Founded in 2006, Panthera is a US-based non-profit organization devoted to the conservation of the world’s 40 species of wild cats. Using a variety of digital tools (e.g. camera traps, acoustical monitoring systems, software and analytics), Panthera has collaborated with scientists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates in 39 countries around the world. Principal focal points of activity include anti- poaching , the illegal wildlife trade, and human-cat conflict.

Barbilla-Destierro Corridor, Costa Rica

Panthera Camera Trap

First camera trap photo of a jaguar taken in Barbilla-Destierro, Costa Rica. Image source: Panthera (2013), in Araya-Gamboa and Salom-Pérez (2015) [camera trap photo]. Retrieved 28 March 2022, from https://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/vial/article/view/21238

As part of its work to protect wild cats, Panthera has developed remote monitoring technologies such as PantheraCams and their more recent iteration PoacherCams to monitor wildlife and detect poaching activity. The PoacherCam distinguishes between human and animal movement and uses a wireless network to send images and locations of human activity to law enforcement officials. The cameras feed images to SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool), a platform developed to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife law enforcement patrols.

Panthera argues that law enforcement is crucial to its wildlife protection strategy and to ensuring that wild cats have sustainable lives and habitats. However, researchers and local communities (including those working with conservation organisations) have also questioned the increasing militarisation of conservation practices. For example, Duffy et al. (2019) suggest that conservation approaches that utilise militarised forms of law enforcement and surveillance technologies can produce unjust outcomes that fail to attend in depth to socio-economic and political factors creating the conditions for poaching, and the impacts on local communities. These tensions often play out on the ground in complex and uneven ways.

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