Forest cats are getting a lot of exposure and maybe protection

Museos del Banco Central photo A gold grinning cat is one of the objects on display at the musuems.

The six Costa Rican species of forest cats may not know it, but they are getting a lot of exposure and maybe some protection.

The Museos del Banco Central is presenting a discussion of jaguars in the Pacific and northern Caribbean July 26 at the museums. Presenters are Carolina Sáenz and Victor Montalvo, who are members of the conservation organization Programa Jaguar.

The discussion fits right in with the museum’s temporary exhibit that addresses the forest cats in pre-Columbian archaeology. The native peoples feared and venerated the cats, so a lot of the decorations contain feline symbolisms.

Meanwhile, the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía has entered into a five-year agreement with another environmental organization, Panthera, which is conducting research projects to save the jaguar.

The cat has been known to kill pets and livestock, so the organization will be working to try to reduce these incidents and also reduce hunting of the species.

The five-year agreement requires the ministry and Panthera to together investigate the population of cats in protected areas, consolidate biological corridors, support local organizations and monitor the ecology of protected wild areas and biological corridors.Costa Rica hosts six of the 37 forest cat species. In addition to the jaguar and the puma, there is the margay, the ocelot, the oncilla or tiger cat and the jaguarundi.

All of the species were represented in objects created here from 300 to 1500 A.D. In addition to many such objects on display in the Museos del Banco Central, there are many others in the Museo de Jade and the Museo Nacional.

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