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Ayahuasca: See How This Popular Drug Affects Jaguars in the Amazon


Deep in the Amazon rain forest, use of the ayahuasca plant is on the rise. It’s a hallucinogen that puts users in an altered state of mind, which some describe as ecstasy. Shamanic tradition holds that jaguar spirits fight off dark forces, and ayahuasca is used during a sacred ceremony to call upon these spirits. Now people from around the world travel to the remote villages to participate in this increasingly popular custom. On the fringes of these communities, there is a burgeoning black market for jaguar teeth, pelts, and paws that some participants believe will enhance their experience. Find out more about the proliferating shamanic ritual and the threat it poses to the beloved big cat.

[Video and text source: National Geographic YouTube channel]