Wildlife: Keep Out04/23/17
by Howard Quigley, PhD
Despite the endless talk about the Trump Administration’s proposed expansion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, it’s hard to actually visualize it and what its impact–for better or worse, depending on your point-of-view–might be. But standing in front of the existing fence today as we crossed the border from Arizona into Mexico with jaguar migration on our minds, I was struck by how real it suddenly seemed, and, how daunting to wildlife. We know that fencing has already broken natural connections between wild cat populations in some areas of the border.
Our next destination is the Northern Jaguar Reserve, critical jaguar habitat only 100 miles from the border—just a few days walk for a wandering cat. This protected population may be the source of the few male jaguars that have wandered in recent times into the U.S. Any hope that jaguars will re-colonize naturally in the U.S., however remote, hinges on maintaining this core population to the south, and its ability to move–unimpeded–to the north.