The bond between the jaguar and the Wayana Indigenous people in Suriname is centuries old and, according to traditional stories, transcends the physical world. The Wayana people are known as the Jaguar Nation. According to ancient stories, they long ago had the unique ability to transform into animals, including jaguars. However, according to oral tradition, the jaguars became ill due to a skin disease. When the Jaguar King could no longer stand the pain and decided to accept death, he saw a village healer. The healer helped the sick Jaguar shed his skin and transform into a Wayana. From that moment on, the Wayanas and Jaguars became one and the same.
The Jaguar has therefore played a crucial role in the development of the Wayanas and their history. Generations later, this is still noticeable in the body paintings. But as with many other Indigenous peoples in the world, with the arrival of the internet, but also the church and schools, a lot of knowledge is disappearing and traditions are also becoming less and less. The Mulokot Foundation therefore goes to great lengths to preserve this precious history, traditions and customs. With the support of DierenPark Amersfoort Wildlife Fund, the Mulokot Foundation will carry out a project to record the jaguars in the deep southeast of Suriname, where the Wayanas live. They will map the jaguar’s habitat with the help of wildlife cameras. In addition, the age-old stories of the Wayanas about the jaguar will also be recorded in images and sound, so that future generations can also get to know these stories.
Would you also like to contribute to this project? Then see here what you can do to help endangered animals!