Environmentalists want jaguars reintroduced to US Southwest

Dec 11, 2022, 10:15 PM | Updated: Dec 12, 2022, 1:04 pm
FILE - This image taken from video provided by Fort Huachuca shows a wild jaguar on Dec. 1, 2016, i...

FILE - This image taken from video provided by Fort Huachuca shows a wild jaguar on Dec. 1, 2016, in southern Arizona. An environmental group on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help reintroduce the jaguar to the Southwest, where it once roamed for hundreds of thousands of years before being whittled down to just one of the big cats known to survive in the region. (Fort Huachuca via AP, File)

(Fort Huachuca via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — An environmental group on Monday petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help reintroduce the jaguar to the Southwest, where it roamed for hundreds of thousands of years before being whittled down to just one of the big cats known to survive in the region.

The male jaguar, named Sombra — shadow in Spanish — has been seen in southern Arizona several times since first captured on a wildlife camera in the Dos Cabezas Mountains in 2016, including a 2017 video by the Center for Biological Diversity. There are a handful of jaguars known to be living across the border in the Mexican state of Sonora.

The center wants the federal agency to help expand critical habitat for jaguars in remote areas and launch an experimental population in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest along the border with Arizona.

“Over 50 years since the jaguar was placed on the endangered species list, we should not be facing the realistic prospect that this sole jaguar in Arizona will be the last,” Michael J. Robinson, senior conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, wrote to Martha Williams, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

“This could be an amazing opportunity for us to restore a native species that was here for hundreds of thousands of years and deserves to come back,” Robinson said in an interview.

Jaguars ranged throughout North America before they were killed to the point of extinction for their stunning spotted pelts and to protect livestock.

Robinson said failure to do something could also affect efforts to save the dwindling jaguar population in Mexico that needs the kind of genetic diversity possible through mating with a new group of big cats to the north.

Jaguar populations in many places from Mexico to South America are shrinking as well. They are being reintroduced to their historic range in Argentina through a program in which they are bred in captivity and released.

The center was among environmental groups involved in successful efforts to launch the recovery of the gray wolf population that dropped to near extinction a half century ago.

Like jaguars, gray wolves once ranged most of the U.S. but were wiped out in most places by the 1930s under government-sponsored poisoning and trapping campaigns.

A remnant population in the western Great Lakes region has since expanded to some 4,400 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. And more than 2,000 wolves occupy six states in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest.

The rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America, the Mexican wolf, was listed as endangered in the 1970s and a U.S.-Mexico captive breeding program was started with the seven wolves then in existence.

The results of the latest annual survey of the Mexican gray wolves released in March showed at least 196 in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona — the sixth straight year that the wolf population has increased.

Robinson said efforts to protect the jaguar never enjoyed the momentum of the gray wolf campaign.

“People forget or don’t know that the jaguar actually evolved in North America, ranging from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and then spread to the south,” he said.

Concerns about the jaguar’s future were mentioned in a letter the center sent Oct. 19 to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, giving his administration a 60-day notice of its intent to file a lawsuit to halt the ongoing placement of shipping containers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The letter says the San Rafael Valley in southeastern Arizona is among the last established corridors for jaguars and ocelots between the two countries.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A woman holds a sign Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Los Angeles during a protest over the death of Tyr...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
20 hours ago
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is seen in the U.S. Capitol, July 14, 2022, in Washington.  Gallego sa...
Associated Press

Gallego holds first events of Arizona Senate campaign

PHOENIX (AP) — Democrat Ruben Gallego held the first public events of his U.S. Senate campaign Saturday, taking aim at independent incumbent Kyrsten Sinema and casting his candidacy in a patriotic appeal to the American dream. The fifth-term congressman recounted his journey from a poor family in Chicago to cleaning toilets as a Harvard student […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Bothell 44, Glacier Peak 40 Burlington-Edison 47, Squalicum 33 Columbia River 53, R.A. Long 28 Entiat 60, Cascade (Leavenworth) 9 Evergreen Lutheran 48, Three Rivers Christian School 26 Hermiston, Ore. 66, Pasco 36 Kamiakin 61, Kennewick 35 Kennedy 49, Bainbridge 42 La Conner 81, Skyview 77 Lakeside (Seattle) 71, Seattle Prep 37 […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Bothell 64, Glacier Peak 49 Cedarcrest 60, Marysville-Pilchuck 57 Inchelium 71, Springdale 70 Kellogg, Idaho 50, Newport 27 Lynden 69, Lakewood 50 Naselle 63, Winlock 59 Sound Christian 69, Pope John Paul II 34 ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Arizona Republicans pick former Trump official to lead party

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republicans on Saturday selected former state treasurer and Donald Trump aide Jeff DeWit to be the party’s next chairman, turning to a familiar face with relationships across the fractured party after its worst election in decades. DeWit replaces firebrand Trump ally Kelli Ward, who helped the former president in his efforts […]
20 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday...
Associated Press

Trump says beating of Nichols ‘never should have happened’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said the footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers is “horrible” and that the attack “never should have happened.” “I thought it was terrible. He was in such trouble. He was just being pummeled. Now that should never have […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Environmentalists want jaguars reintroduced to US Southwest