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Environment education for Nex neighboring community.
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Conservation Refuge: rationale and objectives

The issue of wild cats conservation is not an easy one. First, because to preserve the species – securing their live and health – it should be officially acknowledged as a natural patrimony of the country. Second, because this would entail the preservation of their natural habitats. And third, that would have too large an implication on all levels of economy.

The necessary measures have been prescribed countless times. With modern surveillance technologies, it would not be too difficult for government authorities to map the areas with higher big cats population density, establishing effective wildlife protection areas and maintaining linking corridors wherever possible, to allow for foraging. And these areas could then be turned into an attraction for ecological tourism.

Logging, farming and cattle breeding projects should be monitored, so that deforestation and woods burning would not happen.

Laws enforced with derisive fines are far from being a deterrent. When a killing or trafficking is discovered, it is too late to repair the damage. In the case of wild cats, specifically, impunity thrives. Professional hunters, the major law violators, belong in a very selective group that can buy silence - and thus they are rarely found out.

On the other hand, why is a conservation refuge necessary? Because the number of problem animals held in captivity is very high. Too many wild felines are kept in extremely inadequate conditions in Brazil. It would be very difficult to shelter them all, and a very rigorous screening would be necessary. The conservation refuge would take in emergency cases – and in fact, the five animals currently sheltered at NEX fall into this category.

But our main focus is on animals withheld from traffickers. These large cats are troublesome, and authorities are not equipped to capture, relocate and reinsert them in other areas. They represent a threat to livestock. And the only alternative is a zoo. In the case of pumas, most zoos already suffer from overpopulation and the lack the adequate structure to shelter any more.

So, this is what happens in the real world: whenever there is an emergency call from a rancher about jaguars attacking their cattle, all the answer they get is a visit from technicians to assess the case. A report is written and that is that. Bureaucratic procedures hamper the quality of service. Many ranchers have told us how little they believe in solutions and assistance.

We do not intend to point fingers at anyone. We want to help. We want to help solve this problem, partnering with government authorities. We are aware of the difficulties of that task. We understand that a solution is hard to get by, and no matter what strategy is used, pumas and jaguars will still get the worst of it. To date, everything that has been done in terms of wild cats conservation has not prevented the killings. The feline population has been steadily decreasing. And there are no two ways about it: either the essential is done or felines will continue to get killed.

Ultimately, the main difficulty of capture lies not in bureaucracy or in passive attitude, but rather in having a destination for the animal. To solve this problem, NEX intends to offer a place with adequate facilities to put animals in quarantine. And then, when a proven predator must be captured, maybe other ranchers would rather think of making a simple phone call than going out, killing the jaguar and end up being fined.

And our goal is none other than prevent killings. Save the life of animals that would otherwise be doomed to die prematurely. Notwithstanding the obstacles and difficulties, we are structuring our Conservation Refuge. We have set aside an area to put large felines in quarantine, where they can be safely sheltered and managed. Incredible as it may seem, that is a pioneer initiative, as there are no other refuges of this kind in Brazil.

We will fight to send these animals back to wild life, or at least to a protected habitat. If it proves altogether impossible of doing it in partnership with government authorities, then we shall seek the partnership of sister NGOs.

Nothing is farther from us than to think we have a readymade formula. However, once the quarantine is less of a problem, there will certainly be more enthusiasm to find alternative solutions. Saving animals’ lives and fighting for less academic and more objective conservation policies are ample justification for building a Conservation Refuge specializing in big cats.

Cristina Gianni – NEX President, with Samson (Sansão).

“Safe in the Zoo”

(Excerpt from an article by Cláudio Fragata Lopes, published in Galileu Magazine)

“Good evidence [to the zoos’ good work], are the management plans that promote mating of endangered species from zoos all over the country. Species like guará wolf, oncilla, blue macaw, capybara, among others, are no longer on the hunters’ firearm sight, they have become a target for these projects instead.”

"’Management plans should be more and more encouraged’, says Cecília Amaral, head of the Paulista ecosystems representation at the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). Who knows, maybe in the future animals bred in captivity may return to wild life. But before that happens, it is necessary to educate future generations on conservation issues. It would be senseless to preserve the fauna but forget the wild lands– soon these animals would have nowhere to go. That is why [this work of] environmental education for children promoted by the zoo is so important.”

Desenvolvido por: Web Sites Factory