The Jaguar Trust

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The Jaguar Trust

Jamie and Justin were in Guyana for ten days setting new digital camera traps with video to track Jaguars, Ocelots and Pumas.  Our partner, Foster Parrots, tells us that with the recent import ban of all birds into Europe, Guyana now finds herself in a position to change the long practiced wildlife export industry there. Many trappers are finding that there are no markets for their “products” and it is time to strike while the iron is hot! Many of these trappers now find themselves unemployed and the government may start to look at the potential revenues of eco-tourism to fill the gap. If we can make a concerted effort with our conservation project we hope to serve as an example and to garner the support of Guyana to create the world’s premier rainforest destination. Our plans include the promotion of our project here in the US and a marketing strategy to heighten the visibility of this important move in Guyana. Three trips are planned this year, the first in March is full but the second in September is only half full at this time. We will be adding an additional trip in December so please stay tuned for some exciting updates.

Funding is critical as you can imagine. We need to offset the very costly price of the 4.1 mega pixel Sony snapshot sniper. We’d like to appeal to you to sponsor a “camera trap package” $571.13, which will include: camera $449.00, lock $24.95, and a 2 GB memory card $69.99 & shipping.

If you are willing and able to do this for us, we will in turn thank you by ensuring that you reap the fruits of your donation. You will receive copies of the photos gathered from that trap for 1 year.  You can view this camera at

How it started:

Marc Johnson met up with Howard and Carole Baskin at the Taking Action For Animals Conference in Washington, DC in 2005 and told them about an exciting new endeavor he was working on in Guyana, South America.  He relayed a story about how a Jaguar had come into the camp one night and sparked the interest of these Big Cat Rescuers. Marc’s goal is to set up 12 of these Eco Tourism camps so that all of this critical and richly diverse region can be preserved.

This isn’t your typical Eco Tourism adventure though.  There are no fancy lodges, no caged animals and no hoards of tourists in jeeps harassing wild animals.  This is as real as it gets.  It is a five hour drive out into the bush and the truck only comes once to bring you and once to take you back to the airport.  The rest of the time you are on foot.  You sleep in a hammock; your choice, inside or out, but inside means under a thatched roof on poles.  You never leave camp alone because of the dangers that lurk in the woods if you don’t have one of the protective Amerindian guides with you.  The guides sleep under your hut and keep vigil throughout the night to make sure that you wake up (all in one piece) the next day.

Big Cat Rescue’s President, Jamie Veronica, thought that this was a dream come true.  Finally her own version of Survivor and this was going to actually save wild cats in the wild;  the way she thinks they ought to be.  She prepared for the trip by learning Spanish and how to navigate with a compass.  She bought clothes that could be washed in a stream and ready to wear in minutes.  She worked out at a frenzy to be sure she could withstand the rigors of walking for miles each day.

Her mission was to check out the viability of this program and see if Big Cat Rescue could do something to help save the native Jaguar, Jaguarundi, Margay, Ocelot, Tigrina and others.  She purchased camera traps and practiced with them at the sanctuary revealing a host of native wildlife active at night and a few surprised volunteers.  She had to test different angles and settings to be sure that the film she would bring to South America would capture the animals she was most interested in seeing.

In February 2006 she went with a small group from Foster Parrots for a week to see if she was up to the test.  She hired a local guide named Dexter and taught him how to change the film in her absence.  A local Member of Parliament, Shirley Melville, agreed to pick up the film from this village from time to time and ship back to Jamie in the states.

Jamie is the Editor of The Big Cat Times and in the next issue she will be revealing the first photographs and her own perspective of this exciting new project.  If you don’t get The Big Cat Times, sign up so that you don’t miss this upcoming issue.  In it you will learn more about what Big Cat Rescue is doing to save wild cats in the wild and how you can visit the lodge and help us build a Big Cat Lodge as one of the 12 needed camps.  The government has agreed that 12 successful camps could raise enough money for their local economy that they will declare the area as protected so that no logging or trapping will be allowed.  Another trip is planned for the Fall and the cost is under $3,000.00 per person including all air fares to and from the U.S., transports, meals and lodging.  Every penny of the profit goes into building the camps.

Until then…

The following are excerpts taken from the Foster Parrots web site to give you more back ground on how this program started and who we are working with to insure its success. Please visit and donate to Foster Parrots to let them know you appreciate their vision and hard work in starting this Eco Tourism project in Guyana.

History of The Jaguar Trust

In December of 2002 Foster Parrots’ Executive Director, Marc Johnson and Board Chairman, Brian Cullity, first visited the Amerindian tribes of Guyana. What they found there were a friendly, culturally rich people with a great respect for the natural bounty of their land and an eagerness to share the beauty of this world with travelers. Although parrot protection and conservation were the primary motivations for becoming involved in Guyana, Marc and Brian soon became acutely aware of the need to preserve the ecosystem as well as the cultural heritage of a truly remarkable and inspiring people.

In the spring of 2004 Marc and Brian returned to Guyana and began talks with the Amerindian people about the need for a parrot/wildlife protection initiative and the possibility of addressing this issue through the development of an eco-tourism project. Traveling to the Rupununi district of southern Guyana they met with the elders of several Amerindian tribes. It was during this time that they met Guyana Member of Parliament Shirley Melville. An Arawak Amerindian and a strong advocate for Amerindian rights, M.P. Shirley Melville had also been highly active in conservation and environmental protection issues. It was a perfect meeting of minds and motivations. The resulting relationship between Foster Parrots and Ms. Melville created the platform that would support the similar interests of each party, offering an economic alternative to Amerindian tribes while helping to protect thousands of acres of pristine habitat. Ms. Melville was appointed to the Board of Foster Parrots and assumed responsibility as on-site Director of Foster Parrots’ Project Guyana. Ms. Melville’s tireless efforts on behalf of Project Guyana have won the interest and support of several additional tribes including that of the friendly village of Nappi, located at the base of the Kanuku Mountains. Embracing the project with tremendous enthusiasm, Nappi has dedicated 250 square miles of tribal territory as parrot protected conservation land and was chosen as the site for the first eco-tour lodge complex.


The country of Guyana, famously rich in bio-diversity, is one of the least populated tropical countries in the world with a population of only 850,000 inhabitants. With only three percent of its 80,000 square miles inhabited it is, unfortunately, one of only two countries in South America that still legally exports parrots and other wildlife for the pet trade. In fact, Guyana has been one of the top exporters of wild parrots in the world and remains active in trapping parrots, wild cats, primates, reptiles, sea turtles and various other land and sea animals.

Trapping and exportation of native species has been, for generations, one of Guyana’s only means of generating income for the indigenous people. However, closer examination of the trade in wildlife reveals grim realities of the animal export trade; decimation of native wildlife species and habitat is leading to irreversible elimination of the very source of income. The native people, who are essential in the harvesting of these resources, earn an abysmal fraction of the value of the exported animals. In a country where the average annual income is little more than $1,000.00, the income derived through the capture of wildlife and habitat destruction remains attractive.

The native Amerindian tribes of Guyana, now becoming aware of the need to protect their forests and wildlife, are expressing the desire to take control of the ecological destiny of their country rather than bow down to the exploitation of animal trades, miners and loggers currently at liberty to devastate Guyana’s natural heritage.

Protecting the Treasures of Guyana

Project Guyana enables us to take the first steps towards protecting and preserving Guyana’s native parrots and other wildlife by offering a more financially attractive and culturally desirable alternative. Through the development of this viable eco-tourism project entire Amerindian communities can benefit from the income derived from hosting visitors, who are often sympathetic to their needs. Eco-tourism will create sustainable employment opportunities for the indigenous people of Guyana who can bring their acute knowledge of their natural resources and their many skills and crafts to a new and exciting international market. It will not only lend economic strength to participating communities, but will provide a canopy of protection for the native species whose values as wild animals far exceeds the cost of a destructive and self-serving exotic pet trade.


Foster Parrots’ Project Guyana, now underway, originates in the country’s south central region around the village of Lethem. While an airstrip to the west of the nearby Kanuku Mountains remotely links six Amerindian villages to the more modern civilization of Georgetown, this area remains untouched by industrialization and the villages remain unspoiled and steeped in their cultural heritage and wild savanna settings. Although trapping for the pet trade has impacted the wildlife of this region to some extent, this is an area where relatively abundant native animals still roam and fly freely promising to provide prospective tourists with remarkable opportunities to view wild animals in Guyana’s vast natural habitat.

Eco-Tour Attractions

Visitors to Guyana will have a choice of tour itineraries ranging from an ambitious 3 and 4-day Kanuku Mountains hike that will bring them to the realm of the Harpy Eagle, to more leisurely tours that will encompass sightings of Red Bellied, Scarlet, Red and Green, Blue and Yellow Macaws, Giant Anteaters and a wide variety of primates. Horseback and canoe excursions will let tour groups experience the wilds of Guyana at an intimate level. Visitors can also travel to Kaeiteur Falls to witness one of the world’s tallest single-drop waterfalls of 741 feet.

Lodges and Camps

Lodges are traditional thatched roof dwellings constructed of hand-made brick and other local materials. Each lodge will offer four bedrooms with two beds per room. Each room will have access to a private shower and toilet. Communal dining areas at each camp will offer visitors the opportunity to congregate at their leisure and experience traditional dishes that will be tailored to the needs of each tour group.

Construction on the first of two planned lodge complexes, located in Nappi Village, will be completed by September 2005, The Quarrie Bird Zone Group, led by Macushi tour guide Paul Farias, has completed construction on a small lodge and camp area located on Eagle Mountain, so named for the presence of Harpy Eagles, the world’s largest eagle species.


Native Handicrafts and Cultural Arts

Preservation of Amerindian culture through the perpetuation of traditional arts and crafts is one of the most valued objectives of the Project Guyana initiative. The project will be influential in reconnecting young Amerindian people with nearly forgotten, but historically important, cultural arts and ceremonial activities. Time is running out as the village elders, the living repositories of the past, are now passing away without transferring these skills. The people with these skills must be given the opportunity to pass this unique knowledge on before it is lost forever.

For more information on Project Guyana and joining an eco-tour to this beautiful earthly treasure, contact Marc Johnson or Karen Lee, directors. You may also donate to this project by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on any page and specifying “Project Guyana.”


Guyan Shield Region Created in 2006

Vast tracts of rainforest in Brazil are to get a new protected status.

The segments of land in the northern Para state together cover 16.4 million hectares (63,320 sq miles), an area of land that is bigger than England.

Thousands of wildlife species inhabit the pristine forest, including jaguars, anteaters and colourful macaws.

Campaigners say the decision made by Para Governor Simao Jatene is one of the most important conservation initiatives of recent years.

It will protect the land from the unsustainable logging and agriculture practices that have blighted many parts of the Amazon.

“If any tropical rainforest on Earth remains intact a century from now, it will be this portion of northern Amazonia, due in large part to the governor’s visionary achievement,” said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International.

“The region has more undisturbed rainforest than anywhere else, and the new protected areas being created by Para state represent an historic step toward ensuring that they continue to conserve the region’s rich biodiversity and maintain its essential ecosystem services.”

Conservation corridor

Nine new areas will gain protection, and they will link with existing reserves to form a huge conservation corridor in the northern Amazon.

This corridor, known as the Guyana Shield region, stretches from neighbouring Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana into Brazil.

It is regarded a global conservation priority, containing more than 25% of Earth’s humid tropical forests. Almost 90% of the Guyana Shield forest is untouched, and the area also contains the most significant freshwater reserves in the American tropics: almost 20% of the world’s water runs through it.

Endangered species in the new protected areas include the giant otter and northern bearded saki monkey; and “flagship” species such as the jaguar, giant anteater and black spider monkey.

Since 1970, more than 600,000 sq kilometres (230,000 sq miles) of Amazon rainforest – an area larger than France – is said to have been destroyed.

Conservation International said continued deforestation at this rate would place the entire region in peril by 2050, and place increasing pressure on the planet from the additional greenhouse gasses being pumped into the atmosphere, which would usually stored by the trees.

Adalberto Verissimo, senior researcher at the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (Imazon), which is working in collaboration with the Para State Government and Conservation International (CI), said: “This is the greatest effort in history toward the creation of protected areas in tropical forests.”

Published: 2006/12/04 12:17:02 GMT


S.A.F.E. In The Wild

( Saving Animals From Extinction In the Wild )

In Maine they tell of an old man walking along the beach with his grandson, who picked up each starfish they passed and threw it back into the sea.  “If I left them here,” the boy said, “they would dry up and die.  I’m saving their lives.”

“But,” protested the old man, “the beach goes on for miles, and there are millions of starfish.  What you are doing won’t make any difference.”

The boy looked at the starfish in his hand, gently threw it into the ocean, and answered:  “It makes a difference to this one.”

Animals need your voice to be heard!  One of the most important things you can do to help the animals is to speak up for them.  Write your State Representatives and your Senators and let them know that you care about how animals are treated and you care about saving the environment.  Let them know that you don’t think big cats should be kept as pets.  This doesn’t cost you a dime and it makes all the difference in the world.

Losing Paradise is a book about the growing threat to our animals, our environment and ourselves.  It was written by Paul G. Irwin, the President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.  You can buy it in our secure on line gift shop for $20.00 and I believe it is one of the best books on these subjects.  Here are a few excerpts, in parenthesis:

“The enemy of progress is the view that everything must be changed before some real gains can be secured.  But what is essential for this new world to emerge is the sense that each of us can change our individual worlds, however slightly, to live more peaceably with our non human neighbors.”

“Ultimately, society changes gradually, one person at a time, one action at a time.  We will end up saving only what we, as individuals and families, really care about.  At this millennial crossroads, the fate of the animals, and of the earth, is truly in our hands.”

Margaret Mead is famous for saying: “Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world;  indeed, it is the only thing that has ever done so.”

Albert Schweitzer said: “without a reverence for all life, we will never have world peace.”

“The centuries-old traditions of philosophy, religion, and science promote a reverence for life for all creatures… At a time when the earth faces a potentially fatal ecological crisis, these principals provide us with a blue print for preserving our planet and the life forms dependant on it.  If properly understood and applied, they constitute a framework for building a truly humane society.  In such a society, we shall see that ordinary acts of kindness, consideration, respect and reverence  for animals can have extraordinary results. “

“The ultimate irony of recognizing and accepting the intrinsic value of animals and nature and building a truly humane society is this:  It is in our own selfish interest to do so.”

“The Amazon Indians understand this all too well.  The rain forest in which they live are being destroyed, depriving them of their home, their culture, their food supply, and their ability to continue to live as they have for millennia.  But the rain forest is everyone else’s habitat, too.  It provides all of us with vital resources essential to our survival- oxygen, new drugs and medicines, and yet-to-be-discovered products we will never know we lost.”

“This reality gives us the innate capacity to empathize with all of earth’s life forms, to touch the deepest chords of our being, and feel a part of the vast, subtle, mysterious connections and interdependence that we have with all the earth’s life forms, animate and inanimate alike.  Empathy, the capacity to see through the eyes of other creatures, changes everything.  Empathy has a certain magical quality;  it is the precondition to caring.  Seeing through the eyes of another creature or being makes everything flow automatically compassion, justice, respect, reverence and love.”

“We do not have to adopt new religious, philosophical, and scientific principles.  We merely have to return to the roots of our old ones.”

“In building our new society, we will need a broad coalition from all segments of society.  For support and guidance, we must look to religions and ethics, philosophy and science.  But we must also look to government and business, poets and musicians, dreamers and prophets, shamans and visionaries.  We must seek to inspire and cooperate with people from all walks of life who can comprehend the necessity for a central humane principal that conveys the spirit of reverence, restraint and renewal.”

“We can save wildlife only by protecting the ecosystems that provide their habitat.  Those same ecosystems enhance human well-being, purifying our water, producing oxygen, harboring medicinal plants, etc.” For details on desalinating water go to:

“Preventing cruelty to animals directly reduces the abuse of human.  There is daunting statistical correlation between little boys who torture animals and violent adult criminals.”  Read more about it at Teach Our Children.

“We must understand that the decisions we make in the next few decades will determine the fate  not only of the world’s animals, but of humans as well.”

“The conservation of our natural resources is thus the overriding issue of our times, but it must be a compassionate conservation, one that is inextricably linked to the humane treatment of all animals-including, of course, people… The development of such a society should be a priority for anyone who cares about the fate of the planet, and the well-being of animals, nature, and future generations of humans.”

Most of these quotes came from Losing Paradise, by Paul G. Irwin.  This book is available in our secure online gift shop for $20.00.




Big Cat Rescue  and Pat Quillen, in cooperation with range countries around the globe,  have launched an exciting in situ conservation effort called


Saving Animals From Extinction

In The Wild

“When the last individuals of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.” William Beebe, American Naturalist 1872-1962

Cats in the wild need your help! Big Cat Rescue has launched a global campaign to save all of the 37 existing species of cats in their native lands. We are working with Pat Quillen, of S.O.S. Care, to establish effective programs around the world. She has more than 30 years experience with exotic cats and has made connections all around the world with the people necessary to insure that these cats will be SAFE In The Wild. Every dollar collected will go directly to these in situ projects to benefit the cats and to secure their place in nature. We are beginning with the cats of Central and South America and will be adding species from around the world as the contacts are established. The cats in in this first phase are the Jaguar, Puma, Tigrina, Margay, Jaguarundi, Geoffroy Cat, Ocelot and Pampas Cat. In December 1995 (IBAMA) Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources published a permanent committee to manage the small cats, the head of which is our friend Cristina Adania, who is now the Director of the Brazilian Center for Neotropical Felids.

We also have a good relationship with Dr. Jim Sanderson, PhD, Field Biologist for Center for Applied Biodiversity Science Conservation International, under the umbrella of the IUCN. He lists the top 4 cats likely to go extinct in the near future as the Andean Mountain Cat, the Marbled Cat, the Pampas Cat and the Flat Headed Cat. He is being sponsored by CI in a two year project to camera trap endangered felids in all of the Biodiversity Hotspots. He is very excited about doing a field study on the Pampas Cat and will be our primary Biologist in the field for this project.

We are running this campaign on our web site, which receives more than 1,900 hits per day throughout the site and in our next newsletter which targets more than 20,000 Americans and 400 people in various countries who have already acknowledged a strong interest in exotic cats. Most have visited our facility and are supporters of ours to varying degrees. Despite these kinds of numbers, we have found it very difficult to raise support for small cat species. We are appealing to you as people who are concerned about exotic animals. There are only 15 Pampas Cats in Brazilian Zoos and only 3 in the U.S. according it ISIS. There has never been a field study done on the Pampas Cat. Join us and make history.

We are proposing this fundraising campaign to be able to accomplish the following:

1. Purchase the camera traps, telemetry collars, microchips and other equipment necessary to study the Central and South American cats in the wild.

2. To pay the local people that will be trained to monitor the equipment.

3. Processing of samples and development of film.

4. Building of suitable breeding cages for the Central and South American cats in zoos.

5. Supplement the diets and medical needs of the captive cats in the program.

What we hope to accomplish is to:

1. Make people aware of the beautiful Central and South American cats and cause them to care about their survival.

                                                                                   Photo of Guigna by M.P.L. fogden

2. Learn about the needs of the Central and South American felines for survival in the wild so that the people of these regions can effectively incorporate those needs into their reforestation plans.

3. Establish captive breeding programs in situ and ex situ so that we can learn more about these felids from close contact and so that they will be exhibited more widely around the world, thus bringing more attention to their preservation in the wild.

4. Convince AZA and the Felid TAG that these cats are important and that we must act now to ensure their survival and that of their eco system. At this time both groups have decided to let the Pampas Cat, Margay, Tigrina, Jaguarundi, and Geoffroy Cat die out of U.S. zoos. The zoos have been advised to not breed these small cats so that they can concentrate their efforts and cage spaces on the larger species.

5.   Ultimately to see all wild cats living “Safe In The Wild.”

The manner is which we will attempt to gather support for this mission is as follows:

We are offering varying levels of “membership” in the project. Big Cat Rescue will pay for the cost of the production, marketing and mailing of these packages so that all of the income raised from their sale can go directly to the project in Central and South America.

2. We will offer donors the choice of giving anywhere from $50.00 to $5,000.00 and will make their package nicer accordingly. The standard packet will include a four page, full colour newsletter about the project, and an 8 x 10 photo of the donors selected cat with the project name on it. The idea is to give them something to hang on the wall that will cause others to ask about the project, thus encouraging others to join in. We will then add other perks such as listing them in the newsletters for their donations, recognition on a sign here, etc. so that the more they give, the more they get out of the program.

If everyone on the mail list just sent in $1.00 we could raise $20,000.00 for SAFE In The Wild.

We discussed the ramifications of spending so much time and energy on a project that does not directly benefit our cats. We concluded that people who support this project will still donate to our other programs that do directly benefit the cats in our care. We believe that when our supporters see that we are making a difference in the wild, they will support us all the more. Many of you reading this article have your own donor groups. Imagine how much more interested you can get them with your projects if you can help them to make a difference in the wild. We have the connections and dedication to see it through. We need your expanded network of contacts to get involved. It is a simple, Win/Win strategy. Contact me at the address below to help us Save Animals From Extinction In The Wild.

If you would like to donate direct to this project on line, you can do so below and send us a note that you want the money to go to the SAFE in the Wild Project. You can be assured that your donations are being spent on the projects you select as we provide an accounting of all of our income and expenses on line on the page called Finances.

If you think this project is of no concern to you, then reconsider. Man is accelerating the extinction process 100 to 1000 times the natural rate by plundering the planet’s natural resources. The same habitats these cats need to survive are the ones that provide the air we breathe. We all have to work together and the time is now.

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