In its 13 years of existence, the Misiones Jaguar Project has brought together efforts from its own members and other institutions to generate information to preserve one of the last surviving jaguar populations in Argentina. More than 300 people from more than 50 institutions have collaborated with the project since its inception, incorporating people not only from the three neighboring countries of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, but also professionals and institutions elsewhere.
The knowledge generated by this project is reflected in research papers, journalistic articles, and books about not only jaguars, but also other large cats and their prey. The use of this information to create a Management Plan for the Jaguar in the Atlantic Forest was the fulfillment of one of the main aims of the Misiones Jaguar Project.
In 2002 the Argentine Wildlife Foundation decided to gather a group of experts to discuss how it would be possible to fill the void of information on the jaguar and develop effective conservation strategies. At a workshop held in Puerto Iguazu, Argentinean specialists Karina Schiaffino, Andres Novaro, Mario Di Bitetti, and Agustin Paviolo, along with Brazilian jaguar expert Peter Crawshaw Jr., developed a work program to address a number of basic but fundamental questions that outlined our key lines of action:
1. Where was it likely to find jaguars in the province of Misiones and around the UPAF (Upper Parana Atlantic Forest)? What is the habitat available for this species? What are its biggest threats in relation to large-scale habitat changes?
2. What were Jaguars densities here? How many animals did this population have? What factors could be affecting population densities?
3. How does the population behave over time? What is jaguar population dynamics?
4. How do jaguars use the environment? How much area do these animals need to survive? What is their life story?
Thus, the Misiones Jaguar Project led by Mario Di Bitetti, Carlos De Angelo, and Agustin Paviolo was born 10 years ago, with the help of hundreds of contributors and institutions. Since 2002 we have been answering these questions one by one and trying to transform responses into conservation measures for both the jaguar and the Atlantic Forest.