Federal Jaguar Protection Could Affect Trappers in Arizona, New Mexico

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to create a critical jaguar habitat zone in parts of Arizona and New Mexico could lead to trapping bans in those areas. The proposed zone is a 838,232-acre portion of the two states.

“That means federal agencies cannot fund or authorize any activities that might ‘adversely modify’ the earmarked land, which covers four stretches of mountain in southeastern Arizona, a section of the Peloncillo Mountains on the Arizona–New Mexico border, and a tiny piece of New Mexico’s San Luis Mountains,” explains Susan H. Greenberg in a Scientific American article.

Trapping could be heavily regulated or banned in the critical jaguar habitat zone if the proposal is put into effect. The plan will now go through a period of peer review, public comment and economic analysis before the U.S.F.W.S. decides on whether to approve it. The National Trappers Association is aware of the issue and plans to address the U.S.F.W.S. before comments are closed.

Jaguars, which are the third-largest cats in the world behind lions and tigers, have not had known breeding populations in any part of the U.S. since the 1960s, but males have been spotted irregularly crossing into the Southwest from Mexico. The closest breeding population to the U.S. is more than 200 kilometers south of Arizona in Mexico’s state of Sonora, according to the Scientific American article.

“Although the designated area represents the northernmost part of the jaguar’s range, the U.S.F.W.S. proposal argues that peripheral populations are essential to the species because their adaptation to different environmental conditions strengthens evolutionary diversity,” Greenberg wrote.

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2 thoughts on “Federal Jaguar Protection Could Affect Trappers in Arizona, New Mexico

  1. I have lived in Southwestern New Mexico all my life and have only seen in the wild one. I have been a trapper and hunter all my life and am now a rancher and if the ban on trapping is put in all that will be is lots of coyotes . The wolfs are reacking havoc on the ranchers as it is just through another can of gas in ther and make it even harder. This is stupid.

  2. The last jaguar,that was being observed,in Arizona,by USFWS,was caught and died in a snare set by a USFWS trapper,not a legal fur trapper. There is no reason to restrict legal fur trapping,in Arizona or New Mexico,at this time,they are only trying to create an excuse to limit trapping to protect their failed experimental,nonessential Mexican Wolf Program,which both NMDGF and AZG&F have dropped support of,due to the history of mismanaged failure,by USFWS.USFWS is the bully on the block and they are flexing their muscles and threatening NMDGF and AZG&F,with this proposed jaguar protection zone.In reality,the biggest threat to the jaguar,in the U.S.,is USFWS,itself.

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