Victory for Jaguars: Obama Pledges Recovery Plan, Habitat Protection

Good news below in the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity-

Capping a 13-year battle to save the American jaguar from extinction, this week the Center for Biological Diversity won a decision from the Obama administration to develop a recovery plan and protect essential habitat for North America’s largest and most endangered cat.

The Bush administration had twice declared that it would not recover, reintroduce, or do anything to protect jaguars in the United States. Twice the Center’s legal team filed suit and struck down the illegal decisions. This left the final decision up to Obama, but until the last moment, we were uncertain he would do the right thing as he has not made endangered species a priority to date.

Now that the Obama administration has committed to developing a federal recovery plan and mapping out the jaguar’s critical habitat, the long, hard work of saving the American jaguar can begin.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

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Earlier we had reported bad news. U.S. Fish and Wildlife misses deadline on jaguar recovery plan






  1. JimT Avatar

    You are so right; the hard work is years ahead, but the Center is good at keeping the heat on…

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Now we need the USFWS to take a serious look at the wolverine, an animal that like the jaguar was overlooked by the Bush “War on Wildlife” agenda.

  3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    This is good, but I’m with william. The wolverine needs to be looked at as does the black-tailed prairie dog.

  4. jon Avatar

    Williams, are wolverines protected now or no? I have no idea why anyone would wanna shoot and kill a wolverine.

  5. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    jon, the wolverine is not protected, and there is no real accurate record of their numbers in the states, they are very elusive, and they have a slow reproductive rate. The Bush admin declined to protect them because their numbers are relatively stable in Canada. The USFWS had to approach the state of Montana to decrease trapping of the wolverine because study subjects kept dying in traps!

  6. Kropotkin Man Avatar
    Kropotkin Man

    It will be interesting to see how this listing plays out.

    Will the Feds try to purchase more land?

    Will this in any way work to slow down the rampent growth of human numbers in the San Pedro River Valley? The flow in the San Pedro is taking a hit especially with the ongoing drought. It can’t support the numbers currently present. Some wish another 30,000-50,000 be crammed in and around Sierra Vista.

    The I-19 corridor from Tucson to the border is fast becoming one large city. It would be nice to see a net loss in golf courses as well as retirement villas. The Santa Cruz is bone dry except during the rains.

    Another major problem is the assault on habitat from human immigration and the thousands of military/border- patrol/militia types riding herd. This would include the Great Wall of America that’s being built. Nice to see that embarrassment torn down.

    Then there are the friggin cattle.

    I’d like to see a relocation project which would bring in critters from the south. Nice to have a few females around for the solitary males in the area.

    I’ll not be holding my breath for any changes in the near future. Given that Obama hasn’t shown any real environmental concern.


  7. Mike Avatar

    Fantastic news. Looks like the Obama admin stepped up for the bull trout today too.

  8. Mike Avatar

    ++The USFWS had to approach the state of Montana to decrease trapping of the wolverine because study subjects kept dying in traps!++

    I’ll never understand why they allow trapping of such a rare animal.

  9. jon Avatar

    Ranchers oppose jaguars coming back. We need to stop catering to these ranchers. It is people like them that are responsible for the reason why jaguars were wiped out before.

  10. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Kropotkin Man, I think the Great Wall of America is going to be the biggest hurdle.

    Ralph, not to take this thread off topic, but have you heard anything about the Mexican wolf restoration south of the border? I remember reading on here it was proposed.

  11. jon Avatar

    I would love to see jaguars back, but there are far too many problems facing them. Poachers, hunters, ranchers worried about their cattle, the growing human populations, the people who don’t want jaguars near them, etc.

  12. Elk275 Avatar

    By the way how were Jaguars discovered again in Aizonia? By mountain loin hunters who treed a cat and and took many, many pictures.

    The State of Montana allows only 6 wolverines trapped a year and trapping season starts on December 1st. Apparently two of the the three disticts have filled their quota this year. One thing about wolverines is that they are not watchable wildlife. I will bet you that only 3 or 4 people at the most on this forum at best have seen wolverines in the wild. I have seen 2 wolverines in the wild.

  13. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    The state of Montana is irresponsible to allow trapping of any wolverines! That’s wildlife conservation for you! The estimate is less than 50 in all Montana.

  14. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    And it was a hunter that killed the last breeding jaguar female in Arizona in 1963.

  15. Si'vet Avatar

    Elk I’ve only seen 3 in my life.. Is William correct on the numbers?? If so, I’d have to agree, those numbers are to low for any harvest. I am going to check but I don’t think any harvest in Idaho is legal.. I’ll check

  16. jon Avatar

    William, I was gonna say the same thing. How disgusting of them. Only 50 wolverines and they are still allowed to be trapped and killed. How very disgusting to say the least. What is the point in trapping and killling wolverines? I gotta tell you, I had debates with hunters and I have come to realize there a good deal of hunters would rather shoot a jaguar if they had the chance than take a picture of one.

  17. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    A hunter killed the last breeding jaguar female in 1963- I guess the animal had less value keeping the species going in the wild and looked great in his den.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’ve heard the fence will never be completed. There is too much opposition, especially as the fence moves off of what is primarily public land.

    I have also heard modifications for wildlife and prevention of flooding are being made.

  19. jon Avatar

    You’re right about that Ralph. Ranchers don’t want them back. You know how ranchers usually end up getting their way. Plus you have the threat of hunters and poachers.

  20. vielfrass Avatar

    Great news. Nice to see something positive. Que viva los tigres!!

  21. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think maybe the Administration is coming around as they see the prospects for Democrats weak in the elections this fall.

    If you look at the polls, there has not been a swell of support for Republicans just disillusionment inside the Democrat’s base and Democratic Independents.

    Mid-term elections are elections of the party bases. A large number of the pure Independents and weak partisans do not show up in the mid-term election.

    There is even a name for this strong relationship in the election literature — “surge and decline.” The surge is a lot of weakly committed, but somewhat excited voters in the presidential year. The decline is the retreat to both parties’ base in the congressional mid-term year.

  22. Carl Avatar

    I think this will hurt other endangered species in the southwest because the funds will now go for the jaguar instead or the red wolf or california condors. Funding never goes up for this program it justs gets moved around between species. It would make more sense to use these funds to support the jaguar through the Jaguar Corridor Iniative (JCI) in Central and South America or to list the wolverine than to spend the funds on a ghost in the USA.

  23. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You might be right about the money being moved around, but the overturning of bad old regulations and creation of new regulations to benefit the listed species can be as important as money, although in the end there is usually no complete substitute for money.

  24. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    The beauty part of the jaguar being listed should mean that they have full protection, unlike the Mexican wolves which have more flexibility in management.

  25. Derrick Bosco Avatar
    Derrick Bosco

    The Jaguar being an apex would most likely have the largest range and therefore result in larger tracks of land being designated critical habitat. Without a doubt they should work with Mexico in creating a corridor to the population existing in the Sonora

  26. Demarcated Landscapes Avatar

    There are definitely orgs working in Mexico to ensure connectivity to the more robust population in Sonora- Northern Jaguar Project for one. We disagree that the jaguar is a ghost in the southwest- there are a lot more sightings, tracks, reports, etc. than are ever officially verified but which still indicate more of a presence than “ghost” would suggest.

    As far as the wall, Ralph- we wouldn’t put too much faith in those modifications. We heard that when Macho B was alive, he wouldn’t go near the vehicle barriers – even though he could have easily passed through them. If you watch the Sierra Club Wild v. Wall video (youtube), you’ll see even tiny critters trapped at the wall. One in particular- a whip snake at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument- made repeated attempts to get through the wall and finally gave up- even though there was a ‘wildlife gap’ (a small opening slightly larger than a mail slot) just 15 m down the fence. Maybe, over time, wild animals will develop ‘search images’ for gaps in the wall, but we should really just focus on taking it back down and stopping the rest from getting built.

  27. gline Avatar

    This is good news.

  28. vickif Avatar

    Listing jaguars is a definite benefit in atleast one aspect, habitat preservation. Far more animals than the cats will benefit from it.

    The wall may never be complete, but increasing broder patrol might help to thwart the efforts of not only those who cross the border illegaly, but those who would be poaching?

    You can count on ranchers being anti-predator, but not just for fear of predation. When they increase habitat preservation, it will possibley effect their grazing rights.

    Jaguars need water, which is a hot and rare commodity in the Sonora. Ranchers will see jags as competition. Count on their outrage.

    But their is a huge abundance of plants and animals in Arizona that are in need of protection. Some cacti are found nowhere else in the world, and Gila Monsters are low in numbers but highly valued for medicinal use, therefore need protected.

    Not to mention the diamond back rattler, which is thought to be steadily declining due to sever habitat encroachment and the same fears people excercise toward wolves, bears and cats. Rattlers are killed just for being rattlers.

    Obama should give businesses some sort of break for purchasing land for conservation. The need for (For every acre Walmart purchases to build on, it purchases one for conservation…a practice that should not only be applauded, but perhaps mandated. No, it isn’t as good as slowing building, but it a hell of a lot better than the nothing most businesses do.) We have to start saving land, or we will have no place to keep anything endangered.

  29. cc Avatar

    Unfortunately, any jaguar recovery in the states will depend on their recovery in northern Mexico.

    Is there still enough habitat and prey to support both cougars and jaguars in the Southwest?

  30. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    CC, I would think both cats would be supported in the Southwest since they coexist in Mexico as well.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan