A four-year partnership between Datamars Livestock and NGO Panthera Brasil is helping boost jaguar numbers in Brasil as well as the country’s unique ecosystem, critical for climate change mitigation and sustainable agriculture.
Datamars Livestock began working with Panthera Brasil’s Jaguar Conflict Program in 2019 to reduce retaliation killings by cattle farmers due to jaguar attacking livestock. The company’s support includes assessments of ranches needing protection and identification of vulnerable points jaguar could enter. Datamars Livestock then provides specially designed Speedrite electric fencing materials and education on how to best set them up to be most effective.
Panthera Brasil has now worked with around 80 different farms, ranches, and communities between Central and South America on anti-predation strategies, and in those at least 60% are now using anti-predation electrical fences including specially designed Speedrite fencing from Datamars Livestock.
The fencing technology, while used in other markets, was developed specifically for the challenging environments of Central and South America. Insulators and supporting posts, exposed to the sun all year round, are specially UV treated for the tropics. And the energizer, which powers the fencing, has been placed below solar cells, to protect it from the elements.
The charges both cattle and cats receive if they touch wiring around enclosures and fields doesn’t cause physical damage as it is pulsing rather than steady. But it’s enough to deter a jaguar from entering an area where cattle are grazing. And if they do return, they are much more cautious.
Electric fencing is also helping livestock farmers adopt flexible grazing programmes and be more productive on less land and with less use of scarce resources, like water and feed. By using land, feed, and water more effectively, livestock production can continue to grow alongside and in support of efforts to increase re-forestation and preservation of important species and forest ecology.
Panthera Brasil is one of a few organizations working directly with cattle farmers to help them learn new strategies to deal with jaguar. Rafael Hoogesteijn, veterinarian, and director of the Jaguar Conflict Program says reducing conflict between people, cattle, and jaguar is critical for everyone’s survival.
“We are beginning to discover how important these large predators are to maintaining the structure and proper functioning of rainforests and in turn agricultural land. It’s a very much a related chain,” he explains. “Jaguar also hunt big vegetable-eating animals, helping maintain the balance of forests. The forests in turn produce evaporation which is transformed into atmospheric rivers and rain that flows through the Amazon, and central and southern South America, watering the extensive agricultural areas of those regions.”
Hoogesteijn says the only way for jaguars to survive in the long term is if they are accepted outside protected areas. “Our goal is to reduce the vulnerability of cattle through electric fences and provide a clear-cut interface with jaguar. We also want to increase the amount of natural wild prey they have access to and maintain forested corridors for jaguar to pass safely through. And a well-built, supervised fence is an important element. They also mean cattle owners can sleep better at night knowing they don’t have to worry about what they’re going to find the next day.”
Watch our partnership video.