surveys and radio collaring help them study the cats’ behavior, distribution, and habitat needs. This data is crucial for designing effective conservation strategies.

When funding is limited, Jose must make tough decisions about priorities. “Sometimes we have to sacrifice building chicken coops because we won’t have money for everything – we have to monitor what we’ve already built to show that it’s working. We need evidence, or it won’t be convincing.”

Despite the challenges, Jose remains dedicated to his cause. His passion for these animals and his ability to engage local communities have turned farmers into collaborators in conservation. Thanks to Jose’s heroic efforts, Costa Rica’s small wild cats have a brighter future in the country’s spectacular wild landscapes. He is an inspiration to all who care about protecting the world’s most vulnerable felines.

When you support Big Cat Rescue, you support wildlife conservation heroes like José Daniel Ramírez Fernández.


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