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Rare jaguar sighting at Junin Community Reserve, Ecuador

In an exciting discovery, on the 24th January 2024, a jaguar (Panthera onca) was recorded by camera trap in the Junin Community Reserve within the cloud forests of the Intag Valley, Ecuador. These images were captured approximately 25km from Rainforest Concern’s Neblina Reserve and are the first time a jaguar has been photographed or seen in the area.

Jaguar combined camera trap pics

The three images captured by the camera trap

An ecosystem must be healthy to support this powerful big cat. Therefore, we are not only overjoyed to record this individual in the area; it is proof that the ecosystem around and in the Intag Valley is thriving. The recent sighting not only underscores the ecological importance of the Junin Community Reserve and nearby Neblina Reserve but also highlights the success of ongoing conservation efforts in the region.

As well as being an indicator species, the jaguar actively maintains ecosystem health and play a key role in the balance of ecosystems. The jaguar is classified as an “umbrella species” because its conservation indirectly protects other wildlife that share its habitat.

Unfortunately, the area in which this individual was recorded is within the Llurimagua mining concession, a proposed large-scale copper mine which threatens the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of the area, as well as the many communities who rely on the forest. The discovery of this jaguar therefore reinforces the importance of protecting this region.

You can support our conservation work in the area by donating today

The Junin Environmental Monitoring group, with support from DECOIN, is responsible for this exciting discovery, as part of their monitoring work and other conservation activities. The group is made up of 15 women and 30 men from two local communities who are being trained in environmental monitoring, amphibian identification and water analysis.