Jaguar in Arizona
What wonderful news to find out that a jaguar was caught on a game camera in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. If I remember correctly, the last time they were seen in the Arizona area was back in 1996 when two jaguars were chased and cornered by cougar hunters and their hounds in two southern Arizona mountain ranges. According to the Defenders of Wildlife website there is “a small population of 80-120 cats in the remote mountains of Sonora, Mexico bordering Arizona. Defenders played a key role in helping establish the Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora, Mexico, to protect the northernmost remaining jaguar population. The properties are owned by Naturalia, one of Mexico’s leading conservation organizations, and managed in cooperation with Northern Jaguar Project with technical and financial support from Defenders of Wildlife.”
“Jaguars are being killed because of perceived conflicts with livestock, and overhunted for their fur and for trophies. Habitat loss is also a big problem for the northern population and the U.S.-Mexico border wall threatens to block jaguar migration routes. The Northern Jaguar Reserve, now at over 55,000 acres, is the result of major binational cooperation to help save jaguars in their northern range. Initiated in 2003, the growing reserve protects key habitat for the last breeding population of northern jaguars—offering hope for their recovery in the United States. Groundbreaking research being conducted on the reserve today will also help us better understand jaguar behavior and habitat requirements—information that’s helping experts pull together a stronger recovery plan.”
Hopefully these protections and other efforts will lead to an active population in the U.S. once again.