Humberto Don speaks to Suriname jaguar hunters: ‘Schiphol is responsible for business’

Humberto Don speaks to Suriname jaguar hunters: ‘Schiphol is responsible for business’

The jaguar is known as the king of the jungle in Suriname, Humberto Tan tells RTL News. “It was the largest predatory cat in South America and Suriname. The indigenous people had great respect for the jaguar. They avoided each other and were not hunted.”

For years, Dan dreamed of capturing the mighty jaguar on his camera. That’s why he searched for game animals in the Suriname jungle, slept in a hammock and always had his camera ready. His search is documented in the documentary ‘The hunt for the jaguar’, available on Videoland from today.

Hunting changed

To lure the animals in front of his camera, he used a special tool; A Calvin Klein perfume. “It has a substance that attracts jaguars.” Walk, wait, be quiet, whisper. He was alert from six in the morning to eleven at night. “He can come left, right, in front or behind. The chances of him hitting are slim, but it’s a wild animal, so you never know.”

During his search, he found not only jaguar paws in the sand and feces on the ground, but also bullet casings from hunters who had previously occupied the site. Jaguar makes a lot of money now. Dan has discovered that demand for teeth, bones and meat, particularly from Asia, is high. The South China tiger is almost extinct and controls on illegal trade have been tightened, so poaching and illegal trade are changing. including Suriname. Ornaments are made from fangs and medicine bones. “The Chinese boil jaguar bones into a black paste for seven days.” According to tradition, it is good for health and chronic joint pains. “Unproven nonsense.”

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Jaguar annual salary

Suriname also has laws to protect jaguars. But there are about forty gamekeepers and 93 percent of the country is rainforest, says one of the documentary’s experts. Without the good guys in the field checking the laws, you’re not safe.

Not only have hunters hunted jaguars, but the dynamics of indigenous peoples have also changed, Tan notes. Families hunt to hunt. To understand where the idea of ​​killing a jaguar comes from, Don talks to a rancher and goes to his native village where he performs rituals for a successful hunt. Will get it somehow. “Many tribal families are suffering from the country’s economic crisis and have a family to feed. One shot jaguar is equivalent to a year’s income. Then an opportunity arises.”

The jaguar’s decline isn’t just caused by poachers. “Habitats are declining due to illegal logging and gold mining. Large areas of Suriname’s forests are disappearing.” An alarming development, jaguar expert and scientist Vanessa Cadoso says in the documentary. “The jaguar as a predator is at the top of the food chain.” It maintains grazing and rodent populations. Don: “For example, without jaguars, there would be too many deer to eat the forest empty.”

International research

Three international organizations are conducting inspections from 2019 to 2022 to combat the illegal jaguar trade in Peru, Bolivia, Guyana and Suriname. Operation Jaguar It confirmed that the traders were mainly from China. In the hidden images, a merchant says he wants to travel through Schiphol. ‘They don’t test wildlife there.’ “You can see traders laughing in the pictures when talking about Schiphol. Isn’t it strange that the regulations in China and the US are stricter than Schiphol? He called the Netherlands ‘low risk,'” says Tan.

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At Dan’s request, customs officials in Schiphol said they would focus on smuggling goods from big cats like jaguars. Customs checks passengers’ luggage in transit. During these inspections, the customs department examines the smuggling of endangered plants and animals. Part of these checks is carried out by scanning the baggage from the passenger’s point of view.’

Still, Dan has hope. Jaguar teeth were taken from a shop in Paramaribo last week and sold under the counter. Some have been arrested. “I know now that there are many people who are doing their best for the jaguar, but they are reaching their limits. The animal.”

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