By Nicole Rojas | n.rojas@latinospost.com | @nrojas0131 (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Jan 25, 2013 12:10 PM EST

A jaguar gets shower in its enclosure at the Skopje Zoo on July 20, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)

The environmental ministry of Guyana has signed a regional pact agreement with New York-based conservation group Panthera in order to protect jaguars. According to The Associated Press, the pact will establish a "jaguar corridor" to connect core jaguar populations from northern Argentina to Mexico.

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Esteban Payan, the regional director for Panthera's northern South American jaguar program, told reporters that Guyana joined Colombia and other Central American nations in recognizing the protective corridor and in working together towards long-term jaguar conservation.

According to the AP, cameras set up with motion sensors have tracked several of the spotted felines traveling through the country's dense rain forests and vast grasslands. Scientists estimate that there is a "relatively healthy" jaguar density of three to four jaguars per 100 kilometers (161 miles) in the country's southern Rupunnuni Savannah, the AP reported.

Jaguars once roamed a vast area of land ranging from Argentina up to southwestern United States. However, the animals have lost significant territory. The AP also reported that pelt trade hunting affecting their numbers during the 1960s and 1970s until the trade was halted.

The agreement was presided by Robert Persaud, Guyana's Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, and signed by the Ministry's Permanent Secretary Joslyn McKenzie and Panthera CEO Alan Rabinowitz in Georgetown, Guyana. During the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding, Persaud said, "We are proud of our new partnership with Panthera to secure the continuity of our sustainable development efforts while conserving our national symbol, the jaguar."

In a statement released by Panthera, Rabinowitz said, "Historically, Guyana has achieved incredible success in sustainably balancing the country's economic development, natural resource management, the livelihoods of its people, and the preservation of its unique wildlife and wild places."

Rabinowitz continued, "The signing of this jaguar conservation agreement demonstrates the government's continued commitment to its legacy of conservation alongside economic progress and diversification."

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