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 these 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 future.
With the arrival of one of our team members in October 2017 in this overseas, we set up this project to help breeders protect their stock in a sustainable manner.
Goats vulnerable to feline attacks in a farm participating in the project.
For what purpose ?
This project aims to ensure sustainable coexistence – ecologically, economically, socially and psychologically – 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 difficult individuals: study their natural habitat, follow their movements, camera traps and broken GPS collars
- Advise and support current farmers to help prevent attacks on their livestock by strengthening certain measures or by setting up new ones.
- 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 develop and share both 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, workshops and internships.
A MULTI-PARTNER PROJECT
Coexistence between human activities and wildlife issues are an interdisciplinary problematic that requires collaboration between various structures. We have therefore established a number of partnerships with local structures: 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 backed by the DEAL (Department of Environment, Planning and Housing) and in particular thanks to the funding from the AFB (French Agency for Biodiversity) that was granted after our project was selected among 130 other proposals.
This jaguar has been captured by the ONCFS (project partner) to seize its GPS collar and study its movements.
Testing protective measures on test farms like this electric fence with an “anti-feline” design