National Geographic : 2009 Mar
• mingling their genes throughout their entire range, so that individuals in northern Mexico are identical to those in southern Brazil. For that to be true, some of the cats must wander regularly and widely between populations. Rabinowitz and his colleagues went back to their data to see whether the preserves could still be linked with habitat adequate to support a traveling jaguar. "Lo and behold," Rabinowitz said, "while good jaguar habitat, where the cats can live and breed, has decreased by 50 per- cent since the 1900s, habitat a jaguar can use to travel through has decreased only by 16 per- cent. Most of it is intact and contiguous. ese places are like little oases---very small patches that jaguars will come to, use a while, and then leave. We were writing these places o because they re not habitat where a permanent jaguar population can live. Now they re turning out to be crucial." Rabinowitz hopes to convince national governments throughout the jaguar s range to maintain this web of habitat through enlight- ened land-use planning, such as choosing non- critical areas for major developments and road construction. "We re not going to ask them to throw people off their land or to make new national parks," he said. The habitat matrix could encompass woodlands used for a variety of human activities from timber harvest to cit- rus plantations. Studies have shown that areas smaller than one and a half square miles can serve as temporary, one- or two-day homes--- stepping-stones---for wandering jaguars. While the habitat making up the proposed network is mostly intact for now, prompt con- servation action will be needed to protect it, THEY SAY JAGUARS ARE NOTHING BUT CATTLE KILLERS, DOG KILLERS. THEY SHOULD BE SHOT ON SIGHT.