Current Jaguar Distribution and Conservation Status in Brazil

To evaluate the species’ conservation status in Brazil, this project aims to collect information about jaguar occurrence throughout the country.

Although the species occurs in 19 American countries, approximately half of the jaguar’s current distribution is located in Brazilian territory. The country also comprises 50% of the Amazon basin, which is considered the jaguar’s main refuge and is therefore the most promising country to preserve the species over the long-term.

The jaguar is found in five Brazilian biomes – the Amazon, Cerrado, Caatinga, Atlantic Forest and Pantanal. However, as in other areas, human expansion in these areas is threatening the future of the species. Jaguars are listed as an endangered species by the Brazilian environmental agency (IBAMA), and in theory protected by law; however they have historically been killed in retaliation to livestock predation and are becoming locally extinct due to habitat loss.

Launched in 2005, this project aims to update the current jaguar distribution in Brazil both in and outside protected areas with more precise information by identifying populations and evaluating their conservation status. Data is being collected through literature research, museum collections, partner organizations, and field work conducted by the Jaguar Conservation Fund/Instituto Onça-Pintada team, using interviews with local people, camera traps and scat detector dogs.

Until now, the project has accumulated more than 1,000 records of jaguar occurrence in Brazil. Data shows that the Amazon region holds the largest continuous block of habitat throughout the jaguar’s range, followed by the Pantanal. In the Cerrado and Caatinga, the populations are highly restricted to Conservation Units and in the Atlantic Forest, there exist a handful of small and isolated populations. These data already facilitated a Brazil-wide jaguar Population Viability Analysis (Sollmann et al., 2008) and are being used in jaguar distribution modeling studies.

Associated Thesis:

Tôrres, N. M. Uso de Modelagem de Nicho Ecológico na Avaliação da Distribuição Geográfica da Onça-Pintada. Ph.D. thesis, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil. Start: March 2007.


Sollmann, R., Tôrres, N., and Silveira, L. 2008. Jaguar Conservation in Brazil: The Role of Protected Areas. Cat News Special Issue 4, 15-20.

Read more about this topic:

Tôrres, N. M., De Marco Jr., P., Diniz Filho, J. A. F., and Silveira, L. 2008. Jaguar Distribution in Brazil: Past, Present, and Future. Cat News Special Issue 4, 4-8.