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美洲豹瀕危無人問 美政府終劃設保護區

建立於 2014/03/11
摘譯自2014年3月5日ENS美國,亞利桑那州,鳳凰城報導;姜唯編譯;蔡麗伶審校

美國魚類暨野生動物保護局4日宣布,復育瀕危的美洲豹,在亞利桑那州南方和新墨西哥州設立廣達1194平方英里的「 瀕危棲息地 」(critical habitat)

美洲豹是唯一的美洲原生豹屬動物。(圖:Michael Ransburg)

美洲豹大量消失 IUCN列近危物種

金底黑斑點的美洲豹(Panthera onca)是全世界體型第三大的貓科動物,僅次於虎和獅。美洲豹曾遍布南加州和美國西南方一帶,路易斯安那州、肯塔基州和北卡羅萊納州也有牠們的蹤影。但是當局說,1982年之後,全美只發現6至7隻美洲豹,而且都是公的。

美國已經超過50年沒有母美洲豹或是繁殖配偶出現的紀錄。最後一隻母美洲豹已於1963年在亞利桑那州Mogollon Rim被獵人射殺。

墨西哥以南仍有美洲豹生存,亦曾有人在距離美墨邊界40英里以內處目擊過美洲豹。但由於森林砍伐、濕地乾涸以及因威脅畜牧動物被射殺,美洲豹已經大量的從其美國境內的棲息地消失,並被世界自然保育聯盟(IUCN)列為近危物種。

設立保育區 美洲豹有望重回原棲地

環團表示,保育區設立後,墨西哥距離美國最近的美洲豹群便能北上,並在其過去的棲息範圍自然繁衍。聯邦政府機關也不得在這塊瀕危棲息地上允許採礦或其他任何不利於美洲豹的商業活動。

目前有一隻美洲豹生活在圖森市外聖麗塔山美國林務署的土地上,位於規劃中的Rosemont銅礦範圍內。牠是美國2009年來首批被記錄下來的美洲豹之一;當時在一場非法捕捉行動中,亞利桑那州漁獵部射傷並安樂死了另一隻已經在亞塔斯科沙和帕哈利托山區生活了起碼16年的美洲豹。

不過聖麗塔山區卻未被包含在新瀕危棲地內。瀕危棲地有6個單位區塊,每一個單位區塊中,都包含至少一個美洲豹近年曾出現過,或可能經過的山區。

經過審查的研究指出,擁有瀕危棲息地的物種比沒有的物種復育成功機會高出一倍。美國魚類暨野生動物保護局表示,將在今年春天發表美洲豹復育計畫草案。

U.S. Designates Critical Habitat for Endangered Jaguars
PHOENIX, Arizona, March 5, 2014 (ENS)

Endangered jaguars will have 1,194 square miles of critical habitat in southern Arizona and New Mexico for their recovery, under a rule finalized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday.

The gold and black-spotted jaguar, Panthera onca, is the world’s third-largest cat, after tigers and lions.

Jaguars once roamed from southern California through the Southwest and lived in Louisiana, Kentucky and North Carolina, but only six, possibly seven, jaguars, all males, have been detected in the United States since 1982, says the Service.

No documented females or breeding pairs have occurred in the United States for over 50 years. The last female jaguar in the United States was shot by a hunter in 1963 on Arizona’s Mogollon Rim.

Jaguars still live in Mexico and points south, and have been seen within 40 miles of the Mexico-U.S. border. But the big cats have largely disappeared from their U.S. range due to clearing of forests and draining of wetlands and killing to protect livestock. The species is categorized as Near Threatened on the authoritative IUCN Red List.

Conservationists say protected habitat in the United States will allow jaguars to naturally repopulate their former range as they move northward from the nearest core population in Mexico.

The critical habitat designation prohibits federal agencies from destroying or “adversely modifying” the designated habitat by granting permits for mining or other commercial activities that would make the habitat unsuitable for jaguars.

There is currently a jaguar living on U.S. Forest Service land in the Santa Rita Mountains outside Tucson in the footprint of the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine.

This jaguar is the first of the big cats documented in the United States since 2009, when, during an illegal capture operation, the Arizona Game and Fish Department injured, then euthanized, a jaguar that had lived at least 16 years in the Atascosa and Pajarito mountains.

But the new critical habitat designation does include the Santa Rita Mountains. It consists of six units, each containing one or more mountain ranges in which jaguars have been recorded in recent years or through which they are thought to have traveled.

Peer-reviewed research shows that species with designated critical habitat are twice as likely to make progress toward recovery as those without such habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service now plans to release a draft jaguar recovery plan this spring.

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