National Wild Cat Day
With six species of big cats, Panama is working to ensure the survival of these feline species’ by introducing new legislation, making the first Saturday of each year the National Day of Wild Cats
The Decree, signed by President Juan Carlos Varela, on February 23rd, 2018, aims to raise awareness about the need to conserve Biological Diversity and increase the protection of Protected Areas throughout the country.
On World Wildlife Day (March 3rd) Panama worked to raise awareness for the preservation of the big cats that call this country home. António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations said we must continue “raising awareness and working individually to ensure the survival of the big cats and the precious and fragile biological diversity of the world we live in.’
“Wildcats are indicators of the health of the ecosystems”, explained the head of the Department of Wildlife of MiAmbiente. They are predators, at the top of the food chain, so their presence indicates whether or not there is pray for them to feed on. If there is no food for these animals, it indicates that the area has been deforested, and is not in a condition for the animals to survive.
Panama has six feline species: Jaguar (Panthera Onca), puma (Puma concolor), Yaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Tigrillo (Leopardus wiedii) and oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus). Five of them face a high risk of extinction in wildlife; and the jaguar, the highest probability of disappearing.