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U.S. Jaguars Threatened By Border Fence

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I know what you’re thinking: “Wha? Jaguars in the U.S.?!” It’s true: A small breeding population of about 120 jaguars lives on the porous desert border with Mexico in Arizona. But the same liquid boundary that sustains the extremely rare North American jaguar’s hunting ground is also its biggest liability. Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff wants to put up a 470-mile fence smack in the middle of jaguar territory, which could keep it from returning to the Southwestern U.S. in earnest. Worse, Chertoff’s waived 30 environmental laws to get the fence up post haste. 

Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club have filed appeals with the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to block Chertoff from blitzing up the fence before jaguar populations and other environmental factors can be assessed.

The jaguar was thought to be extirpated from the southwest until lifelong cougar hunter Warner Glenn cornered a jaguar near Douglas, Ariz. in 1996. He took the first photo of the big cat in decades. Now, he’s become one of their biggest champions. 

That’s mighty progressive for a rancher, Warner — maybe an old cowboy can learn new tricks. If it can happen in Arizona, maybe it can even happen in Wyoming.

— Ted Alvarez

Border-fence dispute snares rare jaguars (CNN)