Jaguars could return to US if given Pathway North

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Once found from central Argentina to the southwestern United States, the powerful and elegant jaguar is the only big cat in the Americas and the third largest in the world after lions and tigers. These beautiful cats differ from leopards, which inhabit Asia and Africa, primarily in size – jaguars are bulkier and more muscular – and their characteristic spots are somewhat different from leopards in appearance and abundance. “Jaguarcomes from the aboriginal “yaguar”, which means “one who kills with one leap”, according to WWF-UK.

the jaguars territory has halved since the 1880s, according to the National Geographic website. Their habitat has been destroyed by deforestation, causing habitat fragmentation and range reduction that can lead to inbreeding. Jaguars are also threatened by poaching and killing by ranchers.

Jaguars are now mainly found in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and the world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, WWF-UK said.

As apex predators – apex predators are at the top of the food chain with no natural predators – jaguars have a diet that includes more than 85 species, from deer and fish to caimans.

With a population ranging from 64,000 to 173,000, jaguars are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list as a “near threatened” species and their populations are rapidly declining.

Currently, jaguars can be found as far north as northwestern Mexico in the state of Soundwhich borders Arizona, The Conversation reported.

But what if the jaguar could once again move further north and repopulate the southwestern United States?

“The most important reason to reintroduce jaguars to CANRA [the Central Arizona — New Mexico Recovery Area] is that jaguars living again in central Arizona and New Mexico will add a distinct and unique habitat type to the kaleidoscope of ecosystems where jaguars are found, thereby improving the ecological representation of the species,” said said the study authors. study“The case of reintroduction: The jaguar (panthera onque) in the United States as a model”, published last year in the journal Conservation science and practice.

The study authors said reintroducing the jaguar to these areas could also improve the quality of ecosystems by adding another apex predator. Mexican wolves were reintroduced in 1998.

According to Ganesh Martin, Ph.D. candidate in wildlife conservation and management at the University of Arizona and John Koprowski, dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, there is no only two ways jaguars migrate to the United States from Mexico through natural pathways, The Conversation reported.

“In our view, maintaining these corridors is crucial for connecting the fragmented habitats of jaguars and other mammals, such as black bears, cougars, ocelots and Mexican wolves. Increasing connectivity – connecting small patches of habitat to larger networks – is a key strategy for the conservation of large animals that span large areas and for maintaining functioning ecological communities,” wrote Martin and Koprowski.

Last year, Martin and Koprowski filmed a young jaguar they named El Bonito in the border regions of the United States and Mexico. But in the pictures, it turned out that after looking at each jaguar’s unique points, there were actually two. They named the second jaguar Valerio.

Male jaguars roam to find territories and mates, the authors said. Their home ranges can be around 15 to 400 square miles.

Martin and Koprowski recorded Valerio and El Bonito two miles south of the US-Mexico border, north of which is a natural corridor called Guadalupe Canyon.

Over the past decade, the jaguar population has increased in Mexico to about 4,800, according to a study last year, the authors said. They noted that as the Sonoran jaguar population increases, the chances of females migrating north and mating with male jaguars in border regions also increase.

“The creation of protected natural areas that could support breeding populations and provide avenues for northward expansion would help accelerate the natural recolonization of jaguars in the United States. Several institutions and scientific research projects have highlighted the need to keep natural corridors open to maintain habitat for diverse plant and animal communities,” Martin and Koprowski said, as reported by The Conversation.

The researchers said 28 other species of mammals were recorded by their camera traps, including black bears, mountain lions and ocelots, and all of them need wildlife corridors for their long-term survival.

“In our view, allowing jaguars to naturally recolonize suitable habitat in the United States is a unique opportunity to support animal movement in border regions. Keeping these landscapes connected will benefit all species in this ecologically unique region that serves as a source and pathway for wildlife,” Martin and Koprowski said.

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