A beautiful wild jaguar has been named after the late S.O.FA. member Pollyanna Pickering, in a touching tribute to her memory.
The Brazilian Pantanal is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. In this region, the organisation Panthera is working on the Pantanal Jaguar Project – creating one of the world’s largest protected jaguar conservation regions. An important part of their work involves monitoring the jaguar population.
The spot pattern on the body and especially the face of a jaguar is comparable to a human fingerprint – no one pattern is the same. This makes it quite easy to identify individuals. The Jaguar Identification Project is building a database on individual jaguars in the northern Pantanal region. Recently the internationally acclaimed American wildlife photographer Mark Thomas observed and photographed a young female, who had never been seen before by the Jaguar ID project. He was given the opportunity to name the jaguar, and chose to name her in tribute to Pollyanna, saying “Pollyanna devoted so much to wildlife around this planet, it is only fitting that this beautiful cat bears her name. I feel so honoured to have met Pollyanna. She was a woman of incredible talent and endless good will. Through her efforts and art she has opened the eyes of countless people to the natural world. A true National Treasure. She will be immensely missed.”
In 2017 Pollyanna undertook an expedition into Brazil, where she braved extremes of heat and humidity, plagues of mosquitoes and piranha infested rivers to gather sketches and inspiration. The paintings she completed on her return will be showcased in an exhibition in celebration of her artwork in her private gallery at Oker near Matlock 22nd – 30th June this year.
Pollyanna’s daughter and business partner Anna-Louise told us “Pollyanna would have been so honoured and moved to know that this magnificent big cat, who roams wild and free in Brazil, has been named after her. Pollyanna absolutely loved the time she spent sketching in the Pantanal and was completely captivated by these most exquisite of cats. It is wonderful to think that observations made of Pollyanna the jaguar by the researchers will help to protect these cats and their habitat long into the future.”