Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

In mid-June 2012, a few months after she started monitoring the jaguars inside Brownsberg Nature Park in Suriname, biologist Vanessa Kadosoe saw Amalia for the first time. Through the pictures from a camera trap, she observed the little jaguar cub walking beside her parents, Máxima and Willem Alexander, the monarchs of the jungle until then. Kadosoe had named them after the Dutch king and queen, and because Amalia is the name of the royal couple’s first-born princess, it was only fair that the cub should also bear that name. For eight years, she watched Amalia grow to become the dominant female jaguar in the central and eastern sectors of Brownsberg, where the camera traps were laid out. But in February 2020, Amalia disappeared. Kadosoe waited a few weeks, which turned into months. Jaguars typically roam large areas of land — up to 500 square kilometers (nearly 200 square miles), so it seemed reasonable to think it might take Amalia a while to circle back. But a year later, Amalia’s whereabouts remain unknown. Jaguars can live to 20 years in the wild, so the disappearance of an 8-year-old animal is suspicious, especially in a region where poachers are known to lurk, and where they have increasingly encroached into since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Amalia isn’t the only jaguar that fell off the radar during Kadosoe’s nine years of research inside Brownsberg Nature Park, where she observed 27 of these big cats. “Between 2014 and 2015, three disappeared: Máxima, Kate and George.…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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