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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Along with the Jaguar, the Jaguarundi is the most threatened of the "cat" species calling the lower 48 home..........It is truly unbelievable that it has taken the USFW Service 40 years to develop a Recovery Plan for the Jaguarundi, a small wildcat that based on most evidence was historically limited to south Texas.............I say "was", because it has been 30 years since the last verified sighting of this diminutive "Jag"..........A viable population exists 95 miles south of the border in Mexico and the hope of Conservationists(against long odds) is to find a way to create enough connective "scrub" habitat to rewild the Jaguarundi in Texas.........The jaguarundi has been a second thought in terms of conservation efforts, pushed to the appendices by the larger ocelot which historically was sympatric with the Jaguarundi................. The ocelot is also endangered and similarly inhabits the dense thorn scrub that covered much of this part of Texas and northeast Mexico............. But unlike the jaguarundi, it still has a small breeding population in South Texas............ State, federal and private groups have worked in recent years to expand a string of wildlife refuges and establish corridors that could connect them................ The plan noted that while the jaguarundi hasn't been the focus of conservation efforts, it would have likely benefited from efforts aimed at the ocelot

Plan developed for endangered South Texas cat - By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN,


The federal government has established a
 recovery plan for the jaguarundi, nearly
 four decades since the small wildcat was
 listed as an endangered species and
 nearly three decades since one was
confirmed in the U.S.
But don't expect to see the reddish brown
 or grey feline returning to what remains
 of the thick brush in South Texas anytime
soon. The plan recently approved by the
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is heavy on
 additional research and habitat restoration
 but is not especially optimistic about its
prospects for success.
The jaguarundi, a bit bigger than the average
 house cat, had much of its preferred
 thorn scrub habitat cleared long ago in Texas
 for agriculture and more recently for
 development in the rapidly growing border region.
The cats still prowl in northeast
 Mexico, where much of the research would take
"There's just not a whole lot of information on
 the jaguarundi," said Taylor Jones of
 the nonprofit WildEarth Guardians, which sued
 and reached a settlement with the
 government that called for the recovery plan.
 She hopes the plan will spark new
research, and in the near term contribute to
additional efforts to conserve and
 restore the cat's habitat. "You certainly
couldn't bring them back if they didn't
have any place to live."
The federal wildlife agency expects the
recovery will require decades of research
 and planning and have to overcome some
 major obstacles, including not having
any known jaguarundi populations left in the
 U.S. and little information of the status
 of the species in Mexico.
The recovery plan notes that the nearest
population of jaguarundis is 95 miles
 south of the Texas border, but it's unlikely
 enough connected habitat exists for
 the cat to return to the U.S. Even if the
 habitat was restored, it's possible the
 felines would not be motivated to move
That would leave researchers with the
complicated and difficult option of
moving a jaguarundi population from
 Mexico to the U.S.
"I don't think anyone's even sure if
 jaguarundis would take well to being
 reintroduced," Jones said.
"Re-introduction is pretty hard on the
 animals. It's often a last-ditch method
 when there's really no other way to get
 them re-established."
It's not clear how many jaguarundis
existed when the species was first listed
as endangered in 1976, but it was
determined they were in decline due to
 habitat destruction. The last confirmed
 sighting of a jaguarundi in the U.S.
was a dead one on a road outside
 Brownsville in South Texas in 1986.
Before that, the last was seen in 1969.
Lesli Gray, a spokeswoman for the
federal wildlife agency, said there is
no guarantee funding will
exist to meet the agency's goals, but
 at least a plan has been developed
 that outlines what is needed to delist
 the species or at least improve its
The recovery plan calls for collecting
 all that's known about the jaguarundi
 and its range, doing additional research
 and outlining the steps needed for
 its conservation. The agency would likely
 have to partner with other
government entities and work with
 scientists in Mexico.
The plan calls for spending more than
$7 million in each of the first two
years. Under a fully funded plan the
 jaguarundi could be downlisted by
2040 if three or more established
 populations are found with a total of
 at least 250 cats. The species could
 be delisted 10 years later.
For years, the jaguarundi has been
 a second thought in terms of
conservation efforts, pushed to the
 appendices by the larger and spotted
 ocelot. The ocelot is also endangered
 and similarly inhabits the dense
 thorn scrub that covered much of this
 part of Texas and northeast Mexico.
 But unlike the jaguarundi, it still has a
small breeding population in South
Texas. State, federal and private groups
 have worked in recent years to
 expand a string of wildlife refuges and
 establish corridors that could 
connect them. The plan noted that
 while the jaguarundi hasn't been
 the focus of conservation efforts,
 it would have likely benefited from 
efforts aimed at the ocelot, which 
inhabits similar habitat.

Jaguarundi Facts

Common Name: Jaguarundi
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Felis)
Species: yaguarondi
Sub Species: (herpailurus
 yaguarondi fossata) Guatemalan
 Jaguarundi(H.y. cacomitli)
 gulf coast jaguarundi  (H.y.
Panamanian jaguarundi (H.y.
 toleteca) Sinaloan jaguarundi
Misc.: While Jaguarundis are
 not native to the south-eastern
 States, it is believed that a feral
 population exists in Florida, established
 from an introduced populationof
escaped pets in the 1940’s. They were
 reported to be quite easy to “tame”
by early Central American natives,
 and were used to control rodent
 populations around villages. Today,
 it is not recommended to keep these
 or any other
wild animal, as pets. Jaguarundis are
one of the only felines to not
have contrasting colors on the
 backs of their ears.
Size and Appearance: this cat is
unique in its appearance among
the felids in that it more closely
resembles a weasel. They have
 elongated bodies, short legs, a
 small flattened head, long “otter-like” tail,
 and a sleek, unmarked coat. Adults
can weigh as little as 6 pounds or
 as much as 20. They stand 10-14 inches
 at the shoulder, and reach
 a length of 35-55 inches. Coats occur
 in 3 main color variations: black
, brownish-grey, or red. Any or all
 colors can occur in a single litter, but
 generally the darker colors are usually
 found in the rain forest, while
the paler color is found in the drier
 environments. The red color was
 once considered a separate species
 – F. eyra.
Habitat: A cat
 of the lowlands,
 not generally
found above 6500 ft.,
 Jaguarundis occupy
 a wide range of both
open and closed habitats –
 from dry scrub, swamp
 and savannah
woodland to primary forest.
The factor used to determine habitat
 suitability is access to dense ground
 vegetation. Of all of the New World
 felines, Jaguarundis are the most
 adaptable in its ability to occupy diverse
Distribution: Northern Mexico, Central
 and South America, Texas
 and possibly Florida.
Reproduction and Offspring: After a
 gestation of approximately
70-75 days, females produce a
 litter of 1-4 kittens. Like cougars and
 lions, newborns are spotted,
and the spots
soon disappear. They begin to take
 solid foods around the age of
6 weeks, and attain sexual maturity
 between 24-36 months.
In captivity, Jaguarundis have lived
 up to 15 years.
Social System and Communication:
 Jaguarundis are known to
 be solitary or travel and forage in pairs.
 They have a wide variety
of vocalizations, with 13 distinct calls
 having been documented.
Hunting and Diet: Their primary
diet is quite varied and is
comprised of small rodents, rabbits
, armadillos, opossums,
quail, wild turkey, reptiles, frogs, fish
 and domestic poultry.
They have also
been recorded eating fish stranded
 in puddles.
Principal Threats: Generally not
 exploited for trade, they
 are still caught by traps that were
 for commercially valuable species.
 They are notorious for
raiding domestic poultry and have
 become nuisance animals
 and threatened by farmers because
 of it. Their biggest
threat is habitat destruction and
human encroachment.
Status: CITES: Appendix II, Central
 and North American
populations Appendix I. IUCN: Not listed.
Felid TAG recommendation:
 Jaguarundi (Herpailurus
 jaguarondi). Jaguarundis are
 uncommon in
zoos, and the founder size of
 most zoo-held populations
 is only two individuals. Unless
a significant number of
founders are obtained from range
 countries, the captive
population is probably not viable.
Therefore, the TAG
 recommends this species for
Phase-Out in North America.
At the Annual AZA Conference
 (September 1999), the
 following four species were
recommended by the Felid
TAG to be ‘down-graded’ to
 a Phase-Out populations.
 For the jaguarundi, tigrina,
 and Geoffroy’s cat, these
 recommendations were made
 because of limited space
 available, the limited number
of founders in
these populations, and limited
 potential for acquiring
 additional founders.

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