GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) – The Guatemalan government is launching a campaign to protect the jaguar, and will collect funds for scientific research and habitat protection to save this species from extinction.
Last November, Congress declared 2006 the “Year of the Jaguar,” with the goal of raising awareness among Guatemalans about the need to protect this species, the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) said in a statement Tuesday.
According to the institution, the campaign will kick off on Thursday as part of a regional strategy for the preservation of this feline in the Mayan jungles of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
The jaguar, of which only 250 to 300 remain in the wilds of Guatemala, is included on the “red list” of species in danger of extinction, for which reason hunting them and selling their hides, claws or flesh are banned.
According to CONAP, the Mayas considered the jaguar as a symbol of the sun, and as a god associated with plants, water and life.
Principal habitat of the jaguar is in the LacondonMountainNational Park, located in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, which is the biggest nature reserve in Mesoamerica with a total area of 202,865 hectares (NT, Jan. 20).
According to CONAP, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, which share the Mayan Biosphere, should carry out activities to save the jungle and protect the jaguar.