Defenders in Action: Defenders Pushes for Jaguar Recovery Plan

Printer-friendly version

Jaguar, © Arizona Game and Fish Dept.

© Arizona Game and Fish Dept.
In life he had a following. In death he leaves a legacy. Macho B, a jaguar who roamed the wildlands of southern Arizona for more than 13 years, died in March. His presence there was a reminder of a time when jaguars were more plentiful in this country, and a hopeful sign that the cats can and will return—if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes action to recover the species.

In March, following a lawsuit brought by Defenders of Wildlife, a federal court ruled that the agency must take another look at its decision not to develop a recovery plan for the jaguar. Considered endangered throughout their entire range from the Southwest to Patagonia, the big cats were nearly driven from the United States by predator control, hunting and habitat loss.

"Under the Bush administration, the Fish and Wildlife Service was willing to basically write the jaguar off because there are so few jaguars left in this country," says Eva Sargent, director of Defenders of Wildlife's Southwest program. "The United States is the jaguar's home, and we should take the actions necessary for it to recover here. We are thrilled with the court's decision and hope the Fish and Wildlife Service will now move quickly to initiate recovery planning and provide the jaguar with the full Endangered Species Act protections."

Researchers believe that jaguar habitat in the northern portion of the species' range is becoming increasingly important to the jaguar's existence as more forest land in Central and South America is destroyed to make way for agriculture and housing.

"The Bush administration treated the jaguar like an unwanted visitor, rather than a valuable part of the Southwest's desert ecosystem," says Sargent. "It is vitally important that the United States take a leadership role in helping to safeguard and recover the jaguar within our borders and beyond." The government has until next January to complete its review.

Learn more about Defenders' efforts to protect the jaguar.

More Articles from Summer 2009

The landscape masquerades as Costa Rica, but in reality this refuge lies in Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley, just north of the border with Mexico. Here, since the 1940s, the national wildlife refuge system has sheltered a rare treasure trove of life.
Global warming and other perils are pushing some of these birds to the brink
Help is on the way for right whales in crowded East Coast shipping lanes
Global warming legislation faces an incredibly tough battle before it can be enacted by this Congress, and overcoming Big Oil and other entrenched corporate interests is...
Please Bear With Them; The Eyespots Have It; Meat Your Mate; Dolphin Days are Here Again
Researchers believe that of the nearly 6,000 known amphibian species in the world, a third are in danger of being wiped out by the disease.
Wolves in Alaska are under the gun like never before.
"We're very disappointed that Secretary Salazar decided not to cut through the red tape and restore protections for polar bears immediately," says Defenders' executive vice president Jamie Rappaport Clark.
Wolf Woes Continue in the West; Tossing a Lifeline to the Fisher ; The Road Less Wanted; Defenders Carnivores Conference Set for Fall
Nearly as long as a bus and weighing almost 2.5 tons, no fish is more fearsome or famous than the great white shark.