Journal of Environmental Law and Policy

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Journal of Environmental Law and Policy is an international, interdisciplinary journal that facilitates an understanding of environmental governance, policy and law issues not only by drawing upon and contributing to the environmental social sciences, but also linking the ecosystem health, natural resources, and social sciences. The aim of the journal is to promote communication among academia, government, business and industry, civil society groups, citizens’ action groups, and non-governmental organizations who are instrumental in the solving of environmental problems and grassroots level issues.


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M – 00237Research Article

Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance?

Cláudia Sofia Guerreiro Martins*

Institute for the Conservation of Neotropical Carnivores, Atibaia, SP, Brazil; Center for Ecology & Environmental Monitoring, Federal University of São Francisco Valley, Petrolina, PE, Brazil.

Email: | ORCID: 0000-0003-3528-0877

Francine Schulz

Institute for the Conservation of Neotropical Carnivores, Atibaia, SP, Brazil.

Email: | ORCID: 0000-0001-6652-7305

Carolina Franco Esteves

Institute for the Conservation of Neotropical Carnivores, Atibaia, SP, Brazil.

Email: | ORCID: 0000-0003-4564-4101

Silvio Marchini

University of São Paulo, Forestry Science Department, Wildlife Ecology, Management and Conservation Laboratory, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil; Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Email: | ORCID: 0000-0002-8184-1631

* Corresponding Author

Journal of Environmental Law and Policy (2021) 01(02), 80-102.

Accepted: 17 August 2021

No. of Abstract Views:

Published: 31 August 2021

No. of Paper Downloads:


Exclusively Brazilian, the Caatinga is a seasonally dry tropical forest where the endangered jaguar (Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor) co-occur with the lowest regional Human Development Indexes. New land uses challenge traditional livelihoods and add threats to species historically poached in retaliation for livestock depredation. Chronicle biodiversity conflicts became acute after a reported increase in depredation allegedly because of those changes and conflicts among stakeholders. Using the framework of human dimensions of wildlife management, pioneer research on the vulnerabilities of rural communities to jaguar-and-puma conflicts was led in ‘Boqueirão da Onça’, within and surrounding that polygon of protected areas. The aim was to identify, describe, understand, and predict human behaviour, and link the outcomes with the IUCN natural resources governance concept. Negative attitudes arose from 72% and 35.2% participants towards the proximity of jaguar and proximity of puma, respectively. When asked about institutions working for wildlife protection, and institutions working for people facing problems caused by carnivores, 64.9% and 88.8%, respectively, were unaware of them. Regarding beliefs about co-occurrence with jaguars or pumas, 80.9% and 82.9%, respectively, mentioned more problems than benefits, with 74.5% believing in the increase of both species’ populations due to the creation of protected areas. This scenario may ease jaguar and puma to become scapegoats for human-wildlife and broader social conflicts, unless values such as justice and transparency are pursued.

Keywords: Biodiversity conflicts; Human dimensions; Protected areas; Governance


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Cláudia S G Martins, Francine Schulz, Carolina F Esteves and Silvio Marchini, ‘Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance?’ (2021) 01(02) Journal of Environmental Law & Policy 80-102.

Harvard Style

Martins, C.S.G., Schulz, F., Esteves, C.F. and Marchini, S. (2021). Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance? Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, 01(02): 80-102. Doi:

APA Style

Martins, C.S.G., Schulz, F., Esteves, C.F., & Marchini, S. (2021). Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance? Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, 01(02), 80-102.

ACS Style

Martins C.S.G., Schulz F., Esteves C.F., Marchini S. Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance? Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, 2021, 01 (02), 80-102.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martins, Cláudia Sofia Guerreiro, Schulz, Francine, Esteves, Carolina Franco, Marchini, Silvio. 2021. “Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance?” Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, 01 no.02: 80-102.

AAA Style

Martins, Cláudia Sofia Guerreiro, Francine Schulz, Carolina Franco Esteves and Silvio Marchini. 2021. “Jaguar and Puma in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region – scapegoats for weak governance?” Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, 01 (02): 80-102.

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