Thursday, March 27, 2008

Even charismatic megafauna are screwed these days

Well, it certainly does suck for the jaguar in the southwest. It used to be that you could at least save the sexy mammals, if not the lowly insects. Nowadays, not so much. Here's the abbreviated version of the tale of the spotted cat:

1. The jaguar was wiped out at the behest of the livestock industry.
2. The species was considered extirpated in the U.S.

3. A rancher encountered one, snapped some photos.

4. Endangered Species Act protection was gained. (Not as simple as it sounds, but you know...)

5. The U.S. starts putting the economic screws to Mexico under NAFTA, flooding the agricultural markets, ruining the economy and any prospect of Mexicans staying home to make a living.

6. Department of Homeland Security decides to build a fortress in jaguar habitat to thwart the undocumented economic refugees coming for a better life roofing subdivisions in Phoenix.

7. US Fish and Wildlife Service decided (coincidentally) not to designate critical habitat, which allows the walling of its cross-border habitat to continue unmitigated.

8. Probable second extirpation. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Jaguar!

The longer and more eloquent version of the story can be found here. And while the Reuters article doesn't advocate for removing the border infrastructure, the Bush Administration, or Michael Chertoff immediately, we're just glad that this charismatic researcher of a charismatic species is speaking out. Send your supportive checks to Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project.

You know, while there still are jaguars to detect.