The controversial plan to bring jaguars back to the US

CouldntBeMeTho

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Though perhaps most associated with the jungles of Central and South America, jaguars are believed to have once ranged as far north as the Grand Canyon. But a US government-led hunting campaign in the 20th century, combined with widespread habitat loss, effectively eradicated North America’s largest wild cat from the US by the 1960s. The country’s resident jaguars wouldn’t be listed as endangered for another three decades. They remain federally protected today, in a portion of southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Yet some conservationists say that’s not enough, and that it’s time to bring Panthera onca back to what they consider to be the cats’ full historic range. A recent plan detailed in studies published in the journals Oryx and Conservation Science and Practice says as many as 150 jaguars could survive in a 20-million-acre swath dubbed the Central Arizona/New Mexico Recovery Area, or CANRA.

jaguar_1_copy.jpg

A male jaguar photographed by motion-detection cameras in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona in 2017.

Courtesy of BLM
The proposal calls for transplanting jaguars from existing populations in northern Mexico or Argentina to land owned by Native American tribes and the US federal government. Proponents say restoring these apex predators to evergreen forests and scrubland where it’s thought they once thrived — and where they hold a singular place in the region’s natural heritage to this day — has an element of historical justice.

“You want to conserve species in their habitat,” Eric Sanderson, a senior conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and lead author of the CANRA studies, told Vox. The CANRA, he said, represents a habitat that’s completely different from the South American and Mexican jungles, making it “uniquely valuable” for jaguar restoration. “This species has been here for thousands of years, and the US government and US inhabitants basically drove it extinct,” Sanderson said. “The responsible thing would be to bring it back.”

But other experts say we should focus on fostering the existing jaguar population in northern Mexico in the hope that more of the cats might naturally migrate into the US, rather than launch a potentially costly and politically fraught reintroduction effort. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), for its part, already works with state governments in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as Mexico and other Latin American countries, on jaguar research and habitat protection. Their efforts are focused on reducing the poaching of jaguars for their teeth and fur — the biggest threat facing the species — and helping ranchers see the animals not as threats, but as a living legacy that needs protecting.

The fate of jaguars in the borderlands, in other words, has as much to do with narrative as it does biology. As climate change and habitat loss imperil virtually all life on Earth, a critical piece of the jaguar’s story, then, hangs on whether it can be considered “American” or not — and if that makes the enigmatic species worth saving.

The controversial plan to bring jaguars back to the US
 

BaggerofTea

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White people have shown to take a historically hostile and aggressive view on nature and of course human beings.

I wonder sort of psyche it is for the white race in general.

I know things have changed, Europeans have settled in their dominant posture. The Asiatic region is splintered, Africa has work to do, South America are basically the indian bred mulattoes.

A certain threshold of rapaciousness to recognize the true end game and maximize advantages where you can and limit weaknesses.
 
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