Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-59df476f6b-tkt58 Total loading time: 0.516 Render date: 2021-05-19T03:58:33.749Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

Recovering the jaguar Panthera onca in peripheral range: a challenge to conservation policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2014

Tony Povilitis
Life Net Nature, South Bascom Trail, Willcox, Arizona 85643, USA.
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


The recovery goal for the jaguar Panthera onca in the USA should be to restore significant presence with some reproduction, consistent with historical records. Nevertheless, the prevailing conservation strategy for the jaguar does not include restoration in peripheral range and merely seeks long-term survival of the jaguar within its existing northern range, which is almost entirely in Mexico. Broader issues are whether recovery programmes should include peripheral populations, range expansion and species representation across ecoregions. Considering jaguar history, habitat, population requirements, wildlife management and other factors in the southwestern USA, efforts to re-establish the species would have a reasonable chance of success. Recovery of the jaguar in the USA would improve prospects for the adaptation and survival of the species within its northern range, given habitat loss, conflicts with humans and climate change.

Oryx , Volume 49 , Issue 4 , October 2015 , pp. 626 - 631
Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2014 


In 2010 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided to prepare a recovery plan for the jaguar Panthera onca, which historically occurred in the southern USA (Fig. 1), at the northern edge of its global range. The jaguar is endangered in the USA and categorized as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List (Caso et al., Reference Caso, Lopez-Gonzalez, Payan, Eizirik, de Oliveira and Leite-Pitman2008; USFWS, 2012a). However, the agency has subsequently focused not on jaguar recovery in the USA but rather on sustaining the species within its broader northern range, which is almost entirely in Mexico (USFWS, 2012a). The USFWS regards species conservation fundamentally as the avoidance of global extinction and defines a ‘significant portion of a species range’ for conservation as one without which the entire species would be at risk of extinction (Carroll et al., Reference Carroll, Vucetich, Nelson, Rohlf and Phillips2010; USFWS & NOAA, 2011). In its view, only a large portion of the jaguar's northern range meets that requirement.

Fig. 1 Historical and current distribution of the northern jaguar Panthera onca (based on Rafinesque, Reference Rafinesque1832; Matthiesen, Reference Matthiessen1959; Daggett & Henning, Reference Daggett and Henning1974; Hall, Reference Hall1981; Navarro-Serment et al., Reference Navarro-Serment, López-González and Gallo-Reynoso2005; Robinson, Reference Robinson2006; Zeller, Reference Zeller2007; Grigione et al., Reference Grigione, Menke, López-González, List, Banda and Carrera2009; Judd, Reference Judd2009; Mahler, Reference Mahler2009).

I advocate for a recovery plan to restore the jaguar to its former range in the south-west USA (Arizona and New Mexico) as part of an expanded binational effort to conserve the northernmost jaguar population, now restricted mainly to neighbouring Sonora, Mexico. Vertebrate population segments merit conservation when they occur in a unique ecological setting for the species or are separated from other populations by physical, ecological or other factors, including differences between countries in terms of wildlife law enforcement, habitat management and regulatory mechanisms (USFWS & NMFS, 1996). As I propose here, a recovery plan for the Southwest would draw on knowledge of historical presence of jaguars, conservation requirements in adjacent Mexico, regional habitat features and corridors, and programmes elsewhere to re-establish large carnivores and promote their coexistence with people.

Historical occurrence in the Southwest

Historical accounts of jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico for 1900–1998 include 71 adult animals reported dead (or in two cases photographed), including 16 males, 9 females and 46 of uncertain sex. Brown & López-González (Reference Brown and López-González2001) listed 61 of these records and Grigione et al. (Reference Grigione, Scoville, Scoville and Crooks2007) tallied seven mortalities in Arizona that appear distinct, including a female with young cited by Hoffmeister (Reference Hoffmeister1986). Robinson (Reference Robinson2006) found records of two additional kills in New Mexico. Fisher & Bell (Reference Fisher and Bell1927) referenced two female jaguars among at least five jaguars killed in Arizona in the mid 1920s, at least one of which appears different from jaguars reported by later authors. Around or just prior to 1900 more than four jaguars were reported killed in Arizona, including a female with young in the Grand Canyon (Lange, Reference Lange1960).

Of eight adult female jaguars accounted for by Brown & López-González (Reference Brown and López-González2001) and Hoffmeister (Reference Hoffmeister1986), four occurred in southern and three in northern Arizona. Three of the females had cubs, with two of these groups occurring in northern Arizona. Applying the percentage of females among jaguars of known sex (36%, 25 records) to the number of animals of unknown sex (46 records), 17 additional females were probably among reported kills during the past century.

Apart from accounts with physical evidence, Lange (Reference Lange1960) and Grigione et al. (Reference Grigione, Scoville, Scoville and Crooks2007) tallied 15 sightings of jaguar in Arizona for 1900–1998, including reports of a female and two cubs in the Grand Canyon (Hoffmeister, Reference Hoffmeister1986) that may have been subsequently killed. For New Mexico, Robinson (Reference Robinson2006) included eight additional observational records for that time period. Native Americans reported jaguars in these states and neighbouring California (Daggett & Henning, Reference Daggett and Henning1974; Mahler, Reference Mahler2009). Hall (Reference Hall1981) delineated the jaguar's historical range to include portions of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as California, Texas and Louisiana (Fig. 1).

Since the late 1990s 5–6 individual jaguars have been recorded in the Southwest (USFWS, 2012a), one by remote cameras over a 12-year period (McCain & Childs, Reference McCain and Childs2008). These jaguars appeared to originate in the neighbouring state of Sonora, Mexico, where a concentration of jaguars occurs c. 220 km south of the USA (López-González, Reference López-González2004).

The distributional pattern and decline of jaguar records in the Southwest provides strong evidence for a historical population of the jaguar. Kill records for 1900–1980, when plotted at 10-year intervals, showed a decrease characteristic of an overexploited resident population (Brown, Reference Brown1983). Hunting, trapping and poisoning (Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001) were primary factors in the extirpation of the jaguar from most of the Southwest, beginning with bounties on the animal imposed by Spanish authorities (Matthiessen, Reference Matthiessen1959).

The northern jaguar population

Estimates of jaguar numbers in Sonora, Mexico, are 50–271 (USFWS, 2012a). Jaguars there face heavy human-induced mortality (Rosas-Rosas, Reference Rosas-Rosas2006), and the effect of hunting on prey is also of concern (Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001). Zeller (Reference Zeller2007) estimated that only 4% of jaguar habitat in Sonora receives some protection. With poaching common throughout Mexico, jaguar numbers will decline further (Carrillo et al., Reference Carrillo, Ceballos, Chávez, Cornejo, Faller, List, Zarza, Ceballos, Chávez, List and Zarza2007).

Population viability prospects for northern jaguars could improve with range expansion into the Southwest, and with sustained connectivity to a jaguar population in southern Sinaloa south to Jalisco, where the number of jaguars has been estimated to be 479–>500 (USFWS, 2012a). As male jaguars are capable of long-distance dispersal, connectivity along the 400 km corridor between concentrations in Sonora and southern Sinaloa (Navarro-Serment et al., Reference Navarro-Serment, López-González and Gallo-Reynoso2005) is plausible. However, any existing connectivity may be lost if the Sinaloa–Jalisco population, believed to be in decline (Zeller, Reference Zeller2007), is significantly reduced.

Estimated population sizes required for viability are generally much greater than the combined estimate of 530–800 jaguars for Sonora and Sinaloa–Jalisco. Reviews of population viability studies have found that thousands of individuals are generally needed for populations to withstand environmental fluctuation and catastrophic events, and to ensure continuation of evolutionary processes (Traill et al., Reference Traill, Brook, Frankham and Bradshaw2010; Flather et al., Reference Flather, Hayward, Beissinger and Stephens2011). Thus, the long-term prospect is not good for <1,000 animals, especially with uncertain population stability and connectivity. For northern jaguars renewed presence in Arizona and New Mexico could improve overall population size and habitat options, genetic integrity, and the outlook for survival of the species given human-induced environmental changes range-wide (Boydston & López-González, Reference Boydston, López-González, Gottfried, Gebow, Eskew and Edminster2005).

Habitat in the Southwest

Jaguars in Arizona, New Mexico and Sonora historically occurred within six ecological regions not found elsewhere, with three of these unique to the USA (Hall, Reference Hall1981; North American Atlas, 2006). A coarse-scale classification of geographical regions for the jaguar places the Southwest and Sonora in Mexican xeric and temperate pine-oak forest categories, with Mexican tropical dry forest prevailing further south (Sanderson et al., Reference Sanderson, Redford, Chetkiewicz, Medellin, Rabinowitz, Robinson and Taber2002).

At the community level the jaguar's historical range in Arizona and New Mexico encompassed 12 major biotic communities (Brown & Lowe, Reference Brown and Lowe1994), half of which occur only in the USA. Records of adult jaguars killed or photographed suggest a very distinct habitat configuration for the species in the Southwest, even compared with neighbouring Sonora. Jaguars were associated with Madrean evergreen woodland (31%), Rocky Mountain montane conifer forest (17%), semi-desert grassland (13%), Great Basin conifer woodland (9%), riparian habitat (8%) and other or uncertain biotic communities (22%; Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001). In contrast, specimens from Sonora were reported mostly in Sinaloan thornscrub (63%) and deciduous forest (10%), with fewer in Madrean evergreen woodland (5%), Sonoran desert scrub (5%) and other or uncertain communities (17%). Female jaguars killed in Arizona were associated in four instances with Rocky Mountain montane conifer forest and in single instances with subalpine conifer forest, semidesert grassland and Madrean evergreen woodland (Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001). Jaguars in the Southwest have occurred in varied topography including lowland flats, valley basins, canyons, mountains and subalpine environments (Brown & López- González, Reference Brown and López-González2001; Boydston & López-González, Reference Boydston, López-González, Gottfried, Gebow, Eskew and Edminster2005; McCain & Childs, Reference McCain and Childs2008).

Large portions of Arizona and New Mexico have been identified as potential jaguar habitat, based on historical occurrences, vegetation cover, topography, prey availability, proximity to surface water and other factors (Menke & Hayes, Reference Menke and Hayes2003; Boydston & López-González, Reference Boydston, López-González, Gottfried, Gebow, Eskew and Edminster2005). Hatten et al. (Reference Hatten, Averill-Murray and Van Pelt2005) identified 21–30% of Arizona (62,000–88,600 km2) and Robinson (Reference Robinson2006) indicated approximately half of New Mexico (c. 156,800 km2) as potential habitat, much of it federally-managed and protected natural resource lands.

Grigione et al. (Reference Grigione, Menke, López-González, List, Banda and Carrera2009) specifically identified the Sky Island and Mogollon Rim areas of the Southwest as jaguar conservation units (Fig. 1), within a broader region of jaguar habitat (102,530 km2) with comparable portions in the USA and northern Mexico. Federally-managed national forest lands in the Sky Island (7,200 km2) and Mogollon Rim (17,745 km2) areas could potentially support 249 jaguars, applying a density estimate of 1 jaguar per 100 km2 for Sonora, Mexico (Carrillo et al., Reference Carrillo, Ceballos, Chávez, Cornejo, Faller, List, Zarza, Ceballos, Chávez, List and Zarza2007).

Potential movement corridors for the jaguar in Arizona have been identified (AWLW, 2006; Corridor Designs, 2012) and require protection, given threats to habitat connectivity, including land development and US–Mexico border fencing (USFWS, 2012b). Multi-state planning for landscape-level connectivity for wildlife is underway (WGA, 2012; WRP, 2013).

Jaguars hunt large and medium-sized animals, including common species of the Southwest (USFWS, 2012b). Large prey dominate the diet of jaguars in Sonora, including deer (Odocoileus spp.) and peccary Pecari tajacu (Rosas-Rosas, Reference Rosas-Rosas2006). In the Southwest ungulate populations are monitored and managed by state game authorities and are considered healthy. Post-hunt population estimates of adult white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, mule deer Odocoileus hemionus and elk Alces americanus for 2009 in Arizona (exclusive of national parks and tribal lands) were 70–75,000, 75–80,000 and 30–35,000, respectively, and c. 5,000 peccaries were legally taken (AGFD, 2011). Identification of areas with prey concentrations, along with connecting habitat linkages, would guide habitat management for a newly established jaguar population.

The presence of elk in much of the jaguar's historical range in Arizona and New Mexico adds a potentially important large prey item that is absent in the south (Carrera & Ballard, Reference Carrera and Ballard2003). Jaguars would almost certainly kill elk, given that they often select larger prey than pumas (Laundré & Hernández, Reference Laundré, Hernández, Hornocker and Negri2010), which commonly take elk in the Southwest (Mattson et al., Reference Mattson, Hart, Miller, Miller and Mattson2007).

Surface water is widely available for jaguar in the Southwest, most notably in mountainous terrain (Hatten et al., Reference Hatten, Averill-Murray and Van Pelt2005). Widespread creation of artificial water sources, such as livestock ponds and troughs, may offset losses of some perennial sources as a result of excessive withdrawal of groundwater and livestock overgrazing.

The risk of jaguar poaching in the USA appears minimal, especially since the species received federal protection in 1997 (USFWS, 2012a). Jaguar poaching has not been reported since 1986 and Arizona and New Mexico have active anti-poaching programmes that include law enforcement and rewards to citizens for information on poachers. Nevertheless, to increase public interest and acceptance of jaguar conservation in the Southwest, outreach and education programmes have been proposed and could be implemented (AGFD & NMDGF, 2007). Programmes to promote coexistence between people and large carnivores are ongoing elsewhere in the USA (Clark et al., Reference Clark, Rutherford and Casey2005) and would help inform efforts to reduce livestock-related and other conflicts related to jaguar presence.

Habitat in arid areas such as the Southwest would be expected to naturally support lower jaguar densities than moist tropical areas. However, peripheral or marginal jaguar habitat (Rabinowitz, Reference Rabinowitz1999) does not equate with poor habitat unable to sustain healthy, reproducing individuals. Southwestern jaguars tend to be as large as or larger than those in Mexico (Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001) and a jaguar captured in Arizona in 2009, estimated to be 15–16 years old, was reportedly the oldest recorded anywhere in the wild (AGFD, 2009).

The range of the jaguar in the Southwest and Mexico may dry significantly this century (Seager et al., Reference Seager, Mingfang, Held, Kushnir, Lu and Vecchi2007), with corresponding changes in species distributions, biotic communities and wildfire regimes (Gray, Reference Gray2008). At the same time, tropical and subtropical ecoregions in South America may be particularly vulnerable to climate change and may soon face extreme conditions relative to past climate variability (Beaumont et al., Reference Beaumont, Pitman, Perkins, Zimmermann, Yoccoz and Thuiller2011).

With climate change, human manipulation of present-day species ranges may be needed (Hadly & Barnosky, Reference Hadly, Barnosky, Dietl and Flessa2009), including, in the case of the jaguar, expansion to higher latitudes. The availability in the Southwest of upper-elevation habitats with relatively cool, moist climates could provide vital habitat for the species, especially in the event of severe or abrupt climate change.

Reintroduction option

The last female jaguar recorded in the USA was killed in 1963, over 200 km north of the USA–Mexico border (Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001). Since then, five males have been killed and four other individuals believed to be males have been photographed (Brown & López-González, Reference Brown and López-González2001; USFWS, 2012a). The pattern suggests that males, but not females, disperse into the USA from Sonora. Future presence of females in the Southwest may depend on established home ranges closer to the USA border. This is problematic given the relatively open, unprotected lands between jaguar concentrations in Sonora and the USA (Grigione et al., Reference Grigione, Menke, López-González, List, Banda and Carrera2009), poaching in northern Sonora, and the significant presence of border security fencing, which is impermeable to large mammals (Abhat, Reference Abhat2011; USFWS, 2012a,b).

Barring natural movement of female jaguars from Sonora to the Southwest, their reintroduction should be considered. The USFWS has yet to formally evaluate this option and has no plans to reintroduce jaguar (USFWS, 2012c). Examining the feasibility of reintroducing the jaguar, Kelly & Silver (Reference Kelly, Silver, Hayward and Somers2009) concluded that behavioural and ecological flexibility makes it amenable to reintroduction, and that genetic constraints are minimal given that the jaguar is outbred, with no strong geographical structure (Eizirik et al., Reference Eizirik, Kim, Menotti-Raymond, Crawshaw, O'Brien and Johnson2001). For the Southwest, animals for translocation could originate from nearby Mexico and Guatemala, where jaguars represent an incompletely isolated phylgeographic group. Surplus jaguars are often captured and placed in wildlife rehabilitation centres and zoos (Kelly & Silver, Reference Kelly, Silver, Hayward and Somers2009). Jaguars likely to disperse from protected areas or subject to high risk of human-caused mortality along reserve boundaries or in habitat fragments may also be available for translocation without compromising core populations.

Translocation of female jaguars into the Southwest would be a complex and challenging undertaking but one that could draw on prior experience of establishing wild felids in the USA (Onorato et al., Reference Onorato, Belden, Cunningham, Land, McBride, Roelke, MacDonald and Loveridge2010; CDOW, 2013) and elsewhere (Hayward & Somers, Reference Hayward and Somers2009).

Conservation policy

Should a nation embark on wildlife restoration in areas peripheral to core populations occurring beyond its borders? Biologists generally promote conservation of peripheral populations (Lesica & Allendorf, Reference Lesica and Allendorf1995; Nielsen et al., Reference Nielsen, Scott and Aycrigg2001; Vucetich & Waite, Reference Vucetich and Waite2003; Gibson et al., Reference Gibson, van der Marel and Starzomski2009). Such populations may survive as well as or better than those in core range, depending upon the geography of human impacts (Abbitt et al., Reference Abbitt, Scott and Wilcove2000; Channell & Lomolino, Reference Channell and Lomolino2000) and the strength of local recovery efforts. Considerations addressed here include habitat features, ecological distinctiveness of peripheral range, ability to control threats (such as poaching and habitat fragmentation), and significance of restoration to the nearest core population.

The reluctance to undertake a recovery programme for the jaguar in the USA suggests overemphasis on its nearly extirpated status, general scepticism about habitat suitability (Rabinowitz, Reference Rabinowitz1999), political aversion to large carnivore restoration (Povilitis & Becker, Reference Povilitis, Becker, Halvorson, Schwalbe and van Riper2010), and the absence of peripheral range recovery in global strategies for jaguar conservation (Sanderson, et al., Reference Sanderson, Redford, Chetkiewicz, Medellin, Rabinowitz, Robinson and Taber2002; Rabinowitz & Zeller, Reference Rabinowitz and Zeller2010). Although a temporary focus solely on existing populations may be justified for species in immediate crisis, such as the tiger Panthera tigris (Walston et al., Reference Walston, Robinson, Bennett, Breitenmoser, da Fonseca and Godrich2010), conservation strategies limited to core areas to the exclusion of unoccupied range should be reconsidered. The concept of recovery mandates healthy, self-sustaining wildlife populations across historical ranges and ecological settings (Redford et al., Reference Redford, Amato, Baillie, Beldomencio, Bennet and Clum2011).


This work was sponsored by Life Net Nature (USA), and benefited from discussions with C.D. Becker and M. Robinson. I thank the ManTech GIS Team, USA (G. Lovasz, N. Mustain, N. Look and R. Hoopes) for preparing Fig. 1.

Biographical sketch

Tony Povilitis founded Life Net Nature, a non-profit organization devoted to community-based conservation, citizen science, and improved public policy toward wildlife. He pioneered studies of the Endangered huemul deer, leading to protected areas in Chile, was involved in the creation of a coral reef recovery team for Maui, Hawaii, and has developed international and U.S. field programmes for university students in conservation biology, natural resource management and wilderness education.


Abbitt, R.J.F., Scott, J.M. & Wilcove, D.S. (2000) The geography of vulnerability: incorporating species geography and human development patterns into conservation planning. Biological Conservation, 96, 169175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abhat, D. (2011) Fenced out: wildlife impacts of the US–Mexico border fence. The Wildlife Professional, 5, 2227.Google Scholar
AGFD (Arizona Game and Fish Department) (2009) Macho B Jaguar Information. Http:// [accessed 2 July 2012].Google Scholar
AGFD (Arizona Game and Fish Department) (2011) Hunt Arizona: Survey, Harvest and Hunt Data for Big and Small Game. Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, USA.Google Scholar
AGFD (Arizona Game and Fish Department) & NMDGF (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish) (2007) Jaguar Conservation Framework for Arizona, New Mexico, and Northern Mexico. Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, USA.Google Scholar
AWLW (Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup) (2006) Arizona's Wildlife Linkages Assessment. Arizona Department of Transportation, Phoenix, USA.Google Scholar
Beaumont, L.J., Pitman, A., Perkins, S., Zimmermann, N.E., Yoccoz, N.G. & Thuiller, W. (2011) Impacts of climate change on the world's most exceptional ecoregions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, 23062311.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Boydston, E.E. & López-González, C.A. (2005) Sexual differentiation in the distribution potential of northern jaguars (Panthera onca). In Connecting Mountain Islands and Desert Seas: Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago II (eds Gottfried, G.J., Gebow, B.S., Eskew, L.G. & Edminster, C.B.), pp. 5156. Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, USA.Google Scholar
Brown, D.E. (1983) On the status of the jaguar in the Southwest. Southwestern Naturalist, 28, 459460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, D.E. & López-González, C.A. (2001) Borderland Jaguars: Tigres De La Frontera. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, USA.Google Scholar
Brown, D.E. & Lowe, C.H. (1994) Biotic Communities of the Southwest. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, USA.Google Scholar
Carrera, R. & Ballard, W.B. (2003) Elk distribution in Mexico: a critical review. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 31, 2721276.Google Scholar
Carrillo, L., Ceballos, G., Chávez, C., Cornejo, J., Faller, J.C., List, R. & Zarza, H. (2007) Análisis de viabilidad de poblaciones y del hábitat del jaguar en México. In Conservación y manejo del jaguar en México: studios de caso y perspectivas (eds Ceballos, G., Chávez, C., List, R. & Zarza, H.), pp. 187223. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.Google Scholar
Carroll, C., Vucetich, J.A., Nelson, M.P., Rohlf, D.J. & Phillips, M.K. (2010) Geography and recovery under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation Biology, 24, 395403.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Caso, A., Lopez-Gonzalez, C., Payan, E., Eizirik, E., de Oliveira, T., Leite-Pitman, R. et al. (2008) Panthera onca. In IUCN Red List of Threatened Species v. 2013.2. Http:// [accessed 11 December 2013].Google Scholar
Channell, R. & Lomolino, M.V. (2000) Dynamic biogeography and the conservation of endangered species. Nature, 403, 8486.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Clark, T.W., Rutherford, M.B. & Casey, D. (eds) (2005) Coexisting with Large Carnivores: Lessons from Greater Yellowstone. Island Press, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
CDOW (Colorado Division of Wildlife) (2013) Success of the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Lynx Reintroduction Program. Http:// [accessed 25 July 2013].Google Scholar
Corridor Designs (2012) Wildlife Linkage Planning in Arizona. Http:// [accessed 18 July 2012].Google Scholar
Daggett, P.M. & Henning, D.R. (1974) The jaguar in North America. American Antiquity, 39, 465469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eizirik, E., Kim, J.H., Menotti-Raymond, M., Crawshaw, P.G., O'Brien, S.J. & Johnson, W.E. (2001) Phylogeography, population history and conservation genetics of jaguars (Panthera onca, Mammalia, Felidae). Molecular Ecology, 10, 6579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fisher, A.K. & Bell, W.B. (1927) Report of the Committee on Economic Mammalogy. American Society of Mammalogists. Archived with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, USA.Google Scholar
Flather, C.H., Hayward, G.D., Beissinger, S.R. & Stephens, P.A. (2011) Minimum viable populations: is there a ‘magic number’ for conservation practitioners? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 26, 307316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibson, S.Y., van der Marel, R.C. & Starzomski, B.M. (2009) Climate change and conservation of leading-edge peripheral populations. Conservation Biology, 23, 13691373.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gray, G. (ed.) (2008) Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States. A report of the committee on Environment and Natural Resources. National Science Technology Council. U.S. Climate Change Science Program, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
Grigione, M.M., Menke, K., López-González, C.A., List, R., Banda, A., Carrera, J. et al. (2009) Identifying potential conservation areas for felids in the USA and Mexico: integrating reliable knowledge across an international border. Oryx, 43, 7886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grigione, M.M., Scoville, A., Scoville, G. & Crooks, K. (2007) Neotropical cats in southeast Arizona and surrounding areas: past and present status of jaguars, ocelots and jaguarundis. Mastozoología Neotropical, 14, 189199.Google Scholar
Hadly, E.A. & Barnosky, A.D. (2009) Vertebrate fossils and the future of conservation biology. In Conservation Paleobiology: Using the Past to Manage for the Future (eds Dietl, G.P. & Flessa, K.W.), pp. 3959. The Paleontological Society Papers No. 15. Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, USA.Google Scholar
Hall, E.R. (1981) The Mammals of North America. Blackburn Press, Caldwell, USA.Google Scholar
Hatten, J.R., Averill-Murray, A. & Van Pelt, W.E. (2005) A spatial model of potential jaguar habitat in Arizona. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 69, 10241033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayward, M.W. & Somers, M.J. (eds) (2009) Reintroduction of Top-Order Predators. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoffmeister, D.F. (1986) Mammals of Arizona. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, USA.Google Scholar
Judd, R.W. (2009) The Untilled Garden: Natural History and the Spirit of Conservation in America, 1740–1840. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
Kelly, M.J. & Silver, S. (2009) The suitability of the jaguar (Panthera onca) for reintroduction. In Reintroduction of Top-Order Predators (eds Hayward, M.W. & Somers, M.J.), pp. 187205. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lange, K.I. (1960) The jaguar in Arizona. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 63, 96101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laundré, J.W. & Hernández, L. (2010) What we know about pumas in Latin America. In Cougar: Ecology and Conservation (eds Hornocker, M. & Negri, S.), pp. 7690. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.Google Scholar
Lesica, P. & Allendorf, F.W. (1995) When are peripheral populations valuable for conservation? Conservation Biology, 9, 753760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
López-González, C.A. (2004) Distribución, ecología y conservación del jaguar (Panthera onca) en el estado de Sonora. Oficio NUM/SGPA/DGVS/03921, Escuela de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico.Google Scholar
Mahler, R. (2009) The Jaguar's Shadow: Searching for a Mythic Cat. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.Google Scholar
Matthiessen, P. (1959) Wildlife in America. Viking Press, New York, USA.Google Scholar
Mattson, D., Hart, J., Miller, M. & Miller, D. (2007) Predation and other behaviors of mountain lions in the Flagstaff Uplands. In Mountain Lions of the Flagstaff Uplands: 2003–2006 Progress Report (ed. Mattson, D.), pp. 3142. U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, USA.Google Scholar
McCain, E.B. & Childs, J.L. (2008) Evidence of resident jaguars (Panthera onca) in the southwestern United States and the implications for conservation. Journal of Mammology, 89, 110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Menke, K.A. & Hayes, C.L. (2003) Evaluation of the Relative Suitability of Potential Jaguar Habitat in New Mexico. Report to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, USA.Google Scholar
Navarro-Serment, C.J., López-González, C.A. & Gallo-Reynoso, J.P. (2005) Occurrence of jaguars (Panthera onca) in Sinaloa, Mexico. The Southwestern Naturalist, 50, 102105.2.0.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nielsen, J.L., Scott, J.M. & Aycrigg, J.L. (2001) Endangered species and peripheral populations: cause for conservation. Endangered Species Update, 18, 193220.Google Scholar
North American Atlas (2006) Ecological Regions of North America, Level III. Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Http:// [accessed 10 May 2013].Google Scholar
Onorato, D., Belden, C., Cunningham, M., Land, D., McBride, R. & Roelke, M. (2010) Long-term research on the Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi): historical findings and future obstacles to population persistence. In Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids (eds MacDonald, D.W. & Loveridge, A.J.), pp. 453469. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.Google Scholar
Povilitis, T. & Becker, C.D. (2010) Advancing large carnivore recovery in the Southwest. In Southwestern Desert Resources (eds Halvorson, W.L., Schwalbe, C.R. & van Riper, C. III), pp. 263273. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, USA.Google Scholar
Rabinowitz, A. (1999) Present status of jaguars (Panthera onca) in the southwestern United States. The Southwestern Naturalist, 44, 96100.Google Scholar
Rabinowitz, A. & Zeller, K. (2010) A range-wide model of landscape connectivity and conservation for the jaguar, Panthera onca . Biological Conservation, 143, 939945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rafinesque, C.S. (1832) On the Large Wanderings of Tygers or Jaguars of the United States. Atlantic Journal and Friend of Knowledge, Philadelphia, USA, pp. 1819.Google Scholar
Redford, K.H., Amato, G., Baillie, J., Beldomencio, P., Bennet, E.L., Clum, N. et al. (2011) What does it mean to successfully conserve a (vertebrate) species? BioScience, 61, 3948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, M.J. (2006) Habitat for Jaguar in New Mexico. Contract report to Arizona Game and Fish Department. Center for Biological Diversity, Silver City, USA.Google Scholar
Rosas-Rosas, O.C. (2006) Ecological status and conservation of jaguars (Panthera onca) in northeastern Sonora, Mexico . PhD thesis. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA.Google Scholar
Sanderson, E.W., Redford, K.H., Chetkiewicz, C.B., Medellin, R.A., Rabinowitz, A.R., Robinson, J.G. & Taber, A.B. (2002) Planning to save a species: the jaguar as a model. Conservation Biology, 16, 5872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Seager, R., Mingfang, T., Held, I., Kushnir, Y., Lu, J., Vecchi, G. et al. (2007) Model projections of an imminent transition to a more arid climate in southwestern North America. Science, 316, 11811184.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Traill, L.W., Brook, B.W., Frankham, R.R. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2010) Pragmatic population viability targets in a rapidly changing world. Biological Conservation, 143, 2834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) (2012a) Recovery Outline for the Jaguar. USFWS, Phoenix, USA.Google Scholar
USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) (2012b) Designation of critical habitat for jaguar, proposed rule. Federal Register, 77, 5021350242.Google Scholar
USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) (2012c) Questions and Answers. Jaguar Critical Habitat Prudency Determination and Recovery Plan. Press release. Phoenix, USA.Google Scholar
USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) & NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) (1996) Policy regarding the recognition of distinct vertebrate population segments under the Endangered Species Act. Federal Register, 61, 47224725.Google Scholar
USFWS (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) & NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) (2011) Draft policy on interpretation of the phrase ‘significant portion of its range’ in the Endangered Species Act's definitions of ‘Endangered Species’ and ‘Threatened Species’. Federal Register, 76, 7698777006.Google Scholar
Vucetich, J.A. & Waite, T.A. (2003) Spatial patterns of demography and genetic processes across the species’ range: null hypothesis for landscape conservation genetics. Conservation Genetics, 4, 639645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walston, J., Robinson, J.G., Bennett, E.L., Breitenmoser, U., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Godrich, J. et al. (2010) Bringing the tiger back from the brink—the six percent solution. PLoS Biology, 8, e1000485.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
WGA (Western Governors’ Association) (2012) Initiative on Wildlife Corridors and Crucial Habitat. Http:// [accessed 2 June 2012].Google Scholar
WRP (Western Regional Partnership) (2013) Natural Resources Committee. Https:// [accessed 10 May 2013].Google Scholar
Zeller, K. (2007) Jaguars in the New Millennium. Data Set Update: The State of the Jaguar in 2006. A report prepared for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Jaguar Conservation Program, Bronx, USA.Google Scholar
Figure 0

Fig. 1 Historical and current distribution of the northern jaguar Panthera onca (based on Rafinesque, 1832; Matthiesen, 1959; Daggett & Henning, 1974; Hall, 1981; Navarro-Serment et al., 2005; Robinson, 2006; Zeller, 2007; Grigione et al., 2009; Judd, 2009; Mahler, 2009).

You have Access

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Recovering the jaguar Panthera onca in peripheral range: a challenge to conservation policy
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Recovering the jaguar Panthera onca in peripheral range: a challenge to conservation policy
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Recovering the jaguar Panthera onca in peripheral range: a challenge to conservation policy
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *