Wild cat conservation organization Panthera has announced a $1 million gift from board member Duncan McFarland and his wife, Ellen, to help protect jaguar habitat in southwestern Brazil.
The gift will support a partnership between Panthera and Rainforest Trust to buy the Jofre Velho Ranch, a critical link in a jaguar corridor stretching across Central and South America and a future demonstration site for jaguar-friendly ranching in the Brazilian Pantanal, the largest continental wetland on the planet. Launched in 2006 and based on the Sao Bento jaguar conservation ranch, Panthera's Pantanal Jaguar Project has created one of the world's largest and intact protected jaguar corridors as well as the largest sustainable conservation ranching model in the region. The ten-thousand-hectare Jofre Velho Ranch would become the focus of the project's second phase, in which scientists will try to mitigate human-jaguar conflict, establish new conservation ranches, develop guidelines for the establishment of jaguar ecotourism operations, and continue their long-term monitoring of jaguars in the Pantanal.
Panthera and Rainforest Trust are seeking an additional $2.15 million in funding to fully realize their vision. "Duncan is a sophisticated global investor so his commitment and Ellen's is a tremendous gesture of confidence that jaguars and all of the truly wild animals with which we share the Earth can persist into the future," said Panthera CEO Alan Rabinowitz. "I'm hopeful and I invite others who share that vision to join us in protecting Jofre Velho."