Living with Wildlife
Florida Panther,  © SuperStock
Grizzly Bear, © Ray Rafiti

Coexisting With Jaguars

The southwestern United States and northern Mexico are home to a spectacular diversity of landscapes and wildlife, including an elusive top predator struggling to regain its footing in its historic habitat: the jaguar. 

Jaguars once roamed across the southwestern United States. Now they too are endangered, relegated to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands where their decline over the last 100 years continues as development and human activity encroach on habitat and migration routes. Photos  taken by motion-sensor cameras, as well as tracks and credible reported sightings, continue to reveal that jaguars remain in the remote mountains of  Southern Arizona and New Mexico, and three known populations with consistent reproduction exist in Sonora, Mexico—the nearest one about 100 miles south of the Arizona border. 

Jaguars occasionally take livestock, making them unpopular with ranchers, and sometimes the target of retaliatory killings. Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to ending the vicious cycle of livestock loss and predator removal that poses a barrier to the recovery of jaguars.

Paving the way for jaguars

Defenders works to promote coexistence with jaguars by supporting ranchers’ adoption of electric fencing, water developments and other predator-deterring tools and livestock management practices that help reduce conflicts. We have also:

Partnered with the Northern Jaguar Project and Naturalia to establish a Jaguar Guardian Program to minimize conflicts with livestock and reduce retaliatory jaguar killings. The Jaguar Guardians patrol the Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora, Mexico—home to the northernmost breeding population of jaguars—and develop relationships with surrounding ranch owners to share information about living with jaguars. 

Co-sponsored the initiation of “Viviendo con Felinos” or “Living with Cats”, a reward program that provides an incentive to ranchers for conserving jaguars by paying for camera-trap images of the cats on their property.

More on Living with Wildlife: Coexisting With Polar Bears »

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Where We Work
Our Southwest team works to protect rare and threatened species like Mexican wolves, jaguars and ocelots.
Defenders in Action
Bears die when they get into trouble with people’s garbage, livestock, when they are hit by cars and trains or illegally killed. By preventing these conflicts we can keep bears alive and on the road to recovery.
Gray Wolf, © Dawn Hammond
Fact Sheet
The wolf is the largest member of the canine family. Gray wolves range in color from grizzled gray or black to all-white. As the ancestor of the domestic dog, the gray wolf resembles German shepherds or malamutes.