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    The jaguar – solitary, powerful, beautiful – is the only true big (or “roaring”) cat in the Americas.  This wide-ranging predator is the third largest cat in the world.  To some it is a vicious threat to livestock, pets and property.  (This reputation is due in part to the jaguar feeding on carcasses of cattle that perish from any number of causes.) To others it is the umbrella species whose territory, when protected, protects a wide range of other species, including birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

    The Northern Jaguar Project was initiated by conservationists from Arizona and Mexico.  The bi-national organization was formed to preserve the core population of jaguars in the northern Sonoran Desert and the southwestern United States. The NJP acquired land, through donation and purchase, to preserve jaguar habitat and migratory routes.  The Northern Jaguar Reserve now covers 70 square miles of consistently rough, steep terrain, sculpted by hundreds of canyons and cliffs – ideal habitat for jaguars, bobcats and mountain lions.

    Another part of the project, Fotos Felinos, invites neighboring ranchers to sign a pledge not to kill or permit others to kill wildlife on their properties, particularly large cats, and to permit NJP to place remote cameras on their ranches.  Ranch owners then receive economic incentives for photos of wild cats.

    The NJP continues to seek land to provide connectivity for the jaguar northward into Arizona and New Mexico.  And it is working!  Male jaguars have been photographed on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years.

    But as the Wildlife Land Trust knows, acquiring land is only the first step to protecting wildlife and habitat.  The continuing expenses of stewardship may not have the fundraising draw that initial acquisition holds, but without stewardship funds victories turn into losses and lives saved are once again endangered.  That is why WLT joined the project in 2008 with support to establish a permanent stewardship fund.  The Trust’s participation triggered a matching gift program that raised more than $100,000 towards insuring the permanence of the Northern Jaguar Reserve.

    In order to expand the scope of HSWLT’s influence and effectiveness for the benefit of wildlife, we frequently share funds, expertise and HSWLT’s humane philosophy with other organizations.  All HSWLT shared efforts are rooted in our commitment to providing wildlife with safe places to live, forever, by assisting other organizations that share our concerns for wildlife and habitat. 


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