A photograph of a dead jaguar posted on a Costa Rican youth’s Facebook profile on Tuesday has caused outrage among Ticos on social media sites.
The image appears on a Facebook profile of a person who appears to be a minor – The Tico Times is withholding his name and the link to his profile for this reason – along with the message: “We killed it at Colorado.”
Colorado likely refers to Barra del Colorado, a northern community in the Caribbean region.
Before disabling comments, the owner of the Facebook profile responded to earlier angry messages by saying, “It [the jaguar] was eating cows.”
The post quickly spread on social media networks, and by noon on Wednesday almost 1,000 people had seen the photograph.
The Tico Times was unable to independently confirm the validity of the photograph, but officials from both the Environment Ministry and the National System of Conservation Areas said they are investigating the case.
Jaguars are considered an endangered species in Costa Rica, and in January 2013, President Laura Chinchilla signed a law that prohibits hunting for sport in Costa Rica.
The law sets fines for sport hunters of up to ₡1.5 million ($3,000). According to the law, hunting only is allowed for personal meat consumption in limited circumstances, as well as for scientific research or wildlife population control.
The conflict between farmers and jaguars, whose habitat is increasingly threatened in Costa Rica, is not new. Read more about the issue in our January story, “To save a predator: A history of human-jaguar conflict in Costa Rica.”