Re-Wilding The Jaguar In the USA: The Impossible Dream?

Corazón, a beautiful female jaguar, has been poisoned to death and her cub, as a consequence, starved to death. They lived on a reserve in Sonora, north-western Mexico, just below Arizona in the USA.

Jaguar killed in northern jaguar project

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Corazón had wandered to a place about 12 miles north of the reserve into what is a buffer zone between the reserve and human settlements and in certain parts of the buffer zone people have agreed to protect the jaguar should he or she wander from the reserve but in this instance Corazón wandered into a ranch that was not a signatory to protecting the jaguar. She was poisoned.

The jaguar is fully protected by law in Mexico and accordingly the person who poisoned this beautiful animal is a criminal but unfortunately he has not been caught. That does not surprise me because how do you prove it? There will be no witnesses. Corazón’s body was burned presumably to try and hide evidence.

There we have it, the impossible dream to try and preserve the jaguar in Mexico but another objective of the Northern Jaguar Project, who managed the reserve in partnership with Naturalia, is to try and re-wild the Jaguar in the USA: to bring the Jaguar back to the United States of America where it once roamed until it was persecuted out of existence.

How do you prevent people from killing the Jaguar? This is the third largest cat in the world and the wild cat species with the strongest bite (200 psi compared to tiger at 1000 psi and lion at 600 psi). Farmers and ranchers instinctively protect their livestock and have little natural inclination to protect endangered species. It’s all about commerce, making money and surviving. The human, too, has to survive and it is probably quite difficult to do that on a ranch in northern Mexico.

Effective wild species conservation is all about obtaining an agreement from a wide range of local people to participate in their conservation, which in this case is the endangered jaguar. I would go further and state that it is impossible to run an effective wildcat species conservation program without the full participation of a wide range of local residents, particularly farmers.

There is always a clash between wild cats and farmers because farmers have encroached upon the habitat and range of the wild cats and therefore they share the same area which means that a farmer’s livestock is living on the land of the jaguar in Northern Mexico. How impractical is that?

Wild cat reserves are often too small to accommodate the enormous ranges that wild cats require, especially the large species. A single male jaguar has a personal range of up to 100 square kilometers. Impressively, the Northern Jaguar Project (NJP) reserve is 50,000 acres. 100 square kms is about 25,000 acres. However, the reserve is, therefore, technically only able to contain a few cats, not enough for effective procreation because of inbreeding.

Despite the admirable attempt of the NJP to build a reserve out of two ranches, it is all but impossible to keep a large wild cat species within the reserve and what happens when it wanders away and bumps into humans?

Corazón was a famous jaguar in this reserve. She was well known and she had several litters of cubs. She was a treasure and an important cat. Her death was discovered because she wore a radio transmitting collar which fell silent indicating her death.

I have written about another attempt to re-wild the Jaguar into the USA in building a reserve within southern Arizona and New Mexico (on the border of Mexico). I am not sure how that project is progressing but there is certainly a body of people in America who are keen to reintroduce the Jaguar into the country other than in a cage. As I understand it another objective of NJP is to join these two reserves with a corridor. I wish them the best of luck but as far as I’m concerned it is the impossible dream. Sorry to be pessimistic.


  1. Firstly my thanks to Dan for showing me this story
  2. Secondly my thanks to the NJP website.
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

7 thoughts on “Re-Wilding The Jaguar In the USA: The Impossible Dream?”

  1. I watched a local television program on the reserve that focused on Corazón, who was named for a heart shaped rosette on her coat. Her story has been one of the things that united the farmers and ranchers on the areas to the project. She was a good mother and it is almost certain that she lived a few years longer than she would of if the project didn’t exist. But Marc is right. These backwoods farmers think with their guns and not with their heads. It’s a shame that Corazón got out of the reserve, but she shouldn’t of been killed over it. Just a gun shot (rubber bullets) would of scared her off. I wonder if they knew they were poisoning her. She was burned so they new it was illegal. I just can’t help but think there must of been something that could be done. I will miss her. RIP Corazón ♥♥♥

    Thank you for writing this amazing article Michael.

    1. Well said, Dan. It staggers me that when a beautiful wild cat such as the jaguar, which is so rare in that part of the world, is killed so casually without any thought to the preciousness of wildlife. It is pure ignorance and it makes me mad to be honest.

  2. Farmers are generally a bunch of inhumane nature controlling assholes. Their job is usually in part, to be an ass hole to nature. IT often involves being an ass hole to animals although it is often not restricted to that because farmers are also complete assholes to plants as well.

    Usually they like to have a few cats around – not too many – usually best to drown the kittens each year and maybe keep one or two to keep the rodents out.

    It is i their nature and in their blood to have no respect for life. What they call respect is only aimed at sustaining their living. They ‘respect’ nature because it can ruin their livelihoods – but it’s not actually nature or life they respect. It’s the power of nature to make their life difficult which they respect and fear.

    But nonetheless they go at nature like its theirs for the taking. Then they whine about how they can’t make a living. In England they want to kill anything thet threatens the animals because they need those animals so they can carry on being the ass holes that they are.

    If every large scale factory farmer or large scale farmer of ay sort went out of business I would laugh at their suffering. With great pleasure no less. I hope they suffer like the animals they are such proffessional ass holes to.


    No matter what you do where there are animals and farmers involved you can be sure that you are dealing with ass holes.

    You can replace the expression ‘ass hole’ with whatever you like as long as it’s very negative 🙂

    That’s just how I feel. I think westernized farming is deadly ad it’s already spread to most of the resat of the world. Pretty soon Ukraine will become another factory farming country to serve europe. All these poor countries which join europe – the people either leave to go clean other people’s homes in richer euro countries or they stay and get a dose of our factory farming techniques – the landscape is quickly destroyed, everybody leaves except the asshole farmers and the eurtocrats are happy for the extra cash.

    1. Meanwhile we have to all be sad about yet another brutal long painful death of a beautiful and rare animal because some f**kwit farmer doesn’t want to loose even one of his factory ‘own poop eating’ chickens or turkeys to be killed and therefore spared the torture of a living hell.

      Not only are the assholes – but they are also a bit stupid. They think it’s ok to put chili peppers in eyes of pigs so they are in pain and stay standing up so they can squeeze more onto the truck. People who work in the business of rapig this planet deserve not to die – but to live long horrible painful stress filled unhappy lives. They deserve to wish they were dead but be unable to kill themselves. They deserve to watch their own children die because of some stupid mistake they made – they deserve the worst nightmare – they deserve post traumatic stress disorder – because thats EXACTLY what they do to nature and nature does NOT deserve it. They do.

      Sorry – this got me going 🙂

    2. Yes, farmers are as you describe. They have no respect for animals other than as a means to make money. Although I shouldn’t generalise because there will be some farmers who perhaps are not very commercial and who respect animals but by and large they don’t. In the UK we have this badger cull going on right now, as you know, and it is quite disgusting to someone like me. There must be better ways of controlling TB in cattle than going around with rifles at night and shooting up badges inaccurately so they die in pain. It’s all very brutal in the UK these days.

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