taking action for


The iconic jaguar is the largest wild cat in the Americas and the third largest big cat in the world! This wide-ranging carnivore plays an important role in ecology, culture and history. However, the species is losing ground. Jaguars are considered near threatened throughout their range. The decline of jaguars is attributed to anthropogenic pressures that conflict with their basic ecological needs as well as the illegal wildlife trade, and even climate change. Oakland Zoo is taking action for the jaguar and envisions a world where they are protected from threats - allowed to roam free through their long and green corridor, from Arizona to South America.

Conservation Challenges

Habitat Loss

Human development, agricultural expansion, and encroachment into protected areas fragments wilderness habitat, causing jaguars to drastically decline in population and become completely eradicated in certain areas. Large-scale land use modifications have created patches of habitat that reduce connectivity, making it hard for jaguars to thrive and safely travel across the landscape for food, mates, or territory. To make matters worse, expanded trails and roads provide hunters with easier access into the forest, allowing more vulnerable prey species to be hunted, which diminishes food sources for the jaguar.

Human-Wildlife Conflict

As human populations increase and development spreads into natural areas, human-jaguar conflict has accelerated. Revenge killing for cattle loss or even hunting out of fear adds to the sad loss of the beautiful jaguar.

Illegal Wildlife Trade:

Across their range, jaguar are poached for skin, teeth, and claws. The animal parts are sold through illegal markets. In some regions, jaguar cubs are also taken from their mother to be sold into the illegal pet trade.

Climate Change

As sea levels rise in the communities where people are living, like in Panama, large groups of people seek homes deeper into wildlife habitats, which causes increased conflicts.

Oakland Zoo is Taking Action for the Jaguar

Project Support

Oakland Zoo supports the research and environmental education programs of Kaminando in Panama, as they uncover the best ways to conserve habitats and create community stewards. Oakland Zoo has also sponsored a state-of-the-art enclosure for Kaminando’s beautiful jaguar that are non-releasable and serve as ambassadors to conservation in the wild. 

Community Engagement 

Oakland Zoo shares conservation issues facing Central American species and empowering solutions to conserve them to the public through a variety of channels: Docents and Volunteers, Teen Wild Guides, Education Programs, Events, Exhibits, Campaigns, Keeper Talks, and media stories. The zoo is committed to combating the Illegal Wildlife Trade with a comprehensive campaign to ensure our community is part of the solution: #Endthetrade: Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Leadership Training and Staff Expertise

Oakland Zoo provides yearly professional development training for field partners, offering them a myriad of staff skills and resources to enhance conservation efforts. Oakland Zoo also helped launch the Guardians of the Jaguar program with Kaminando, bringing engaging environmental education opportunities to the valley in Panama. Inspiring work is done here to help students understand how and why the cloud forest is vital and exceptional to Panama and the World. Oakland Zoo also has sent staff with expertise in education, vet training, conservation, media, and animal care to ARCAS in Guatemala to assist with the rehabilitation of wildlife, like jaguars, that are caught in the illegal wildlife trade. Additionally, Oakland Zoo sends skilled staff to join Kaminando in Panama, to assist with camera trap research efforts in the field.

Sales that Save Wildlife

Oakland Zoo sells Town Zoo Beer made by Ale Industries in Oakland. You may wonder, how does beer help save animals? Proceeds from the sale of Town Zoo Beer support our conservation partner, ARCAS. The beer funds raised essentially help prevent the illegal wildlife trade in Guatemala. Shade-Grown Coffee is sold at our cafes, meaning the coffee buzz we enjoy does not come from de-forested agriculture. Why is this important? Coffee bean plants should not overtake a forest because humans want their caffeine. Coffee beans can be curated in a sustainable manner that doesn’t destroy the forest and animal habitats.

Eco-Travel with Impact

Oakland Zoo’s Eco-Travel to Guatemala focuses on ARCAS, providing authentic hands-on work chopping diets, cleaning enclosures, and creating special projects that support their crucial work. Oakland Zoo offers travel participants a unique glimpse into the complexities of conservation issues and solutions with the aim to positively impact our partner projects, our travelers, and wildlife.


ARCAS Guatemala

ARCAS (Guatemala)

Taking Action for Jaguars, You Can Too!

VOLUNTEER and have the experience of a lifetime at ARCAS! Go to their website to learn more about the international volunteer program

TRAVEL on an Oakland Zoo Eco Trip to Guatemala to visit ARCAS and learn more about the project first hand.

TAKE Oakland Zoo’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Pledge to save animals from the exotic pet trade.

PASS on petting zoos that allow contact or photos with jaguars or other wild species.

VOLUNTEER in Panama with Kaminando and work as a Field Assistant, Co-Researcher or Traveler. Your participation promotes the sustainability of the jaguar program and generates income to the local community.

PURCHASE wisely and enjoy rainforest-friendly chocolate and coffee.

More Learning and Resources