Central & South America

jaguar landscapes


The jaguar is an icon of wildness in the Americas.  With a range that once spanned from the arid southwest of the United States all the way to Argentina’s pampas grasslands, today they inhabit less than half of their former territory, with their largest stronghold in and around the Amazon Basin.  

Jaguars are a single species (with no sub-species) and need to migrate and breed across their entire range. With more and more forests across Central and South America being cleared for agriculture and other forms of development, maintaining forested corridors between Jaguar Conservation Units – areas of sufficient size and prey base to support a current or potential population of at least 50 breeding cats – is essential not only for jaguars but so many other species that represent the unique biodiversity of the region.

Maintaining corridors across occupied and often private lands requires the assent, participation, and continuing tolerance of affected landowners and communities, as well as the official endorsement and enabling framework of government policy.  It is also important to help ranchers minimize livestock predation by jaguars and resist retaliatory killing of these iconic and culturally significant animals. While many challenges exist, at a recent United Nations forum, 14 national governments in jaguar range states committed to work together to map out the jaguar’s future. The leaders identified habitat protection as vital, especially the urgent need to secure key corridors before they are lost forever. They also strategized ways to reduce widespread hunting of jaguars and their prey, address the apparent uptick in the illegal trade of jaguar parts, and recognized the importance of helping local communities and ranchers minimize conflicts with jaguars.

The Foundation has invested over $4.7 million to date for scientific research and monitoring to identify key habitats and corridors, advocate for the protection of core protected areas and corridors, improve ranching practices to minimize human wildlife conflict, and more. We work in partnership with local communities, governments, and NGOs to achieve our goal of a healthy future for jaguars and all species and people who depend upon and share these extraordinary landscapes.

Jaguar Image: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

South America

coastal patagonia


Argentina’s Patagonian coast and its surrounding waters teem with wildlife. From huge colonies of elephant seals and Magellanic penguins, to herds of guanaco and calving Southern right whales, the shores and waters of the Atlantic coast of Patagonia are an irresistible draw for those attracted to rugged landscapes and spectacular wildlife.

Despite its remoteness, coastal Patagonia is not without its threats. There are many new and on-going challenges including expansion of off-shore oil exploration and the unsustainable exploitation of certain fisheries. The growth of coastal cities also increases the potential for wildlife disturbance from tourists, weekend visitors, and the sporting industry. There, the creation, expansion, and strong governance of terrestrial and marine protected areas are critical needs to ensure the existence of large and healthy marine bird and mammal populations on the shores and in the waters of Patagonia.

Since 1992, the Foundation has invested over $3.5 million to support efforts to legally protect some of the most important habitats on the Patagonian coast. Along with a strong NGO network that engages communities and government agencies, our long term investment in this landscape is ensuring the persistence of healthy ecosystems with abundant wildlife.