The Commission heard details on the plan including management objectives, history of the species, education and outreach efforts, human-Jaguar conflict resolution methods, a post-delisting monitoring plan.
The plan details the importance of two distinct Jaguar subpopulations in the Mississippi River Valley, including a repatriated subgroup that carries the rare dominant ellile that causes melanism in the big cats. It also references several studies, including the recently completed US Geological Survey (USGS) study that confirmed the long-term viability of the Jaguar in Louisiana.
Also discussed were the Departments long term objectives to eliminate human influence on the Whitetailed deer population which will be the primary prey item for the Jaguar. Restoring a natural predator - prey environment is the ultimate goal here. Although this is a long term objective, great progress can be observed in the recent Black Bear / Fawn mortality study conducted at Tensas NWR. We can say with confidence now that 75% of all fawn morality is directly connected to Black Bear predation. A startling success story for our conservation efforts to eliminate human interventionist in nature. As the Jaguar populations gain a foothold, we will be in a position to begin reducing the number of whitetail deer tags per hunter. Eventually we envision a lottery only system for hunting whitetailed deer, to handle small pockets of overpopulation throughout the state.