Federal wildlife officials reject petition for jaguar reintroduction, environmentalists say
SILVER CITY, N.M. — Environmentalists say federal wildlife officials rejected a petition to reintroduce the jaguar to the southwestern U.S. through New Mexico.
In 2022, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help reintroduce the jaguar to the region. They wanted to do it by launching an experimental population in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
However, the center claims Fish and Wildlife Service officials said “recovery of the species could be achieved without the presence of jaguars in the Gila National Forest.”
As late as the 1960s, jaguars inhabited areas of New Mexico. However, jaguars haven’t been seen in New Mexico since the 1990s. Occasionally, jaguars still pop up in Arizona.
The center issued a statement on the decision:
“This is a heartbreaking example of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s continued failure to take proactive steps to bring jaguars back to their native range. Federal officials should be aiding jaguar recovery, not making excuses that justify their continued inaction. Jaguars belong in the United States, and we won’t stop fighting to protect and recover these magnificent cats.”
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