Published: January 31, 2010
To the Editor:
Re “Jaguars Don’t Live Here Anymore,” by Alan Rabinowitz (Op-Ed, Jan. 25):
I support the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to develop a recovery plan for the jaguar and encourage this agency to reclaim authority over jaguar recovery in the United States.
Listed as an endangered species in 1997 under the Endangered Species Act, the jaguar has lacked a federally mandated recovery plan. Management of the jaguar was relegated to the wildlife departments of Arizona and New Mexico, which formed the Jaguar Conservation Team. The death last year of Macho B, the last known jaguar in the Southwest, highlighted the team’s lack of vision for a long-term recovery plan.
The protection of jaguar habitat benefits less charismatic endangered species as well. Sky Island Alliance and its partners have proposed habitat protection through wilderness designation. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona has introduced a bill in Congress to protect more than 80,000 acres of public land in southern Arizona.
There may soon be another jaguar moving into Macho B’s territory.
Tucson, Jan. 26, 2010
The writer is a wildlife biologist for Sky Island Alliance, a conservation group.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org