Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Opinion: "Keep up pressure to preserve jaguars"

Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 5:00 am

To the editor:

The jaguar has been listed as endangered for 14 years. It was at that time the decision for a recovery plan was mandated.

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a scientific decision to design a recovery plan for the largest cat species in the Americas, the jaguar.

For thousands of years the jaguars had roamed the Southwest from California to Texas, thought to be extinct from the Southwest. The last known jaguar named MachoB, who was documented with photos in 1996 up through 2009, was caught in a snare last year in Southern Arizona. This magnificent big cat suffering from illness caused by an infected wound from the snare, had to be euthanized.

The corridor of land between Southwest New Mexico and Southeast Arizona is prime habitat consisting of physical and biological features that can be used by jaguars. Protecting their habitat is key for their recovery.

The jaguar also depends on populations in Mexico for genetic diversity.

Jaguars are endangered throughout their entire range. They are losing habitat all across Latin America due to building of homes and farms.

Without organizations like Defenders of Wildlife keeping pressure on our government, this recovery plan would probably be only someone's dream.

The United States has some of the best conservation practices in the world.

Joint efforts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and people like you and me could mean the survival of one of Americas most beautiful and elusive big cats.

CARRYL EDWARDS

Flagstaff

http://www.azdailysun.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_a9be32f2-9a23-567e-a81a-570dea4dfab2.html

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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