Center for Biological Diversity

Protect Jaguar Habitat in Southwest Forests and Deserts

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Jaguars evolved in North America before moving south to colonize Central and South America thousands of years ago. Historically, they were reported from California to the Carolinas. But clearing of forests, draining of wetlands, and introduction of livestock -- coupled with shooting, trapping, and poisoning -- pushed jaguars out of the United States.

Critical habitat -- the areas necessary for the species' recovery -- should be designated in the Sky Island mountain ranges of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, where jaguars have been seen and photographed in recent years. The areas between these isolated mountains should also be designated as critical habitat to ensure that jaguar travel is not impeded.

The Gila headwaters ecosystem in west-central New Mexico, along with the adjoining Mogollon Rim in Arizona, should also be designated as critical habitat. The last known female jaguar in the United States was killed in this area in 1963.

Please submit comments in support of the Center's proposal to designate critical habitat for the endangered jaguar today -- the deadline is Monday, March 15.

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Please submit comments by March 15, 2010.

Jaguar photo (c) Robin Silver.

These potential jaguar habitats in Arizona and New Mexico were originally mapped by the Center for Biological Diversity as our contribution to the interagency Jaguar Conservation Team. With the Center's help, the team's habitat subcommittee developed criteria for potential jaguar habitat and revised those criteria after vetting by scientists. These areas could support jaguars if managed appropriately.