The recent killing of a jaguar, Guyana’s national animal, has gone viral on social media and has grabbed the attention of Government which has launched an investigation into the incident.A photo of the dead jaguar began circulating on social media earlier this week and has since sparked debates and awareness about the need to protect this endangered species of animal.From all indications, based on the post, the animal was killed during a hunting trip. But it is against the law to hunt and kill an animal which falls under the protection of the law.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said on Wednesday that he is extremely disturbed by the issue and has since advised that an investigation be launched into the matter.The jaguar that was allegedly the victim of trophy hunting“Even though wildlife management comes under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wildlife Authority, I have sent the photograph to the head of our Compliance Division and asked him to investigate because I am very disturbed by it,” he explained.Trotman said he is totally against any form of trophy hunting. “If you hunt to eat I can accept that but when it comes to killing so that you can feel good, I am very bothered about it,” while explaining that the animal also holds a very major importance to the country.The jaguar, Guyana‘s national animal, is protected by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2016. According to the legislation, collecting, holding in captivity, hunting, killing, or otherwise molesting ‘protected’ species is prohibited.Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Panthera Corporation, aimed at conserving the Jaguar. Founded in 2006, Panthera is an organisation devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems.Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, lions, leopards, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes.Panthera first started work in Guyana in 2011 through the jaguar conservation studies in the Rupununi where it was established that the connectivity of the Amazon Rainforest throughout the Rupununi, Iwokrama and other adjacent areas in the northern habitat of the jaguar is important for the long-term conservation of Guyana’s natural heritage.In 2018, Minister of State Joseph Harmon attended a high-level conference on jaguars that was held on March 1, 2018 at the UN Head Quarters in New York. The forum saw representations from 14 jaguar countries, international and national partner organisations.The forum launched the Jaguar 2030 New York Statement. The statement recognises that investing in the conservation of jaguars and their habitats can improve broader efforts to manage natural resources, and strengthen community livelihoods, among others.The jaguar is the third-largest feline in the world, and the largest in the Western hemisphere.In Guyana, these creatures are often spotted along trails or gaps along the forest edge where roads or rivers run. Sightings are most common in the Iwokrama Forest, especially along the main roadway.Globally, jaguar populations are on the decline mainly due to the loss of habitat and conflict with people. As a result, these animals are listed as a ‘near threatened’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).