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Will the cat come back?

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claims that border fencing won't jeopardize the jaguar because the U.S. Southwest is unneeded turf for conserving the species worldwide (HCN, 10/15/07). Unless someone reverses this myopic policy in court, we can forget about federal protection of jaguar habitat any time soon, since, by inference, the same would apply to any environmental impact. It would behoove jaguar advocates of all stripes (and spots) to put aside differences and work for comprehensive protection of habitat and open country for jaguar and other wildlife, especially in Arizona, now the fastest-growing state. Pima County's planning for biodiversity conservation and the Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup for protecting wildlife movement areas exemplify the needed landscape-level approach. After more than a decade of stonewalling, it is high time the multi-agency Jaguar Conservation Team engaged in habitat conservation work. There is no point in worrying about jaguar migratory routes from Mexico to the U.S. if there is no secure habitat to welcome the big cats home.

Tony Povilitis
President, Life Net,
Bozeman, Montana

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