Habitat Linkages

FREEDOM TO ROAM  (visit our map to view key linkage habitats)

Moving about is a life and death matter for jaguars. As North America’s largest cat and largest terrestrial predator (excepting bears), the jaguar is often on the go.

It’s all about securing enough prey over a big enough area, avoiding conflicts with other animals (including of course humans), having a variety of hideaways (for matters such as raising cubs), and learning, through trial and error, where the best places are at difference times of the year in each neck of the woods. Jaguars surely enjoy their travels through the landscape, just as we do.

The jaguar must also roam in order to reoccupy areas of former habitat and extend its geographic range. For jaguars to make a come back in Arizona and New Mexico after having been trapped and shot out decades ago, they must be able to move freely across the international border, and reclaim lost terrain northward.

Much of what remains of the world’s northernmost jaguar population (now extremely endangered) is located in the nearby state of Sonora, Mexico. Those jaguars are literally under the gun from ranchers and poachers, but face less development pressure on their habitat than in Arizona.

A traveling jaguar must at times leave larger blocks of habitat (places least developed, like national forest lands) and venture through what biologists call “habitat corridors” or “linkages.” These areas have some development, but not to a degree that makes it impossible for a wild animal to pass through.

The future of the jaguar, and of mountain lion, black bear, Mexican wolf, pronghorn antelope, desert bighorn, and even more common species such as mule and white-tailed deer, depends on the existence of wildlife movement corridors through or around heavily developed lands.

Fortunately, habitat linkage zones and corridors have been identified in Arizona and New Mexico (for more background see lifenet-sky-islands-region). Fortunately also is the growing recognition that these areas urgently need protection. For example, in 2007, the Western Governor’s Association passed a resolution to support habitat linkage conservation, and subsequently established its Western Wildlife Habitat Council. And in Arizona, a host of federal, state, and private organizations formed the Arizona Wildlife Linkage Work Group .

Protection for linkage areas must be “fast tracked” given the horrid speed of land development, especially in Arizona. You’ll get a real sense for this by browsing information on the following pages — especially the photos. We provide important information on each habitat linkage for jaguar, describe the threats and what needs to be done.

We challenge you to help alert the Governors of Arizona and New Mexico, county officials, members of Congress, natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, private landowners, and the general public as to the urgency of protecting these areas. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss, or have important information to add here.

Here’s a Page Index to Key Habitat Linkage Areas:
Page 1 Freedom to Roam (Introduction)
Page 2 Cross Border Linkages:
Page 3 Peloncillo Mountains-Mexico
Page 4 Chiricahua Mountains-Mexico
Page 5 San Pedro Valley-Mexico
Page 6 Patagonia/Huachuca Mountains-Mexico
Page 7 Tumacacori Highlands-Mexico
Page 8 Altar Valley/Baboquivari Mountains-Mexico
Page 9 Cross Interstate Highway Linkages:
Page 10 Pinaleno Mountains-Dos Cabezas/Chiricahua Mountains
Page 11 Little Dragoon Mountains
Page 12 Rincon Mountains-Santa Rita/Whetstone Mountains
Page 13 Tumacacori Highlands-Santa Rita Mountains
Page 14 North Peloncillo-South Peloncillo Mountains
Page 15 Other Linkages:
Page 16 Chiricahua Mountains-Dragoon Mountains
Page 17 Huachuca Mountains/Canelo Hills-Whetstone Mountains
Page 18 Santa Rita Mountains-Patagonia Mountains
NOTE: This section “Habitat Linkages” is currently being updated (May 2011)  so please be patient as we continue to add and improve information.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

8 Responses to “Habitat Linkages”

  1. Andrea Gaines Says:

    Thank goodness for this blog! It is so helpful, and encouraging, to see this kind of plain-fact, common-sense language about what jaguars need and what can do to help them. Linking (literally) the fate of the jaguar in the wild to the fate of other species in the wild is also very enlightening — very reinforcing. We all know it .. sense it … but it is helpful to see the cat in the context of mountain lion survival, pronghorn survival, Mexican wolf survival, etc.

    I’m so grateful, Tony and others, to be involved in this project. Lets go!

  2. Protecting Habitat Corridors: Arizona Workshops « Says:

    […] These workshops can be extremely useful for working to protect jaguar habitat linkages. […]

  3. Rick Abreu Says:

    My buddy Eddie Gallegos has seen a grayish black jaguar 3 weeks ago here in Las Vegas New Mexico take 2 24′ foot jumps across the 47 ‘ foot wide road directly in front of his vehicle…then it stopped and turned to look at him. The town is at 6,500’ feet above sea level alongside the East slope side of the foothills of the Sangre de Christos Mountains in the Rocky Mountain Range. Last week a lady also saw this same creature in her back yard and she told some workers doing handyman labor on her property so these guys told Eddy about her siting.
    Have a nice day: call me; Rick Abreu 505 426-0227 505 429-1058
    J’ll hook you up with Eddy to confirm
    We are about 300 to 400 miles from the southern Arizona Tucson area as well as from the southern Texas area these critters are seen regularly. I read that these animals used to range into Missouri and either they never left or they are coming back. We have trophy sized and almost world record class actual mountain lions living here by Las Vegas in Sebastion Canyon behind the United World College of the American West (started by Armand Hammer) in Montezuma, NM only 3 miles from where Eddy and this lady saw this Jaguar over here. The large forest fires earlier this summer 2011 along the Arizona-NM border and near Gila Wilderness probably has forced these critters northward. The border of Mexico fence is not making matters any easier for these animals to roam freely either. Eddy G has been as freaked out as that lady because Edyy has lived here all of his life at 68+ years old and never thought he’d see something like this

  4. Sshanti Says:

    Exciting news~ Camera network will focus on jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico>

  5. jaguarhabitatusa Says:

    Yes, this is a huge investment by the federal government to the tune of $771,000 to study jaguar occurrence in Arizona and New Mexico.

    Ironically, at the same time, the US Fish & Wildlife Service bemoans a lack of funding when asked to provide staff and financing to collaboratively protect vanishing habitat for jaguar, Mexican wolf, and other endangered wildlife for which it is directly responsible.

    The Southwest is facing a very serious habitat fragmentation crisis. Private organizations and individuals struggling to address this crisis are simply overwhelmed and under-resourced.

    And time is running out…

    Without habitat protection, jaguars cannot survive, no matter how much money goes toward more research.

    Please urge the US Fish & Wildlife Service to make habitat conservation, and especially protection of remaining habitat linkages, the number 1 priority.


  6. Sshanti Says:

    The Jaguars are listed under the Endangered Species Act, which is administered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
    “No critical habitat rules have been published for the jaguar, No conservation plans have been created for jaguar”
    Source- http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=A040#crithab

    I will continue to study and sign online petitions concerning the survival of the Jaguar, and endangered species in general need to be taken more seriously. In the meantime, I wish for no harm to come to the Jaguars recently sighted. I realize your organization has the intelligence to educate the public, and if you could compose more petitions/alerts, etc. to raise awareness, I would gladly spend time spreading the word via the internet and word of mouth.
    Time may be running out, but I won’t give up on these awesome creatures. Please let us know what we, the concerned citizens can do to help. Thank you.

  7. jaguarhabitatusa Says:

    Thank you, Sshanti, for your information, and kind thoughts and great suggestions!

    Today you’ve inspired us to write the following letter to Daniel M. Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240:

    “Please provide staff in Arizona and New Mexico to protect connectivity habitat for the endangered jaguar and Mexican wolf.

    Habitat fragmentation is a huge problem in the region. To be sure, recovery goals for jaguar and Mexican wolf cannot be met unless habitat corridors and linkages are protected.

    Regional US Fish and Wildlife Service officials say that they do not have staff and resources to address this problem.
    As the nation’s lead agency for endangered wildlife, The US Fish and Wildlife Service has the responsibility to work with other public agencies, local and state governments, and the private sector to recover these endangered species.

    Please reply to this letter, indicating what resources your agency will apply toward stemming habitat fragmentation and conserving habitat connectivity for jaguar and Mexican wolf.”

    You may want to also send a letter such as this or even create an online petition with a similar message (if so, we can post the link on our Welcome page and otherwise spread it around).



  8. Susan Says:

    Comments Needed by August 9th–
    Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Designation of Critical Habitat for the Jaguar > (copy/paste) >

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