By Stephen Leahy*
In announcing that they are giving up efforts to help the jaguar population recover, U.S. authorities have handed a death sentence to the big cat that was once plentiful along the border with Mexico.
Jan 28 (Tierramérica).- Jaguars have no place in the United States, although a handful still roam the Southwest. Environmentalists suspect the real reason U.S. officials will let the jaguar become extinct is the “security” wall being built along the Mexican border.
Ecologists have long warned that the border wall — actually a series of walls — will have big impacts on wildlife and the region’s fragile and unique ecology.
“There is no question that jaguars (Panthera onca) in the U.S. and northern Mexico would be significantly affected by the wall,” says Joe Cook, expert in mammal biology at the University of New Mexico.
“As best we can tell, the few remaining U.S. jaguars are part of a larger population based in Northern Mexico,” Cook told Tierramérica.