COFEEL project : feline-livestock COexistence

Why this project ?

The jaguar and the cougar have both been classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List 2017 (IUCN Red List), due in particular to the increase of conflicts generated by their attacks on domestic animals and their consequences. On the one hand, for lack of effective means to protect their animals, retaliatory shooting on felines remains a measure frequently used by breeders to cope with the problem, which is difficult to quantify. On the other hand, the repeated attacks of the two big cats can represent significant losses for some farms. Although the territory of Guyana is still well preserved, the increasing urbanization and development of farms will certainly increase the risk of negative interactions between humans and big cats in the near future. 

With the arrival of one of our team members in October 2017 in this overseas territory as rich in its exceptional fauna as in the diversity of human cultures, we have set up this project to support breeders to protect their flock in a sustainable manner.

Goats vulnerable to feline attacks in a farm participating to the project.

For what purpose ?

This project aims to ensure sustainable coexistence – ecologically, economically, socially and psychologically acceptable – between human activities and the preservation of big cats in French Guiana.

What are our local actions ?

  • Establish an observation of knowledge on big cat attacks on domestic animals: field surveys of farmers.
  • Improve our understanding of jaguars and cougars, especially problematic individuals: study of their home ranges and movements following the capture of individuals, break GPS collars and camera traps.
  • Advise, support current farmers to prevent and limit big cat attacks on their livestock by strengthening certain measures or by setting up new practices and measures.
  • Test new prevention and protection measures on 5 farms with volunteer farmers who are regularly attacked by felines.
  • Identify and discover local initiatives in Latin America: interviews, photographs and educational videos on local initiatives to share and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences (see ENCOSH project).
  • Inform and educate future farmers and professionals in the field of agriculture and the environment in Guyana, Matiti Agricultural High School: interventions on the issue, practical workshops, and internships.

A MULTI-PARTNER PROJECT

Coexistence between human activities and wildlife issues are an interdisciplinary problematic that requires collaboration between various structures. Various local structures are thus partners in the project, notably: the ONCFS (National Office of Hunting and Wildlife), the DAAF (Food Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry), the ONCA NGO, the GRAINE NGO, Matiti Agricultural High School (EPLEFPA: Local Public Education and Agricultural Vocational Training Institution), APAPAG (Association for the Promotion of Agriculture and Agricultural Products of Guyana). 

The project is financially supported by the DEAL (Department of Environment, Planning and Housing) and in particular thanks to the financing of the AFB (French Agency for Biodiversity), obtained following the selection of our file among 130 a call for projects.

Capture of a jaguar by the ONCFS (project partner) and break of a GPS collar to study its displacement.  

Capture cage on a farm vulnerable to attack.

Jaguar footprint.