Ecuador is one of the top countries with the highest biodiversity indexes in the planet. Among the mammal species inhabiting tropical forests along Ecuador’s coast, wild cats such as ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), jaguarundis (Puma yagouaroundi), cougars (Puma concolor) and jaguars (Panthera onca) are a key group of carnivores deserving critical consideration because these species are facing several anthropogenic threats and conservation challenges. Of particularly attention is the critically endangered subspecies of jaguar (Panthera onca centralis) from the Ecuadorian coast. Despite this species is the largest cat in Ecuador’s coastal tropical forests and demanding large territories to survive, little is known about its population and conservation status. In most forests along Ecuador’s coast, habitat loss due to deforestation and fragmentation, poaching of prey and illegal hunting threaten the survival of jaguars and questions linger about its ecology and population health. Based on recent field observations using transects and deployment of camera traps, as well as surveys conducted with the local community in and around Cerro Blanco Protected Forest and surrounding areas of the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche Mountain Range, we advance the state of the ecological knowledge of coastal jaguar populations with conservation implications of its threatened habitat and long-term survival in Ecuador.
Part of the book: Big Cats