/ Modified may 22, 2015 3:01 p.m.

Ranchers Sue Feds over Proposed Jaguar Habitat

750,000 acres along Arizona, New Mexico borders with Mexico would come under protection.

Jaguar Sighting SPOT These endangered jaguars are part of a breeding population located near southern arizona . (PHOTO: AZPM )



Farming and ranching groups in New Mexico have filed suit against the federal government over the Department of Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to protect more than 750,000 acres of jaguar habitat.

The land was designated a critical habitat last year meant to help jaguars, an endangered species, survive in the Southwest. The groups that filed the lawsuit argue that the critical habitat is placing too many restrictions on landowners.

About a half dozen jaguars have been spotted in Arizona over the last 20 years, said Randy Serraglio, of the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson. That included one male recently photographed numerous times in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

“If we protect the areas they need to live in and survive, then they will eventually recolonize this place which they used to live in for thousands of years,” he said.

Jaguars prey on deer, javelina and other wildlife.

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