Human Dimensions of the Conflicts between People and Jaguars in Brazil

Development of perceptions about jaguars in children and adolescents

The ultimate cause of the conflicts between people and jaguars is not the actual impact of jaguars on human livelihood, but rather the social and cultural perceptions of jaguars and the potential threat of jaguars attacking humans and killing livestock. I am looking at those perceptions and how they develop in children and adolescents in rural and urban Amazonia, as well as in the Pantanal and the country’s most influential city, São Paulo, with an eye on the implications for education.

Modelling jaguar persecution

Perceptions themselves are not a conservation concern, except when they determine persecution. I am examining the relationship between perceptions about jaguars and jaguar persecution by cattle ranchers in Amazonia and Pantanal within the framework of cognitive and social psychology theories. More specifically, I am looking at how values, beliefs, knowledge, attitudes and social norms interact to determine people’s behaviour of killing jaguars.

Education and communication interventions to decrease jaguar persecution

Based on the findings of when relevant perceptions about jaguars are acquired or strengthened,  which factors influence them, and their relative importance in determining jaguar persecution, education and communication interventions to decrease jaguar persecution have been designed and tested at Escola da Amazônia. The interventions include the production and distribution of printed materials such as the book Guia de Convivência Gente e Onças (Guidelines for the Coexistence of People and Jaguars) for ranchers and its books of activities for children.

Useful links:
Escola da Amazônia
Amazonarium Blog
Cristalino Ecological Foundation (FEC)