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We hunted it in the night and kept ourselves as quiet as we could. The ground was damp against our shoeless feet, and the foliage slicked our fabrics and clothes.
Curses filled the air as men slipped, their footing giving way. Our torchlight scattered, and there was a terrible certainty.
We were alone amongst little animals that preyed in the dark. They scuttled about, and we trampled them underfoot.
It was simply nature, I thought, the food chain of which we were the predators.
Beyond the light, something rustled, and with a whisper of the grass, it was gone.
It was still watching, and I couldn’t tell if it was sweat or excitement that clung to my hair. It was close now, and by God, I wouldn’t dare stop watching. If only the creature knew. That devil, I swore I would see it dead, and I smiled at that. That beast no frightens me. It was a beast. Too stupid to know we weren’t its prey and that instead, it was our game.
I fingered my rifle carefully as the lights steadied, and men began emerging from the shadows.
They laughed as they steadied one another and one of them clapped my back.
“All good amigo?” He smiled at me with crooked yellow teeth.
“Dios mio,” I said, “I saw its eyes, yellow eyes. We be rid of the beast tonight.”
“Yes yes, we’ll have our revenge, us farmers work hard. The guv’nor doesn’t care for us farmers; it cares more for the beast” He suddenly grinned, “Like the guv’nor it steals our wool and our leather, but I say we eat its meat and sell its hide. What you say, amigos?”
“We pay our taxes, what does the beast pay? I say we make its death slow,” another said.
“and we’ll piss on the government and we’ll piss on the beasts remains, ” we all jeered.
So we hunted the jaguar, the thief of our sheep – we pursued it like dogs till we be rid of it, and until then, no farmer sleeps at night.
The conservation of jaguars is a growing concern within America. It is the only extant native cat to the Americas, and it is the third largest of all cat species after the tiger and the lion. It is listed as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and its population is on the decline.
The primary causes of the jaguar’s population loss are due to environmental destruction and human depredation. The price you could say of human greed and lack of education.
Although the species extinction may not occur within our lifetime, it is an event that without our intervention, our children will suffer.
…many large ranches have employed full-time jaguar hunters to prevent losses of cattle.
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