October 14, 2013
By Tony Paniagua, Arizona Public Media
The jaguar is the largest wild cat in the Americas. Residents in Arizona live relatively close to a breeding population of these felines.
They can be found in our neighbor to the south – in the state of Sonora, Mexico. People there are working hard to protect the animal.
The jaguars are living in rugged and isolated territory where they are being protected from hunting or other human activity.
Northern Jaguar Project was established in 2003 in partnership with Naturalia, a Mexican organization based in Mexico City that has an office in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora.
The group started out by buying the initial ranches for the Northern Jaguar Preserve, which has now grown to 50,000 acres, according to Diana Hadley, president of the Northern Jaguar Project’s board of directors.
“It’s 120 miles south of Douglas…and it is a habitat that is both tropical deciduous forest and Sinaloan thorn scrub…it is really rugged and really hard to get to, which is the reason that the jaguars are still there,” Hadley explained.
José Manuel Pérez is one of the people working with these groups. He is an animal scientist with another group, Cuenca Los Ojos Foundation, which focuses on biological diversity along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We try to restore the corridors for wildlife,” he said. “For jaguars, for big mammals and birds – hummingbirds – and insects.”
The groups are holding a fundraising raffle at the Jane Hamilton Fine Art gallery in Tucson on October 25 to raise money for their work.