Images Raise Hopes Of Return Of Wild Jaguars To The US

"A series of sightings suggests the big cats are, against the odds, growing in numbers in New Mexico and Arizona. But Trump’s border wall could yet halt their progress".

"The young, muscular male approached from the east at about 4am. He paused briefly in front of the motion-sensor camera, seemingly posing for the photo. “It was overall a moment of euphoria,” says Emily Burns, programme director at the Sky Island Alliance conservation group in Arizona, as she walks along a rutted forest service road towards a canyon framed by lichen-covered cliffs.

“I was equal parts thrilled and shocked that there was a jaguar here.”

Jaguars once roamed throughout the American south-west, but they were hunted to local extinction by the 1960s. In the 1990s, the elusive cat began to occasionally reappear in the rugged Sky Islands mountain ranges in New Mexico and Arizona. Now, a series of sightings in the region over the past year marks the endangered predators’ tentative return.

Yet numerous obstacles remain to re-establishing a jaguar population in the US. The wide-ranging cat faces growing climate extremes, habitat loss – and the continued impact of the Trump administration’s border wall, which has severed wildlife corridors and fragmented ecosystems throughout the region."

Samuel Gilbert reports for the Guardian February 6, 2024.

Source: Guardian, 02/07/2024