A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., referred calls to the regional office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has primary responsibility for the jaguar recovery. A call there was not returned.
Benjamin Tuggle, regional director of the wildlife agency in Albuquerque, recommended in a December 21 memo to Hall that the recovery efforts be abandoned, saying his office had concluded "that preparation of a recovery plan will not contribute to the conservation of the jaguar."
Tuggle said that while four male jaguars had been documented in the U.S. border region, the latest last year, no females have been confirmed there since 1963, indicating that "the United States does not support a separate breeding population" for the cat.
"Actions taken within the United States are likely to benefit a small number of individual jaguars peripheral to the species, with little potential to effect recovery of the species as whole," Tuggle wrote.
Tuggle suggested that the recovery effort should be focused on Mexico and Central America, where the cat is more widely located and where it also is protected by law.
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