In order to create a safe environment for wolves to recover, Defenders works with ranchers to reduce the impact of wolves. Since 2000, we’ve supported over 84 range rider projects in partnership with ranchers and wildlife agencies to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. In addition, Defenders supports the use of tools and techniques including fladry fencing, diversionary feeding, strobe-lights and other tools and techniques, as described in our Livestock and Wolves manual. We also worked with wolf-country ranchers and agencies to develop the Mexican Wolf-Livestock Coexistence Plan to help reduce conflicts and increase tolerance for a growing wolf population. We recently worked to bring non-traditional partners together to triple our coexistence work. Under a new partnership with states, tribes and private ranchers, Defenders coexistence expenditures are combined with contributions from cooperating ranchers to further increase support for conflict avoidance, compensation and incentives. That means if we meet our goal of $100,000 in direct coexistence expenditures, our partners will receive an additional $270,000 from a federal demonstration program. These funds further support projects to help endangered New Mexican Gray Wolves at this critical time in their recovery.
After decades of working to support jaguar recovery and advocating for greater protections, Defenders and other conservation groups succeeded in getting the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate 764,207 acres (1,194 square miles) of much-needed jaguar critical habitat in Arizona and New Mexico, which the agency finalized in March 2014. We also succeeded in having the courts direct the FWS to complete the jaguar recovery plan which will be released this year.
Defenders and our partners at the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) stood up in court to defend the Mountain Empire region. The federal district court in Tucson put the brakes on a damaging exploratory drilling project in the Coronado National Forest near the town of Patagonia. The Mountain Empire region is a special part of the United States, fostering some of the greatest biodiversity in the country. We have been fighting hard to keep the “Sunnyside” project from moving forward. This project would have destructive and lasting impacts on imperiled and threatened species like the jaguar, Mexican spotted owl, ocelot, lesser long-nosed bat and yellow-billed cuckoo, and would adversely impact local residents in Patagonia. The project cannot continue to move forward without the proper review of its environmental impacts.