Mahahual, a small Mexican fishing town that welcomes large numbers of tourists, has become the scene of a fierce fight between the locals and the jaguars. Eager to defend their guard dogs that are becoming the common diet of felines, the inhabitants are about to proceed with the slaughter of these endangered animals.
During the last 15 years, the population of this town in Quintana Roo has increased rapidly and as a result people have begun to settle in increasingly remote areas, sometimes invading the habitats of jaguars. Because most homes tend to have dogs as pets, the cats did not take long to take advantage of this situation by hunting them at night.
This phenomenon is entailed to a negative impact on jaguar populations. Attachment to pets can cause annoying humans to start killing big cats, a fact that is of particular concern to conservationists.
In addition to the thirst for revenge of certain people, it is possible that a wide range of pathogens are transmitted from dogs to jaguars, further threatening the health of these endemic animals. EurekAlert, referring to a study by a multidisciplinary team of veterinarians, conservationists and locals published in the journal Neotropical Biology and Conservation.
In 2017, Mahahual residents partnered with conservationists from different organizations and since then 38 protective night houses made of wood and wire mesh have been built in the village to keep pets safe at night.
Since the end of 2020, the town has also been sterilizing and vaccinating dogs to prevent the transmission of diseases between the two species.