The underlying harmony of nature has been explained as a function of the view that every entity in the universe exhibits dual purposes: both purposes for the whole and for the individual. The purpose for the whole means that by which the individual contributes to the preservation and development of the larger entity, and the individual purpose refers to the need to support an individual's own multiplication, development, self-preservation, and self-strengthening.
Thus, a jaguar also must exhibit benefits to the ecosystem and to humans. However, in recent centuries the jaguar often has been viewed as a nuisance or even a danger to humans, killing livestock. For such reasons, they have been hunted and killed, and along with other causes, such as loss of suitable habitat, their numbers have declined to the point that they are considered "near threatened."
Nonetheless, like other animals, jaguars do provide a value to both the ecosystems in which they live and to humans. Jaguars help to control the population levels of prey species and help maintain the structural integrity of forest systems. For humans, jaguars add to the wonder of nature, and are popular attractions both in the wild, where their sighting can offer a memorable experience in ecotourism adventures, and in captivity, such as in zoos. For the early cultures in Central and South America, they were a symbol of power and strength and played an important role in culture and mythology.