The Rangelands West collection includes articles, websites, reports, and multimedia resources focused on issues relevant to the Western U.S. Also included are resources emanating from the 19 land-grant universitires that are members of the Rangelands Partnership and made available throught their respective state Rangelands websites.
Jaguars Are Returning to Southern Arizona
University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, CCT
All wild cats are important to ecosystem functioning because they are apex predators and therefore impact the entire food chain. In Southern Arizona, the top predator is the mountain lion, but over the last 15 years, solitary male jaguars, typically one at any given time, have migrated from Northern Mexico into Southern Arizona and New Mexico. As an endangered species, the jaguar has ignited a series of controversial lawsuits and Federal actions that has resulted in the designation of critical habitat in several mountain ranges in this region of the U.S. This habitat designation has raised many concerns in the ranching community that operates on and in some cases owns the land within these boundaries. Although the designation fuels the perception that the ranching livelihood is under threat, It’s unlikely that the designation in itself will have any impact on the ranching operations within jaguar critical habitat. However, the protection of these large, unfragmented open spaces that is mutually critical for both the jaguar and the ranchers and may ultimately highlight the importance of these ranching operations to continued jaguar vitality in the region.