Two jaguar cubs are sitting in a grassy area, one staring intently into the distance while the other lies on its back, yawning or roaring.

The Jaguar, in Suriname more known as tigri, is the largest cat species of the western hemisphere. In vigor she is close to the African lion and the Asian tigers. Despite her 3rd place of all big cats, the jaguar has the most powerful bite. With a single bite she manages to kill a meters long caiman and drag it out of a river as if it’s a doll. Despite this power, we rarely hear cases of attacks on humans that might be easy prey. It turns out that the jaguar prefers to avoids people were it can.

Some Jaguar facts: Jaguars lives for 15 years in the wild, are sexually mature after 2 years, get 2 to 4 young, have a gestation period of 100 days, are devoted mothers, live solitary, loves water, have a habitat of 40- 80 Km2, are the apex hunter of our forests, have black rosette drawings on a yellow coat, can appear in an almost black variant, love fish, kill their prey with one bite in the skull, hunt caimans, tapirs, deer, capybara’s, agouti’s, snakes, fish and frogs. 

In pre Columbian civilizations such as the Mayans and the Aztecs, the jaguar was adored for its strength and was considered a holy in faith. With the Mayan’s, the jaguar was seen as the medium between the worlds of the spirits and the living. The jaguar also occurs in the many archaeological artifacts such as sculptures and drawings.

Two young Jaguar Cubs with their mother

In the past, the Jaguar occurred in both North and South America, but in the north it is almost exterminated or expelled. Now it occurs throughout the tropical part of the South American continent from Paraguay to the far north of Mexico. The Amazon rainforest seems to be its strongest fortress. Despite the loss of habitat during and after European colonization, and being hunted for the hides, scientist assumed that the jaguar populations were healthy.

The gigantic Amazon rainforest (with parts of countries like Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, French Guiana, Surinam and Guyana) seems infinite, but shake under its fundaments. Large scale deforestation for agriculture, livestock, mining, reservoirs causing lost of thousands of square kilometers of primary forest yearly.

Jaguars are regularly spotted in Suriname and the jaguar population seemed to be doing well, especially in view of the historic nature conservation laws of 1954, which is important for the preservation of our nature and which Suriname could be proud of. Within the nature conservation laws all wild felines of Suriname like the Jaguar, Puma, Jaguarundi, Ocelot and the small Margay enjoy a protected status. It is therefore forbidden to hunt these animals.

Unfortunately, our country has now fallen prey to the large-scale logging and gold mining that leaves its scars everywhere in our forests. The animals are hunted or disturbed in their habitat because of the many “legal” and illegal activities in our forests. 

Since a few years it has even become a trend to shamelessly put photos of killed jaguars on social media. International research shows (September 2018) that Suriname has become a pariah in the field of nature protection. Causes are corruption and failed leadership of our country, the poor economic situation, poor management of our forests, and a luxuriant trade in jaguar body parts or brewing initiated by the illegal trade in China. China has been a major investor for many years in many projects for logging and oil palm plantage, that contribute heavily to the destruction of our forests. 

The new Chinese migrants workers pay lots of money for a killed jaguar for their menu or for traditional medicines. Many countries, especially in Africa, have preceded us and we can no longer allow this to happen. 

In todays China there’s a vivid propaganda against climate change and its causes. Many large scale projects to restore forests and protect nature are now being implemented in China. We should therefore be surprised if the policy of Chinese companies in many poor countries in Africa, Asia and now Suriname also proves the contrary as many forests are being destroyed by their predatory greed for wood. All the more because Chinese companies are under heavy supervision of the Chinese state. For centuries, traditional rich countries in America and Europe, have benefitted from logging, livestock and mining, all causing rainforest deforestation, but China has now taken over. These countries are still major consumers of finished products from China made from disputed tropical hardwood.

The craziness of deforestation has also taken strong hold of our country for about 20 years. For a few lousy dollars Suriname has now put her biggest natural resources “her forests” for sale for gold mining and logging. 

Gold miners are also tolerated to work with the highly toxic mercury for mining gold. Meanwhile scientific research proves, poisoning of the tribal peoples in our interior by mercury contaminated fish.

The foundation “Protect our Biodiversity Suriname” PROBIOS was founded in 2009 in protest against this destructive mismanagement of successive governments. PROBIOS also tries to be a voice for our forests with its animals with its motto: THE FOREST IS OUR HOME

Together with a number of indigenous communities, PROBIOS strongly opposes this spiral of destruction of nature and will publish any kind of crimes against its people, their forests and its animals. We live in a globalized world where each individual has a role and responsibility. Be aware that buying a tropical hardwood garden set or medicines made from protected animal species then you are a complicit in the destruction of our forests. Sustainable logging is a big illusion, unfortunately. The struggle can only be won if we see the consequences of our actions.

In October, PROBIOS has started a petition against the killing of Jaguars. This will be offered to the Surinamese government and the Chinese embassy. We demand that the destruction stops and that the killings must be severely punished. 

Our king should rule the forest.

sign our petitie:

Erlan Sleur

Chairman and founder of PROBIOS

Hanoverlaan 4 Paramaribo

Phone: 597 8517821 (also Whatsapp)