What's it all about?

- apart from their obvious grace and beauty - play an important role at maintaining ecological balance in most terrestrial ecosystems. Being predators, they control herbivore populations, inhibiting excessive increases in abundance. As a result, they often eliminate sick or weak individuals from prey populations.

un manigordo joven
A young ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)

There are many reasons for the decrease of wildcat populations at a global scale, among them loss of habitat, conflicts between farmers and felines, and trade of skins or live animals. Many of these reasons have led to the disappearance of wildcat species or subspecies in different parts of the world.

Costa Rica is not free of these problems, and here live six of the ten neotropical (= Latin American) feline species, all of them listed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and CITES (Convention on the Internatio-
nal Trade of Endangered Species) as facing serious threat of extinction.

PROFELIS (Programa para la Conservación de Felinos - Feline conservation program) was born with the intention to provide a solution for the confiscated felines that were given to our center for safe keeping by the Costa Rican ministry for energy and environment - MINAE). The project concentrated on three Costa Rican species of small felines: The margay (Leopardus wiedii), the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and the jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouarundi). Today the mayor objectives of our work are the investigation in situ and ex situ of these species and the environmental education of the public. Combined with that we want to spread new ideas onto the field of neotropical feline conservation.

( > The Objectives )