Jaguar Spirit is a personal journey uncovering how Bolivia became the centre of the illegal jaguar trade. This short feature film reveals the many threats these magnificent wild animals face. And asks the question, what hope is there for their future?
The world’s third biggest cat under threat
Jaguars have been part of the spiritual world of Latin American indigenous cultures for centuries. They have been warriors, gods and the spirits that connect the dead with the living. For years they have been worshipped and celebrated.
Now, with the world jaguar population suffering severe decline, they’re considered “near threatened”.
Jaguars are victims of the global wildlife trade, a multibillion dollar industrythat exploits wild animals all for the sake of profit.
The jaguar’s beautiful fur means that there is high demand for their pelts and skin, and their sharp teeth and claws are seen as valuable trophies.
Jaguars are also often killed for use in traditional Asian medicine, reduced down into a paste used for various purposes, from treating arthritis to improving sexual performance. This practice may be considered isolated within Asia, but as the increase in demand is growing in Bolivia, this issue has become a global problem.
Emi Kondo, NatGeo Explorer and Jaguar Spirit director:
“This film is a wake-up call as we experience how we have distorted our relationship with nature, and the animal that was once worshipped as a God by countless cultures in the region is now being hunted and killed for profit.”
Along her journey with Bolivian biologist Angela Nuñez and World Animal Protection Animal Welfare advisor Roberto Vieto, Emi uncovers evidence that makes her lose faith in the country she feels is a part of her. As she learns just how complex this illegal issue is, she can't help but wonder if there is any hope for the future of this iconic species.
Jaguar Spirit is a World Animal Protection/National Geographic-funded film.