CONSERVATION

The American Society of Mammalogists backs jaguar recovery in the U.S. 

See its policy resolution and letter to the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Arizona Workgroup identifies essential habitat: Can we make good on this opportunity to protect it?

Habitat “linkage zones” are land areas that geographically connect the bigger “blocks” of habitat so vital to jaguars and many other wildlife species. Go to arizona_wildlife_linkages_map_version_1and scroll to the bottom. You’ll see that there are about 30 “linkages” identified in the extremely important jaguar habitat area of southeastern Arizona. The “fracture zones” are areas where human development make the presence of jaguars and many other kinds of wildlife very difficult.

The linkage areas urgently need protection so that our wildlife populations can be conserved and (in the case of the jaguar) restored. Nature is doomed when shattered into pieces!

The wildlife linkages map and related documents were produced by the Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup, a collaborative effort between nine state and federal public agencies and nonprofit organizations. http://www.azdot.gov/Highways/OES/AZ_WildLife_Linkages/workgroup.asp

The Workgroup’s mission is “To identify and promote wildlife habitat connectivity using a collaborative, science based effort to provide safe passage for people and wildlife”.
Barriers that block wildlife include highways, urbanization, agricultural development, large mining areas, large canals (like the Central Arizona Project), some military activities, some border security measures, and river de-watering.

The Workgroup wants its “Arizona Wildlife Linkages Assessment” to help state/federal agencies, county planners, land conservancies, tribes, private landowners and other organizations work together with a comprehensive, landscape-scale approach toward conservation and highway safety.

With your help, the Jaguar Habitat Campaign will be looking at ways to advance this opportunity to protect habitat for jaguar and other wildlife!

For now, you may want to send a word of appreciation to Bruce D. Eilerts and Siobhan E. Nordhaugen of the Arizona Department of Transporation, and to Ray Schweinsburg of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Email them all using arizonalinkages@azdot.gov

Legislation would help protect vital jaguar habitat
 
The jaguar roams a backcountry area of the Coronado National Forest located about 50 miles south of Tucson, Arizona  residentjaguars1. A high level of protection for this area is crucial if jaguars are to make a genuine comeback in the US — it is one of those “core blocks” of habitat in Arizona with enough turf for jaguars to meet many of their needs (food, water, security from disturbance, maybe even a mate).

It also is a vital habitat movement “corridor” that can allow jaguars to move north and east into other areas of southern Arizona. This area includes three small mountain ranges: Tumacacori Mtns, the Atascosa, Mtns, and the Pajarito Mtns.
 
The danger is that, with Arizona’s skyrocketing human population, we can expect more and more pressure on the US Forest Service to build more roads, allow even more vehicle access to the backcountry, and approve mining and other developments. All of this would mean greater threats and disturbance to jaguars and other wildlife.
 
Some good news is that the proposed Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act would help safeguard 83,500 acres of jaguar habitat for the Tumacacori-Atascosa-Pajarito Mountains by placing the area under the National Wilderness Preservation System.
 
According to Congressman Raúl of Arizona, the bill’s chief sponsor, more than 200 local and statewide organizations support wilderness designation for the Highlands, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the Arizona Wildlife Federation, the Arizona Ecumenical Council, university-accredited scientists, and 7 nearby Green Valley homeowners’ associations. After a year of consultations and accommodations, wilderness advocates and the local rancher who has the largest grazing allotment in the area signed a joint letter stating their mutual support for the proposal. The bill enjoys an official endorsement from the Tubac Chamber of Commerce, as well as the support of more than 100 southern Arizona businesses.
 
But the bill needs more co-sponsors and support from other members of Congress, and matching legislation is the US Senate.
 
So it needs the voice of more citizens, like you and me. 
 
Contact your representative in Congress about House Bill HR 3287 — the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act. It’s a good time also to reach presidential candidate Senator John McCain on the matter.
 
Also, check out Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands.
 
Help make jaguars happy! 
 

Help plan the future of our national forests – to include the jaguar!
 
The US Forest Service, the agency that administers our national forest lands, will be revising its forest plans, including the one for the Coronado National Forest (last revised in 1986) and those for other national forests in the jaguar’s Southwest.
 
These plans need to be genuinely “wildlife friendly” to restore the jaguar and dozens of other endangered species in the Southwest. 
 
The message to the Forest Service must be: please protect the core habitat areas and the habitat linkages connecting them. With explosive land development in the Southwest, public lands have a pivotal role in the protection and recovery of wildlife.
 
Now is the time to build on the mounting concern among citizens in the Southwest and around the country that we are quickly losing our natural world.
 
The forest planning team coronado-plan@fs.fed.us, based on public input thus far, has identified “preservation of open space” and “ecosystem restoration” among primary considerations in the revised plan for the Coronado National Forest. They need to add jaguar and endangered species recovery to that list.
 
Let’s let the US Forest Service know that we want the jaguar and other endangered wildlife back, and that forest planning needs to ensure that!
 
Coronado National Forest
ATTN: Plan Revision
300 W. Congress St.
Tucson, AZ 85701
 
Or you can call 520.388.8300, and tell the receptionist you want to speak to someone about the Plan Revision.
 
Let’s make tracks for the jaguar when there’s moisture on the ground!
 

Cheers! Saludos! Jaguar reserve created in nearby Mexico

A 45,000-acre private reserve has been established in Sonoran, Mexico, between the Rio Aros and Rio Yaqui, over a 100 miles from the Arizona border.  The reserve was created through joint efforts of Naturalia (Mexico), the Northern Jaguar Project, Defenders of Wildlife and others concerned about illegal killing of jaguars and loss of habitat in northern Mexico.  A population of 80 to 120 jaguars is estimated for the reserve and surrounding areas. The reserve’s program includes research, environmental education, and on-site “jaguar guardians.”

Jaguars in Sonora, Mexico, and in Arizona/New Mexico, USA belong to the same highly endangered population. Expanded efforts to protect the jaguar and its habitat on both sides of the border are absolutely essential to the recovery of this northernmost jaguar population.

Now how about a jaguar reserve on the US side of the border…

Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan

Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan helps check runaway land development through a system of parks and preserves. For example, the creation of the Colossal Cave Mountain Park and the Cienega Creek Natural Preserve keep hope alive for the jaguar and other wild species that need to move between Arizona’s Rincon Mountains and the Santa Rita/Whetstone Mountains. Without such habitat connectivity the jaguar will not be able to recover its numbers and restore its population in southern Arizona.

Nearby Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties desperately need similar conservation plans. If you live in one of these countries, or for that matter in any other county in southeastern Arizona/southwestern New Mexico, there’s much work to be done in getting the process underway. A good first step is to discuss the need with your friendly county commissioner or planner to work out a strategy. 

Stay tuned to this website…for more. Meanwhile, for a broad look at county and local community planning for a livable environment (both for people and wildlife) see “Saving America’s Countryside” by Samuel Stokes and others (The Johns Hopkins University Press).

Conservation planning is inevitable to avoid a landscape in ruin. The question for the Southwest is: Will it happen in time for the jaguar?

 More coming soon! Relevant information that you send to us will be incorporated. Thank you!

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2 Responses to “CONSERVATION”

  1. M. Skroch Says:

    Great work Tony.

    A good component of Conservation Opportunities page could be the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act, HR 3287 that would provide the highest level of protection for 85,000 acres of the jaguar’s habitat in the U.S. Let us know how we can help.

  2. jaguarhabitatusa Says:

    Matt,

    Thank you for the complement, and especially for the suggestion. We’ve gladly obliged, and have quickly added information on the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act. Please send us anything further we should add, especially in connection with what folks can do to see this become a reality.

    Keep up the great work at the Sky Island Alliance!
    http://www.skyislandalliance.org/

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