For those who aren’t aware, the northernmost known breeding population of jaguars (Panthera onca) lives in the Mexican state of Sonora. When jaguars first started reappearing in the U.S. after being extirpated (locally extinct) by white settlers, most experts thought that they were coming from Sonora.
Unfortunately, the Sonoran jaguar population was under extreme pressure; conflicts with ranchers in northwestern Mexico’s arid scrublands were threatening to snuff out the U.S.’s best hope for jaguar recovery.
To protect Sonora’s jaguars and keep the door open for the species’s eventual return to the U.S., a binational team of conservationists working through the Northern Jaguar Project (NJP) established the Northern Jaguar Reserve.
Blust’s article largely focuses on the work being done in and around the Northern Jaguar Reserve. She talks about how conservationists like Miguel Gómez are helping ranchers to see the value of wildlife conservation, and to build tolerance for jaguars.
However, it’s not just ranchers who have a stake in jaguar conservation. The NJP and other groups are also doing all they can to generate support for jaguar conservation in northern Mexico’s towns, especially among local school children.
While these efforts in Mexico are crucial, American politics are threatening to shut jaguars out of the U.S. for the foreseeable future.
If Donald Trump gets to build his xenophobic border wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, then it will be impossible for jaguars – and many other species – to cross the international boundary.
Blust doesn’t forget about this vital point: Part 2 of her story discusses the corridors that jaguars need to enter the U.S., and how the wall would impact them.
While Blust’s article contains great information, I have a couple of complaints about it.
First, in the last sentence under “The Sinaloa Corridor” subheading, she calls Trump’s wall a “fence.” That’s an awfully benign way to describe a 30+ ft-tall barrier of solid concrete.
Make no mistake, the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall would be a wall; similar to, but larger than, the Berlin Wall. Calling it a “fence” makes it seem relatively harmless, even though the wall might impact up to 10,000 species.
My second critique is that the article in Fronteras Desk contains several grammatical errors, such as the repeated, incorrect use of there/their/they’re.
I was shocked to see such basic errors in a piece of professional journalism. While the there/their/they’re mistakes don’t negate the value of Blust’s story, they make the piece less pleasurable to read.
Despite the questionable border wall phrasing and grammar mistakes, Kendal Blust’s article about northern jaguars is definitely worth your time. In addition, the whole story is narrated in optional audio recordings, so you can listen to it too.