Police have launched an investigation after upsetting footage emerged showing a jaguar and her two cubs lying slaughtered in the back of a truck.
The video was filmed by an unknown woman who panned the camera over the lifeless wild animals while seemingly praising the kill and complimenting the poachers ‘courage’.
She could be seen lifting the animals’ paws and heads and commenting on their big teeth before turning the camera to a man who was stood by the side of the truck, grinning.
Warning – Upsetting Content:
The man, who the woman calls ‘Carrapicho’, is believed to be responsible for the death of the rare animals. It’s likely the jaguars were shot with a rifle from a distance.
Carrapicho appeared to recall the hunt, saying:
I was really scared. They were in the lake over there.
When they saw me they ran and climbed a tree and were all together in the one tree watching me. Two of them are cubs and the biggest one is the mother.
It’s believed the crime was committed within the last week on a remote farm on the outskirts of Cocalinho, in mid-west Brazil. The search for the offenders was launched on Tuesday, November 12, after police were made aware of the footage.
The following day, investigators located the vehicle seen in the footage as well as the property where the bloodshed allegedly occurred. Agents were met by a caretaker who claimed to have arrived to check on the unoccupied property four days before, following the owner’s request.
Although the man in the video appeared to take credit for killing the majestic creatures, investigators believe he could have been helped by two others.
The three suspects are reportedly on the run but the farm owner has been identified and summoned for questioning.
Animal welfare chief Valmon Pereira commented on the investigation, saying:
The footage was brought to our attention by outraged social media users.
Since then, we’ve been out on the streets looking for clues because the remoteness of the area makes it difficult to identify the location from the images.
We found the rural property on [Wednesday] about 93 miles (150km) from central Cocalinho.
The pickup truck that appears in the video was parked in a shed on the farm’s grounds, and indicates that this is where the environmental crime occurred.
According to the WWF, jaguars are considered near threatened, with around 170,000 left in the wild.
However, they are considered critically endangered in many places and it’s thought there are fewer than 16,000 jaguars left in Latin American countries, including Brazil.
Hunting and killing jaguars are environmental crimes in Brazil, with a penalty of up to three years in prison coupled with a fine of 5,000 reais (£935/$1,200) – though the law allows for exceptions if it can be proved the deaths were committed in self-defence.
The animals are protected under the multilateral treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), which safeguards endangered plants and animals.
Hopefully the people responsible for killing the animals will face the consequences.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.