Tucson, Ariz. (March 16, 2021) - This week, a new, peer-reviewed scientific study finds that there is far more potential jaguar habitat in the U.S. than was previously thought. Scientists identified an area of more than 20 million acres that could support jaguars in the U.S., 27 times the size of designated critical habitat.
The results, published in the journal Oryx, are based on a review of 12 habitat models for jaguars within Arizona and New Mexico, conclusively identifying areas suitable for the recovery of these wild cats. Based on the expanded habitat area, the authors conclude that findings uncover new opportunities for jaguar conservation in North America that could address threats from habitat loss, climate change, and border infrastructure.
Bryan Bird, Director for Southwest Programs at Defenders of Wildlife and one of the study's co-authors, issued this statement:
"This fresh look at jaguar habitat in the U.S. identifies a much larger area that could support many more of these big cats. This expanded area of the Southwest is 27 times larger than the current designated critical habitat. We hope these findings will inspire renewed cooperation and result in more resident jaguars in the U.S."