Where is the Northern Jaguar Reserve located?
The Northern Jaguar Reserve is tucked away in the heart of an extremely remote, rugged area of northeastern Sonora in the foothills of the Sierra Madre. The reserve is approximately 125 miles due south of Douglas, Arizona.
How many jaguars are on the reserve?
No one knows for certain, and poaching nearby remains a serious threat, but the best estimate is that 80 to 120 jaguars inhabit a 1,500-square-mile zone surrounding the Río Aros and the Río Bavispe. The Northern Jaguar Reserve lies at the center of this larger region, while constituting prime jaguar habitat and representing the area with the highest number of jaguar sightings.
Can I visit the reserve?
Even though the Northern Jaguar Reserve is less than a couple hundred miles from the U.S. border as the jaguar walks, it cannot be stated enough that the area and the roads leading to the reserve can be extremely rough to travel. This remoteness is why it remains such a biological treasure. Unfortunately, the reserve is still in its infancy and important management decisions are being resolved. At this time there simply isn’t the infrastructure to allow for visitors.
What volunteer opportunities are there at the reserve?
In the future, we expect to need volunteer assistance in fixing up some of the reserve infrastructure and buildings. But first we are in the process of determining our management priorities, and until that time, this work must wait. We also need occasional help from volunteer scientists and researchers experienced in varying fields to assist with inventorying and monitoring species, yet be forewarned that there are minimal opportunities to work hands-on with large predators. Please contact us if you think your skills would be an asset to our work so that we may discuss possibilities.
How can I get involved with NJP?
The first thing you can do is contribute to the reserve through NJP’s Stewardship and Long-term Management Fund. We run a grassroots, no-fluff operation, and this support is critical for the reserve’s ongoing success (and is very much appreciated). Beyond that, we are always looking for volunteers to help organize fundraising events and find new ways to publicize our work for jaguar conservation. Please contact us if this interests you.
Are jaguars endangered in Mexico?
Yes. Jaguars are a protected species in Mexico, just like in the United States, and killing them is illegal. Yet regulations and protection mechanisms are often inadequate. As a result, poaching still presents a sizeable danger to the species.
Where did jaguars historically roam in the U.S.?
As recently as 100 years ago, jaguars ventured as far north as the Grand Canyon and from Texas to southern California. Roughly one-third of Arizona and New Mexico contain suitable habitat for jaguars today. Multiple cats have been sighted in the Southwest in the last decade, marking the species’ return to this country.
How do I report a jaguar sighting in the U.S.?
If you believe you have spotted a jaguar in the United States, first off, consider yourself very lucky. Many people dream of and wait their entire lives for even a glimpse of these elusive cats. To have your sighting investigated and added to the official record, please contact the appropriate agency within your state:
Arizona Game & Fish Department (623) 236-7573
New Mexico Department of Game & Fish (505) 522-9796
You can also contact NJP with details so that we can direct this information to the appropriate individuals working in the conservation field who will be able to help ensure that your report is evaluated objectively.
How will the U.S. border wall influence jaguar migration?
It is pretty much universally accepted that the border wall would seal off the jaguar from the United States. NJP is opposed to the wall’s construction because of the devastating impacts it will have on wildlife. For thousands of years, there has been a northward and southward migration of species through the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, made possible because there were no barriers to obstruct their movements. Not only will the jaguar’s movements be impeded, other species – from bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope to bison and black bears – will share the same fate. The loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat as well as increased human activity in otherwise remote areas will only serve to further compromise the health of our shared environment.
Is NJP available to come speak to my school group or organization?
If you are in Tucson or a surrounding community, then absolutely! We love sharing information about jaguar conservation with people of all ages. Please contact us for more details. Presentations outside of southern Arizona are definitely of interest, though we generally try to plan more than one event in an area at the same time, with at least one of these geared toward raising funds for the reserve. Let us know if you are interested in hosting NJP in your area, and we’ll be happy to explore the possibilities.
What’s the story behind NJP’s logo?
In 1958, an archaeologist uncovered a small, carved conch shell pendant in a rock-and-earth mound in Benton County, Missouri. The pendant revealed unmistakable features of a jaguar – from the animal’s body shape and the nature of its spots to the form of its head, ears, and tail. Although no one knows its exact age and origin, it parallels important religious motifs seen throughout Mesoamerica. In 2007, the University of Missouri generously agreed to allow NJP to use the image as our logo.
Where can I learn more about jaguars?
Our top recommendation would be Borderland Jaguars: Tigres de la Frontera by David Brown and NJP board member Carlos A. López González (published by University of Utah Press). This captivating and definitive book documents human-jaguar contact in the Southwest and presents jaguar folklore from both sides of the border. Borderland Jaguars also provides a natural history of the wild cat, discussing its distribution, habitats, and hunting and breeding characteristics before concluding with a proposed conservation plan.