Groups call for jaguars to be reintroduced in US Southwest

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FILE – This Dec. 1, 2016 file image from video provided by Fort Huachuca shows a wild jaguar in southern Arizona. (Fort Huachuca via AP, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmental groups and scientists with two universities want U.S. wildlife managers to consider reintroducing jaguars to the American Southwest.

In a recently published paper, they say habitat destruction, highways and segments of the U.S.-Mexico border wall mean that natural reestablishment of the large cats in the region would be unlikely over the next century without human intervention.

Jaguars are currently found in 19 countries, but they’ve lost about half of their historic range. Several individual male jaguars have been spotted in Arizona and New Mexico over the last two decades, but there’s no evidence of breeding pairs establishing territories beyond northern Mexico.

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