Jaguar Recovery Plan for Habitat Areas 04/25 06:33
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A plan by wildlife officials to bolster the endangered
jaguar population in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico by establishing two
sprawling habitat areas drew criticism Wednesday from environmental groups.
The final recovery plan for the large cats was released by the U.S. Fish and
It calls for one habitat area from western Mexico into southern Arizona and
southwest New Mexico. The other would stretch from eastern Mexico to northern
Mexico as well as countries in Central and South America would be primarily
responsible for monitoring jaguar movements within their territory, according
to the plan.
Environmental groups slammed the plan. Michael Robinson of the Center for
Biological Diversity called it "feeble" because it "relies entirely on Mexico
to ensure the cats' survival."
Robinson says the ability of the animals to roam the proposed area
straddling the U.S. and Mexico could be stymied if the Trump administration
builds a wall along the border.
Even with gaps to accommodate jaguars, a wall would cut off the possibility
of the animals recovering in their native range, he said.
Defenders of Wildlife said the U.S. agency is overlooking millions of acres
of potential habitat farther north in the U.S.
Jaguars are currently found in 19 countries, but only seven male jaguars
have been seen in Arizona and New Mexico since 1996. The animals have been
protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1997.
Shrinking habitats, insufficient prey, poaching and retaliatory killings
over livestock deaths are some of the things that have contributed to the
jaguar's decline in the U.S. Southwest over the past 150 years.
The Center for Biological Diversity released video in 2017 of a male jaguar
spotted on camera in southern Arizona. Conservationists had hoped it would turn
out to be the first female jaguar to be seen in decades.