The Arizona Game and Fish Department, in comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), asks that FWS withdraw its proposal for establishing critical habitat for the jaguar in Arizona and New Mexico “because conservation of the species is entirely reliant on activities in the jaguar’s primary habitat of Central and South America to be successful. Lands in Arizona and New Mexico make up less than one percent of the species’ historic range and are not essential to the conservation of the species.”
Arizona Game and Fish also said in a press release:
“The Fish and Wildlife Service proposal considers jaguar occurrence from 1962 to 2011. All of the available information from that time frame and even decades before consistently indicates that Arizona does not provide habitat that is critical to jaguar conservation.”
“The sanctity of the ESA is put at risk when litigious groups misuse legal terms to gain more control of wildlife conservation and public lands. Their maneuvers undermine the true intent of the act and jeopardize the public’s support for wildlife conservation.”
“Game and Fish believes that the unwarranted designation of critical habitat for jaguars would likely result in denial of access to lands for jaguar conservation and research efforts; fewer observations of jaguars being reported; less timely sighting reports from people that do choose to report a jaguar; and, an increased likelihood of illegal activities which undermine endangered species conservation.”
This was the right decision. We have yet to see if FWS will base their ruling on science or politics.