Making the Case for Reintroducing Jaguars to the Southwestern U.S.
September 19, 2021
5:15 – 6:30 PM
In 2021, a bi-national coalition of U.S. and Mexico-based environmental organizations and scientists published a series of scientific papers proposing the reintroduction of jaguars to portions of their native habitat in the United States. As late as the 1960s, jaguars inhabited an expansive region in the central mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico. The team undertook an analysis of the suitability of habitat in this region, concluding that the area could sustain a population of 90-151 adult jaguars. Join Dr. Sharon Wilcox to learn more about this proposed reintroduction and how returning the jaguar to this area would enhance recovery of this endangered species in the U.S., further its range-wide conservation, and restore an essential part of North America’s cultural and natural heritage.
Sharon Wilcox, Ph.D. is the Texas Representative for Defenders of Wildlife, where she leads the organization’s ocelot conservation team. She also represents Defenders in a coalition of organizations to explore innovative strategies to restore and protect the jaguar in parts of its historical range in the Southwestern U.S. Sharon holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin. She is the co-editor of the book Historical Animal Geographies (2018), and has authored a number of scholarly articles and book chapters examining contemporary and historical interactions of humans and wild cats in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. She is currently finishing her book, Jaguars of Empire, under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.
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