Saturday, December 24, 2016

Jaguars in North America

Jaguar (photo credit: USFWS)

An iconic species, the jaguar is North America's largest cat.

Although jaguars have been exterminated in much of their historical range, a recovery is possible, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) - binational Jaguar Recovery Team draft jaguar recovery plan.

The draft plan sets goals for improving the species’ status through its entire 19-country range and provides a framework for achieving recovery.

The draft plan focuses on the cat’s northwestern population in Mexico and the southwestern United States.

The jaguar recovery plan will allow agencies and organizations, particularly in the U.S. and Mexico, to align their efforts to make meaningful advances in sustaining and improving the status of this iconic species.

USA Jaguars

Since 1996, as many as seven individual jaguars have been documented in the U.S.

Jaguar sightings in the USA have consisted of male jaguars in southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

These jaguars are believed to be coming from the nearest core area and breeding population, which is approximately 130 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border in Sonora.

Jaguar re-introductions in the USA are not planned for the short term. Instead, the plan focuses on efforts to sustain habitat, eliminate poaching, and improve social acceptance of the jaguar to accommodate jaguars that disperse into the U.S.

Long Term Jaguar Recovery

The plan cites habitat loss, direct killing of jaguars, and depletion of prey as primary factors contributing to the jaguar’s current status and decreasing population trend.

The plan calls for a minimum timespan of 50 years to achieve a jaguar recovery in North America.