Dr. Tony Povilitis, who directs the Jaguar Habitat Campaign, is working to close a huge gap in conservation efforts for the U.S. Southwest. Despite agency initiatives* intended to help wildlife move through an increasingly “developed” (de-naturalized) landscape in the American West, none have focused on the urgent need to stem the loss of habitat connectivity for three highly endangered wild carnivores of the Southwest – jaguar, Mexican wolf, and ocelot. This salient conservation gap exists despite the fact that all three animals now have federal recovery plans ongoing or underway to restore them as wild populations. The time for on-the-ground conservation work – through a special task force led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (the agency directly responsible for the nation’s endangered wildlife and for species recovery) – is now. Not next year, not in 2015 or some other far away date, but now! Habitat in Arizona and New Mexico, home to these species, is being shredded every year by urbanization, expanding agriculture, energy development projects, new mining projects, highway projects, etc. Key remaining open space areas must be protected through a focused, concerted effort by local, state, and federal agencies, private landowners, and conservation groups, guided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. If you, detect some impatience in these words you’re not off the mark. After literally decades of meetings, deliberations, studies, and plans for conserving these endangered species there is still no on-the-ground action to protect vital habitat linkages for them in Arizona and New Mexico. A simple drive tour around southeastern Arizona, for example, makes obvious the urgency of this matter!
Archive for May, 2011
* Examples include: