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.