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Conserv Biol. 2010 Apr;24(2):366-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01441.x. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

The role of landowners in jaguar conservation in Sonora, Mexico.

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  • 1Department of Biology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA.


The northernmost known breeding population of jaguars occurs in the municipality of NĂ¡cori Chico, Sonora, Mexico about 270 km from the United States-Mexico border and may be the source from which jaguars sighted in the United States dispersed. Since 1999 at least 11 jaguars (Panthera onca) had been illegally killed in the area due to predator control programs. We initiated a jaguar landowner-based conservation plan in 2004. The eight participating landowners agreed to suspend predator control programs targeting jaguars and pumas (Puma concolor) only if cattle losses were compensated. A private outfitter, with the consent of landowners, initiated white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) hunts in 2004 and agreed to pay the group of participating landowners US$1500 for every deer hunt permit sold. The funds paid to the landowners from deer hunts were sufficient to convince landowners to suspend all predator-control efforts of jaguars and pumas. The involvement of landowners in the jaguar conservation program in northeastern Sonora is a successful, private, wildlife-conservation initiative that provides an example for jaguar conservation efforts in northern Mexico.

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