Endangered US Jaguars Catch a Break - Will Get Their Own Recovery Plan from Fish & Wildlife Service

jaguar photo

photo: Tambako the Jaguar

Though there's nary a word of it yet on the US Fish and Wildlife Service website, conservation group Defenders of Wildlife is reporting that the handful of remaining jaguars in New Mexico and Arizona will finally get a recovery plan, including setting aside protected habitat, a crucial first step in saving the animals from extinction within the United States:Eva Sargent, program director of Defenders of Wildlife Southwest, said in a press statement,

It's a welcome change to see that under President Obama science appears to be guiding the US Fish and Wildlife Service's jaguar decision. It's here, in the American Southwest, where jaguars have suffered some of their most significant range losses. And it's certainly good news to see the US Fish and Wildlife Service fulfill its duty under the Endangered Species Act to help jaguars.

'Not Prudent' to Designate Critical Habitat in 2006
On that welcome change Sargent refers to: Search for what US FWS says about the jaguar and the most recent Federal Register document that comes up is from 2006:Determination that designation of critical habitat is not prudent for the jaguar. Four years ago, it was determined that no areas in the US met the definition of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.

Fences, Highways Restrict Movement of Jaguars
According to FWS no breeding population of jaguars is currently know to exist in the United States, with all documented sightings in recent years to be male cats, presumed to have moved north from Mexico.

FWS also points out a critical part of establishing/restoring jaguar habitat: "Movement corridors are important to maintain; however human developments may block access to corridors or fragment contiguous habitats needed to sustain a home range. Fences and highways may be particularly damaging for movement corridors."

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