Thursday, May 1, 2008

The border wall will drive jaguars to extinction in the United States

The Center for Biological Diversity is bringing suit to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a recovery plan for jaguars in southern Arizona. Listed under the Endangered Species Act, the jaguar is one of the first species that will be driven to extinction by the border wall. If the walls that are on the books for 2008 are built, the Sonoran pronghorn, cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, ocelot, jaguarundi, and a number of other species will follow the jauar into oblivion. While the border-wide waiver of laws that DHS Secretary Chertoff issued on April 1 exempts the activities of the Department of Homeland Security from 36 federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act, U.S. Fish and Wildlife is still required to obey the law and develop recovery plans for critically endnagered species. The No Border Wall Coalition applauds the Center for Biological Diversity's efforts to compel the federal government to uphold federal environmental laws.

For Immediate Release, April 30, 2008

Silver City, N.M.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to compel development of a recovery plan and critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. The suit challenges a “finding,” signed by Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall, that a recovery plan would not promote the conservation of the jaguar.

The finding was signed January 7, 2008, four months after the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a biological opinion that served as a green light — by stating that there would be no jeopardy to the survival of the jaguar — for construction of a border wall that is now rising along the Arizona border with Sonora, Mexico in regions where jaguars roam.

Construction of the wall will end the ongoing jaguar recolonization of former habitats in the United States. Four male jaguars, identifiable by the individual pattern of their rosettes, have been photographed in the United States since 1996, including one photographed repeatedly in southern Arizona over the past 12 years. Other unconfirmed jaguars have also been reported.


Fish and Wildlife’s finding, which was not subject to public review, relies on regulatory loopholes allowing the Service to forgo development of recovery plans in extraordinary circumstances, such as when “the species’ historic and current ranges occur entirely under the jurisdiction of other countries.” However, both the jaguar’s historic U.S. range from California through the Carolinas and its current U.S. range in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico disqualify it from this exemption.

“The American jaguar has been exterminated from all but a tiny sliver of its vast historic range in the United States,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “A recovery plan is a science-based document that would help the jaguar reclaim and eventually be secure in more of its native ecosystems.”

Robinson added: “We will not let the Bush administration, now walling off the border, doom the jaguar to extinction in its northern range.”

The finding directly contradicts the assessments of independent biologists that a science-based recovery plan is imperative for the jaguar. In September 2006, Dr. Brian Miller and Dr. Howard Quigley, both members of the interagency Jaguar Conservation Team’s Scientific Advisory Group, wrote the Fish and Wildlife Service to request appointment of a jaguar recovery team. The primary role of a recovery team is to craft a recovery plan.

Dr. Miller has studied wild jaguars in Jalisco, Mexico. Today Dr. Miller stated: “A recovery team and the recovery plan its members produce would reduce conflict because it would force people to consider evidence for an issue rather than rely on political beliefs. Science-based planning puts biological sideboards within which people can negotiate and solve problems.”

In June 2007, over 500 members of the American Society of Mammalogists met in Albuquerque and unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a recovery plan for the jaguar. The resolution concluded that “habitats for the jaguar in the United States, including Arizona and New Mexico, are vital to the long-term resilience and survival of the species, especially in response to ongoing climate change.”

In its finding, the Fish and Wildlife Service states that “the existing voluntary approach” of the Jaguar Conservation Team suffices instead of a recovery plan. In 1997 the team pledged to “coordinate protection of jaguar habitat,” but it has not done so, not even taking a stand against the ongoing construction of the border wall.


The Fish and Wildlife Service has developed international recovery plans for the Mexican gray wolf (1982) and the whooping crane (2007), among others, indicating the practicality of working across borders to recover endangered wildlife.

The Endangered Species Act is intended to recover species and conserve their ecosystems. The presence of jaguars in the Southwest contributed to the evolution of alertness in deer and the tendency of the pig-like javelina to travel in herds for protection. Because jaguars roam widely, protection for their habitat can also protect the habitats for many other species – an example of the link between conservation of species and their habitats that is contemplated in the Act.

The jaguar was listed as an endangered species south of the border in 1972 but was not afforded protection in the United States until July 1997, which only occurred as a result of a previous Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Background

The jaguar is the largest New World cat. It historically occurred from the southern United States through Mexico and Central America to South America. In the United States it once roamed the southern states from Monterey Bay, California through the Appalachian Mountains. It was exterminated by the same federal predator extermination program that wiped out wolves in the western United States, along with persecution by the livestock industry and habitat loss.

The last female jaguar confirmed in the United States was shot by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predator control agent in the Apache National Forest (where Mexican gray wolves have since been reintroduced) in 1963.

When the jaguar was listed as an endangered species throughout its range in 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was then required to develop a recovery plan and designate critical habitat for it.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree... They should not build a border wall. They should shoot each illegal alien that crosses the border. This way true tax paying americans that are unemployed can find a job.

NO BORDER WALL said...

This is the sort of disgusting bigotry that drives many of the extemists who push for the wall. Dehumanizing people who are not part of our community and scapegoating them allows us to believe that they are to blame for all of our society's problems. We are not to blame for crime, the recession, or anything else, THEY are. Without those people (whose identity changes over the decades) in our midst we would live in a utopia.

Of course with the "good guys" advocating the killing of immigrants as a way to improve the economy, it is hard to see what the foundation of this beautiful new world will be. Maybe instead of looking for scapegoats we should try to fix our nation's problems which, if we are to be honest with ourselves, are mostly our own fault.

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Kyle said...
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Kyle said...
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Kyle said...

You are the reason every other country in the world hates America, which by the way is the greatest country in the world and would be better if dumbasses like you were shot not illegal immigrants who contribute much more to our economy than they use. Example, in California 85-90% of farm workers are Mexican-born and agriculture is a 32 billion dollar industry which creates another 100 billion dollars of related economic activity. So stop being an ignorant racist and giving Americans a bad name.

Now that I'm done with the dumbass who said illegal immigrants should be shot, the wall is not going to solve anything. People claim that the wall helped in California. It may be true to a very small degree, but the reality is the major increase in border patrol has decreased illegal immigration in the region. Also PEOPLE CAN CLIMB WALLS, it's not going to keep people out, but it will keep animals out. All the wall will do is be detrimental to the environment, especially the small population of Jaguars (which is endangered) that live in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Anonymous said...

The extinction of Jaguars in the United States isn't a problem - it's a good idea. These animals are large and extremely dangerous. We derive no benefit-and place people at a considerable amount of risk-having them run around in the wild.

Jaguars belong in zoos.

Anonymous said...

Walls dont stop illegal aliens. Bullets do. Shoot anyone that crosses our borders illegally that refuses to stop on command. Jail for 6 months anyone that yields to commands. Deport them afterwards.

NO BORDER WALL said...

It is astonishing the amount of violent racism that swirls around the border wall. I suppose that is why the Ku Klux Klan has been able to successfully use the debate over immigration as a recruiting tool.

It is of course easy to anonymously advocate murder when you do not have to look at the human who would die, to face their families and see the suffering that would result. It is abstract, like shooting people in a video game, all bluster and bile without any real world consequences. That level of abstraction, of hating people that you will never have to face, makes it easy to support a wall that you will never see. The wall is not destroying your community, and you will never witness the damage that it will do, so why not spend $46 billion that would never touch your wallet anyway to build it?

The problem is that it is not abstract, it is a real thing with real consequences. Hundreds of people die every year trying to cross the desert to enter the United States. They are not terrorists, and the majority are not smugglers. They are simply people trying to escape from poverty, taking the same steps that any US citizen would if the roles were reversed. The General Accounting Office reported in 2006 that the number of people who die in the desert each year doubled between 1995 and 2005 as a direct result of the border wall. Even with all of those deaths of men, women, and children, the number of people reside in the United States without papers was unaffected by the wall.

If you are looking for a place to spew your bile, there are plenty of neo-Nazi and KKK blogs that you can choose from. If instead you want to have a rational discussion about this issue, you are welcome to post here.

Any further comments advocating murder or spewing racism will be deleted.

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