Following the capture of a Jaguar –Guyana’s national animal – by residents of Lima Sands, Essequibo last week, the Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission (GWCMC) has reminded that such practice is illegal.
The animal was trapped by a resident Marvin Calvan on May 22, reportedly after residents complained of losing livestock and dogs for several months.
Calvan –the maker of the traps – kept the animal at his residence where he solicited a fee of $100 for adults and $60 for children who wanted to see the Jaguar.
The Commission said it received a report on May 22 that the Jaguar was trapped and was in the possession of the trapper and began making arrangements the following day to have it removed.
This was done with help from the Corps of Wardens of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
After engaging Calvan and his sister, the animal was removed at the weekend.
“The animal was moved to a cage and the trap was removed and destroyed. A sample of blood was taken from the animal which has since been released,” the GWCMC said.
Some concerns were raised by the family who thought it was imposters who collected the animal.
The GWCMC is reminding the public that the Jaguar is a protected species under Regulations 4(7) of the Wildlife Conservation, Management and Sustainable Use Regulations (2019).
Additionally, under Section 69 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2016), it is an offence to have wildlife in possession or display to the public without the necessary authorization.
“Any person who violates this will be liable to pay a fine of $750,000 to $2M and face imprisonment of up to three years,” the Commission pointed out.
The body advised that communities having wildlife-related issues should report it to the Commission so that appropriate means can be developed to ensure mutual existence between the animals and residents.
“The GWCMC does not recommend trapping of big cats in conflict situations,” the statement noted.
The Commission said it must first conduct an assessment to determine what action is merited and the permission of the commission is required in order to trap the animals. Further, if a Jaguar is trapped or killed for any reason, a report should be made to the nearest police station or the Commission.