Center for Biological Diversity

Don’t Let Arizona Game and Fish Kill Another Jaguar

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The Center for Biological Diversity is currently in court against the Arizona Game and Fish Department to prevent it from killing another jaguar. A new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit appears to be a get-out-of-jail-free card, allowing the state agency to evade our lawsuit and again engage in activities that risk harm to these exceedingly rare cats.

Capture is not the only way to research wildlife. Scat collection can tell researchers what jaguars and ocelots eat as well as the cats' genetic makeup -- which identifies sex and relatedness to others in their species --
all with no risk to the cats themselves.

The scheming of these two agencies in asking for and issuing a "take" permit bodes poorly for upcoming decisions on critical habitat for jaguars as well as a jaguar recovery team -- both due as a result of Center court victories.

Please tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that jaguars and ocelots are important in maintaining the balance, and that these beautiful and rare animals deserve much more protection. Ask him to rescind the permit and to ignore pressure from the state agency to minimize the designation of critical habitat and delineation of recovery areas.

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Please submit comments by July 31, 2010.

Jaguar photo courtesy Flickr Commons/ucumari.

Since 2004, the Center has urged that jaguar research be conducted using scat-sniffing dogs that can be trained to sniff for and point out to handlers the feces of any species (in Montana these dogs distinguished between black bear and grizzly bear scat).

The Fish and Wildlife Service didn't even evaluate this alternative before issuing the permit. Because no recovery plan has yet been prepared, and no recovery team appointed, Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit before research priorities for recovery could be identified and discussed. The federal agency seems to share its state counterpart's cavalier attitude that jaguars and ocelots are disposable and that killing another would be acceptable.