A new world-first Australian study has spotted that, although wild jaguars in the Amazon are coping well with global warming, environmental threats to their prey could be disastrous for the big cats.
The research, led by a team from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), found that jaguar numbers will rapidly decline if weather events increase in frequency, diminishing sources of food.
It’s a world-first investigation into the big cat’s chances of survival.
Computer modelling was used to map the jungle creature’s solitary behaviour, mating, births of cubs at certain times of the year, competition, illegal hunting, death from starvation and availability of key prey.
They found that the animals like deer and armadillos, that are food for the jaguar, will suffer population declines caused by repeated extreme drought and flood.
Professor Kevin Burrage said that while jaguars were proving sturdy, predicted results for the jaguars in the long-term were concerning.
“Our results imply that jaguars can cope with extreme drought and flood, but there is a very high probability that the population will crash if the conditions are repeated over short time periods. These scenarios are becoming more likely due to climate change,” Professor Burrage said.
“The declines may be further exacerbated by hunting of both jaguars and their prey, as well as loss of habitat through deforestation,” he said.
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