Save-a-Spot for Jaguars
The remote, rugged, and dramatic landscape of the Northern Jaguar Reserve, only 125 miles south of the border, has had the highest number of northern jaguar sightings in recent years, including females and their cubs. At the very heart of this area, the Northern Jaguar Project and our Mexican conservation partner, Naturalia, established one of the last truly wild refuges for the species. This important breeding ground is the source for any jaguars moving north into the United States.
In November 2011, a few days before Thanksgiving, a professional hunting guide encountered an adult male jaguar in the mountains of southeastern Arizona. He realized it was the experience of a lifetime, and described it as “a dream come true.” His was the first documented sighting of the elusive jaguar north of the U.S.-Mexico border since the tragic death of “Macho B” nearly three years ago. We know it won’t be the last.
The Arizona jaguar sighting speaks to the importance of our 50,000-acre Northern Jaguar Reserve as a cornerstone of jaguar recovery. Our essential safety zone at the reserve provides a place of sanctuary for breeding females, free from the ongoing threats of illegal poaching and habitat destruction.
Yet jaguars need room to roam, as can be seen from the recent chance encounter between the hunter and the immigrant jaguar in Cochise County. We must perpetuate a core reserve of adequate size to fully protect our breeding jaguar population and create an expanded safe haven for these vulnerable wild cats. To accomplish this, we are increasing the size of the reserve, and we need your help to Save a Spot for Jaguars.
In 2011, we purchased Rancho El Carricito (350 acres), a strategically placed inholding with prime frontage along the Río Aros, extremely desirable for wildlife and bird observation. We also purchased Rancho Las Tésotas (6,000 acres), which has good potential for jaguars, more than 12 miles of Río Aros frontage, and an inholding near the reserve’s entrance with some of the best preserved grasslands in the region.
Now, we have a prime opportunity to acquire two ranches for which we have signed letters of intent for purchase. These ranches will secure crucial acreage to expand the reserve’s boundaries and reduce poaching and other threats to jaguars. Cajón Babizoso (5,200 acres) has had very little cattle grazing in recent years and is dominated by Sinaloan thornscrub and oak groves. Tinaja Ahogadora (2,000 acres) has the same habitats and general characteristics, although it is still an active cattle ranch. Its name comes from a series of natural rock pools in deep canyons with year-round water, where both domestic animals and wildlife have drowned.
These properties were prioritized for purchase due to their ecological features, west-facing slopes of the Sierra Zetasora, frontage on the Río Yaqui, and the high likelihood of jaguar occurrence. The ranches provide a link to the area that old-timers and hunters say was the center of the northern jaguar population during the 1930s.
You can adopt this critical jaguar habitat at the amazing price of only $45 per acre. Your support will enable us to enlarge the reserve to attract and maintain breeding jaguars – individuals, like the jaguar sighted in Arizona, who will one day make their way north across the border and reoccupy former jaguar habitat. Please consider adopting as many acres as you can.