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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2012-0042; 4500030114]

RIN 1018-AX13

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Jaguar

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to designate critical habitat for the jaguar (Panthera onca) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, we propose to designate as critical habitat approximately 339,220 hectares (838,232 acres) in Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise Counties, Arizona, and Hidalgo County, New Mexico.
DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before October 19, 2012. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown inFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTby October 4, 2012.
ADDRESSES: (1)Electronically:Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov.In the Search field, enter Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2012-0042, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then click on the Search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Comment Now!"

(2)By hard copy:Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2012-0042; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments onhttp://www.regulations.gov.This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services Fish and Wildlife Office, 2321 West Royal Palm Drive, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021; telephone 602-242-0210. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary

This rule proposes to designate critical habitat for the species.This is a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for an endangered mammal, the jaguar (Panthera onca). In total, we are proposing approximately 339,220 hectares (838,232 acres) for designation as critical habitat for the jaguar in Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise Counties, Arizona, and Hidalgo County, New Mexico. We are proposing to designate six critical habitat units for the jaguar in Arizona and New Mexico as follows:

• Approximately 56,241 ha (138,975 ac) in the Baboquivari Mountains, Arizona.

• Approximately 58,104 ha (143,578 ac) in the Tumacacori, Atascosa, and Pajarito Mountains, Arizona.

• Approximately 138,821 ha (343,033 ac) in the Santa Rita, Patagonia, and Huachuca Mountains and Canelo Hills, Arizona.

• Approximately 42,694 ha (105,498 ac) in the Whetstone Mountains, including connections to the Santa Rita and Huachuca Mountains, Arizona.

• Approximately 40,290 ha (99,559 ac) in the Peloncillo Mountains, Arizona and New Mexico.

• Approximately 3,071 ha (7,590 ac) in the San Luis Mountains, New Mexico.

We are preparing an economic analysis.To ensure that we consider the probable economic impacts of the proposed designation, pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we are preparing an economic analysis. The analysis will be used to inform the development of the final designation of critical habitat for the jaguar. We will publish an announcement and seek public comments on the draft economic analysis when it is completed.

We will seek peer review.We are seeking comments from independent specialists to ensure that our critical habitat designation is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers to comment on our specific assumptions and conclusions used to develop this proposed critical habitat designation. Because we will consider all comments and information received during the comment period, our final determination may differ from this proposal.

Public Comments

We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:

(1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as “critical habitat” under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531et seq.) including whether there are threats to the species from human activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of designation such that the designation of critical habitat may not be prudent.

(2) Specific information on:

(a) The amount and distribution of jaguar habitat;

(b) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (1972) (or are currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and why;

(c) What period of time surrounding the time of listing (1972) should be used to determine occupancy and why, and whether or not data from 1982 to the present should be used in this determination;

(d) Special management considerations or protection that may be needed in critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing for the potential effects of climate change; and

(e) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why.

(3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.

(4) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on the jaguar and proposed critical habitat.

(5) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final designation; in particular, any impacts on small entities or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts.

(6) If lands owned and managed by Fort Huachuca should be considered for exemption because the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan for the Fort currently benefits the jaguar, whether or not the species is specifically addressed.

(7) Whether any specific areas we are proposing for critical habitat designation should be considered forexclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding any specific area outweigh the benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.

(8) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and comments.

You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed inADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in theADDRESSESsection.

We will post your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—onhttp://www.regulations.gov.You may request at the top of your document that we withhold personal information such as your street address, phone number, or email address from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection onhttp://www.regulations.gov,or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services Fish and Wildlife Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Background

It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to designation of critical habitat for jaguar in this proposed rule. For more information on the species itself, refer to thePrevious Federal Actionssection, below, the final listing clarification rule published in theFederal Registeron July 22, 1997 (62 FR 39147), and the previous critical habitat prudency determination published in theFederal Registeron July 12, 2006 (71 FR 39335).

Species Information

The jaguar (Panthera onca), a large member of the cat family (Felidae), is an endangered species that currently occurs from southern Arizona and New Mexico to southern South America. Jaguars are muscular cats with relatively short, massive limbs and a deep-chested body. They are cinnamon-buff in color with many black spots; melanistic (dark coloration) forms are also known, primarily from the southern part of the range.

The life history of the jaguar has been summarized by Seymour (1989, entire) and Brown and López González (2001, entire), among others. Jaguars breed year-round rangewide, but at the southern and northern ends of their range there is evidence for a spring breeding season. Gestation is about 100 days; litters range from one to four cubs (usually two). Cubs remain with their mother for nearly 2 years. Females begin sexual activity at 3 years of age, males at 4. Studies have documented few wild jaguars more than 11 years old, although a wild male jaguar in Arizona was documented to be at least 15 years of age (Johnsonet al.2011, p. 12), and in Jalisco, Mexico, two wild females were documented to be at least 12 and 13 (Núñez 2011, pers. comm.). The consensus of jaguar experts is that the average lifespan of the jaguar is 10 years.

The list of prey taken by jaguars throughout their range includes more than 85 species (Seymour 1989, p. 4). Known prey include, but are not limited to, collared peccaries (javelina (Pecari tajacu)), white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari), capybaras (Hydrochoerusspp.), pacas (Agouti paca), agoutis (Dasyproctaspp.), armadillos (Dasypusspp.), caimans (Caimanspp.), turtles (Podocnemisspp.), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), livestock, and various other reptiles, birds, and fish (sources as cited in Seymour 1989, p. 4; Núñezet al.2000, pp. iii-iv; Rosas-Rosas 2006, p. 17; Rosas-Rosaset al.2008, pp. 557-558). Jaguars are considered opportunistic feeders, especially in rainforests, and their diet varies according to prey density and ease of prey capture (sources as cited in Seymour 1989, p. 4). Jaguars equally use medium- and large-size prey, with a trend toward use of larger prey as distance increases from the equator (López González and Miller 2002, p. 218). Javelina and white-tailed deer are thought to be the mainstays in the diet of jaguars in the United States and Mexico borderlands (Brown and López González 2001, p. 51).

Previous Federal Actions

In 1972, the jaguar was listed as endangered (37 FR 6476; March 30, 1972) in accordance with the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 (ESCA), a precursor to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531et seq.). Under the ESCA, the Service maintained separate listings for foreign species and species native to the United States. At that time, the jaguar was believed to be extinct in the United States; thus, the jaguar was included only on the foreign species list. The jaguar's range was described as extending from the international boundary of the United States and Mexico southward to include Central and South America (37 FR 6476). In 1973, the Act superseded the ESCA. The foreign and native lists were replaced by a single “List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife,” which was first published in theFederal Registeron September 26, 1975 (40 FR 44412). In this regulation, the jaguar's range again was described as including Central and South America (40 FR 44412), but not the United States.

On July 25, 1979, the Service published a notice (44 FR 43705) stating that, through an oversight in the listing of the jaguar and six other endangered species, the United States populations of these species were not protected by the Act. The notice asserted that it was always the intent of the Service that all populations of these species, including the jaguar, deserved to be listed as endangered, whether they occurred in the United States or in foreign countries. Therefore, the notice stated that the Service intended to take action as quickly as possible to propose the U.S. populations of these species (including the jaguar) for listing.

On July 25, 1980, the Service published a proposed rule (45 FR 49844) to list the jaguar and four of the other species referred to above in the United States. The proposal for listing the jaguar and three other species was withdrawn on September 17, 1982 (47 FR 41145). The notice issued by the Service stated that the Act mandated withdrawal of proposed rules to list species which have not been finalized within 2 years of the proposal.

On August 3, 1992, the Service received a petition from the instructor and students of the American Southwest Sierra Institute and Life Net to list the jaguar as endangered in the United States. The petition was dated July 26, 1992. On April 13, 1993 (58 FR 19216), the Service published a finding that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted, and requested public comments and biological data on the status of the jaguar. On July 13, 1994 (59 FR 35674), the Service published a proposed rule to extend endangered status to the jaguar throughout its range.

On April 10, 1995, Congress enacted a moratorium prohibiting work on listing actions (Pub. L. 104-6) and eliminated funding for the Service to conduct final listing activities. The moratorium was lifted on April 26, 1996, by means of a Presidential waiver, at which time limited funding for listing actions was made available through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of1996 (Pub. L. 104-134, 100 Stat. 1321, 1996). The Service published guidance for restarting the listing program on May 16, 1996 (61 FR 24722). The listing process for the jaguar was resumed in September 1996, when the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity filed a law suit and motion for summary judgment for the Secretary to finalize the listing for the jaguar and four other species. On July 22, 1997, we published a final rule clarifying that endangered status for the jaguar extended into the United States (62 FR 39147). For more information on previous Federal actions concerning the jaguar, please refer to the July 22, 1997, final clarifying rule (62 FR 39147).

The July 22, 1997, clarifying rule included a determination that designation of critical habitat for the jaguar was not prudent (62 FR 39147). At that time, we determined that the greatest threat to the jaguar in the United States was from direct taking of individuals through shooting or other means. As a consequence, we determined that designating critical habitat for the jaguar was “not prudent,” because “publication of detailed critical habitat maps and descriptions in theFederal Registerwould likely make the species more vulnerable to activities prohibited under section 9 of the Act.” Therefore, we believed that a critical habitat designation would increase the degree of threat to the species.

In response to a complaint by the Center for Biological Diversity, we agreed to re-evaluate our 1997 prudency determination and make a new determination by July 3, 2006 as to whether designation of critical habitat for the jaguar was prudent. In that subsequent finding (July 12, 2006; 71 FR 39335), we noted that since the time of our July 22, 1997, determination, the Jaguar Conservation Team, Arizona Game and Fish Department, publications, and other sources routinely had given specific and general locations of jaguars that had been sighted in the United States, and, as of 2006, these sightings were being documented through Web sites, public notifications, reports, books, and meeting notes. Publishing critical habitat maps and descriptions, as part of designating critical habitat, would not result in the species being more vulnerable in the United States than it was currently (in 2006). We then assessed whether designation of critical habitat would be beneficial to the species. We found that no areas in the United States met the definition of critical habitat, and, as a result, designation of critical habitat for the jaguar would not be beneficial to the species. As a result, we again determined that designation of critical habitat for the jaguar was not prudent (71 FR 39335). We did not consider designation of lands outside of the United States in this analysis, because, under the Act's implementing regulations, critical habitat cannot be designated in foreign countries (50 CFR 424.12(h)).

The Center for Biological Diversity again challenged the Service's decision that critical habitat was not prudent for the jaguar. On March 30, 2009, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Court) issued an opinion inCenter for Biological Diversityv.Kempthorne,CV 07-372-TUC JMR (Lead) andDefenders of Wildlifev.Hall,CV08-335 TUC JMR (Consolidated) (D. Ariz., Mar. 30, 2009), that set aside our previous prudency determination and required that we issue a new determination as to “whether to designate critical habitat,” i.e., whether such designation is prudent, by January 8, 2010. In this opinion, the Court noted, among other things, that the Service's regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b) require that the Service “shall focus on the principal biological constituent elements within the defined area that are essential to the conservation of the species.” Such elements include consideration of space for individual and population growth, and for normal behavior; food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; cover or shelter; sites for breeding, reproduction, rearing of offspring, germination, or seed dispersal; and habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historic geographical and ecological distributions of a species.

On January 13, 2010, we published a notice of determination that we had reevaluated our previous “not prudent” finding regarding critical habitat designation for the jaguar and the information supporting our previous findings (75 FR 1741). We also evaluated information and analysis that became available subsequent to the July 12, 2006, finding. We determined there were physical and biological features that can be used by jaguars in the United States. Thus, in responding to the Court's order, and following a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, including the ongoing conservation programs for the jaguar, we determined that the designation of critical habitat for the jaguar would be beneficial. We also determined that designation of critical habitat would not be expected to increase the degree of threat to the species. We solicited comments and information on this determination, and stated we anticipated publishing a proposed critical habitat designation in theFederal Registerby January 2011.

On October 18, 2010, we sent a letter to the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife updating them on our process of developing a recovery plan and critical habitat for the jaguar. We stated that, because of scant information currently available for northern jaguars, we would be convening a bi-national Jaguar Recovery Team to synthesize information on the jaguar, focusing on a unit comprising jaguars in the northern portion of their range. We further stated that we would be working with the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission/International Union for Conservation of Nature to conduct a population viability analysis and a population and habitat viability analysis for the jaguar. We anticipated that these analyses would assist us in determining those recovery actions that would be most effective for achieving a viable jaguar population, as well as providing information relevant to determining critical habitat for the jaguar. Additionally, we stated that, based on the unusual situation where the best information on habitat in the United States essential to the conservation of the jaguar was being gathered through the recovery planning effort, we would postpone publishing a proposed critical habitat rule until spring 2012.

Critical Habitat Background

Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:

(1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features

(a) Essential to the conservation of the species and

(b) Which may require special management considerations or protection; and

(2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.

Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures providedunder the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.

Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.

Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the conservation of the species and (2) which may require special management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those physical and biological features within an area, we focus on the principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal wetlands, water quality, tide, and soil type) that are essential to the conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are the elements of physical or biological features that, when laid out in the appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement to provide for a species' life-history processes, are essential to the conservation of the species.

Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species but that was not occupied at the time of listing may be essential to the conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area occupied by a species only when a designation limited to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species.

Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in theFederal Registeron July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), and our associated Information Quality Guidelines, provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions are based on the best scientific data available. They require our biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical habitat.

When we are determining which areas should be designated as critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the information developed during the listing process for the species. Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or experts' opinions or personal knowledge.

Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species, and (3) the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if actions occurring in these areas may affect the species. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some cases. These protections and conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of this species. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis of the best available information at the time of designation will not control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other species conservation planning efforts if new information available at the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.

Jaguar Habitat Requirements in the United States and U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Area

Most of the information regarding jaguar habitat requirements comes from Central and South America; little, if any, is available for the northwestern-most portion of its range, including the United States. Jaguar habitat in Central and South America is quite different from habitat available in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area, where jaguars show a high affinity for lowland wet communities, including swampy savannas or tropical rain forests toward and at middle latitudes. Swank and Teer (1989, p. 14) state that jaguars prefer a warm, tropical climate, usually associated with water, and are rarely found in extensive arid areas. Rabinowitz (1999, p. 97) affirms that the most robust jaguar populations have been associated with tropical climates in areas of low elevation with dense cover and year-round water sources. Brown and López González (2001, p. 43) further state that, in South and Central America, jaguars usually avoid open country like grasslands or desertscrub, instead preferring the closed vegetativestructure of nearly every tropical forest type.

However, jaguars have been documented in arid areas of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States, including thornscrub, desertscrub, lowland desert, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland communities (Brown and López González 2001, pp. 43-50; Boydston and López González 2005, p. 54; McCain and Childs 2008, p. 7; Rosas-Rosas and Bender 2012, p. 88). The more open, dry habitat of the southwestern United States has been characterized as marginal habitat for jaguars in terms of water, cover, and prey densities (Rabinowitz 1999, p. 97). However, McCain and Childs (2008, p. 7) documented two male jaguars (and possibly a third) using an extensive area including habitats of the Sonoran lowland desert, Sonoran desert scrub, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland in mountain ranges in southern Arizona. Therefore, while habitat in the United States can be considered marginal when compared to other areas throughout the species' range, it appears that a few, possibly resident jaguars are able to use the more open, arid habitat found in the southwestern United States.

To define the physical and biological features required for jaguar habitat in the United States, we are relying on studies conducted in Mexico as close to the U.S.-Mexico border as available. Many of these studies have been compiled and summarized by the Jaguar Recovery Team in the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, entire) and Digital Mapping in Support of Recovery Planning for the Northern Jaguar report (Sanderson and Fisher 2011, pp. 1-11). These documents describe the entire Northwestern Recovery Unit and Northwestern Management Unit of the jaguar (seeJaguar Recovery Planning in Relation to Critical Habitat,below) including areas of Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Jalisco, Mexico, and south-central and southeastern Arizona and southeastern New Mexico in the United States (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 20-24). When U.S.-specific data are available, we attempt to narrow the focus of our analysis to information within the United States to determine the physical and biological features currently present that provide jaguar habitat north of the border.

The Jaguar Recovery Team (2012, pp. 15-16) determined that high-quality habitat for jaguars in the Northwestern Recovery Unit and Northwestern Management Unit includes the following features: (1) High abundance of native prey, particularly large prey like deer and peccary and adequate numbers of medium-sized prey; (2) water available within 10 kilometers (km) (6.2 miles (mi)) year round; (3) dense vegetative cover (to stalk and ambush prey and for denning and resting), particularly including Sinaloan thornscrub; (4) rugged topography, including canyons and ridges, and some rocky hills good for denning and resting; (5) connectivity to allow normal demographic processes to occur and maintain genetic diversity; (6) expansive areas of adequate habitat (i.e., area large enough to support 50 to 100 jaguars) with low human density; (7) low human activity, development, and infrastructure, including low densities of high-speed roads, mines, and agriculture; and (8) no to low jaguar persecution or poaching by humans. Therefore, we are basing our definition of jaguar habitat in the United States on these features but with modifications more applicable to areas north of the U.S.-Mexico border (seePhysical or Biological Features,below).

Jaguar Recovery Planning in Relation to Critical Habitat

The 2012 Recovery Outline for the Jaguar describes two recovery units for the jaguar across its range, the Northwestern and Pan American Recovery Units (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 58). Recovery units are subunits of the listed species' habitat that are geographically or otherwise identifiable and essential to the recovery of the species (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 20).

Recovery units for the jaguar are further divided into core, secondary, and peripheral areas (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 20-23). Core areas have both persistent verified records of jaguar occurrence over time and recent evidence of reproduction. Secondary areas are those that contain jaguar habitat with either or both historical or recent records of jaguar presence with no recent record or very few records of reproduction. In peripheral areas, most historical jaguar records are sporadic, and there is no or minimal evidence of long-term presence or reproduction that might indicate colonization or sustained use of these areas by jaguars.

Potential jaguar habitat in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area is part of the secondary area of the Northwestern Management Unit within the Northwestern Recovery Unit for the jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 58). Because such a small portion of the jaguar's range occurs in the United States, it is anticipated that recovery of the entire species will rely primarily on actions that occur outside of the United States; activities that may adversely or beneficially affect jaguars in the United States are less likely to affect recovery than activities in core areas of their range (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 38). However, the portion of the United States is located within a secondary area that provides a recovery function benefitting the overall recovery unit (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 40, 42). For example, specific areas within this secondary area that provide the physical and biological features essential to jaguar habitat can contribute to the species' persistence and, therefore, overall conservation by providing areas to support some individuals during dispersal movements, by providing small patches of habitat (perhaps in some cases with a few resident jaguars), and as areas for cyclic expansion and contraction of the nearest core area and breeding population in the Northwestern Recovery Unit (about 210 km (130 mi) south of the U.S.-Mexico border in Sonora near the towns of Huasabas, Sahuaripa (Brown and López González 2001, pp. 108-109), and Nacori Chico (Rosas-Rosas and Bender 2012, pp. 88-89)). Independent peer review cited in our July 22, 1997, clarifying rule (62 FR 39147, pp. 39153-39154) states that individuals dispersing into the United States are important because they occupy habitat that serves as a buffer to zones of regular reproduction and are potential colonizers of vacant range, and that, as such, areas supporting them are important to maintaining normal demographics, as well as allowing for possible range expansion. As described in the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar, the Northwestern Recovery Unit is essential for the conservation of the species; therefore, consideration of the spatial and biological dynamics that allow this unit to function and that benefit the overall unit is prudent. Providing connectivity from the United States to Mexico is a key element to maintaining those processes.

As mentioned above, the U.S. lands within the secondary area of the Northwestern Recovery Unit are also located within the Northwestern Management Unit. Management units, as described in the Recovery Outline, are areas within a recovery unit that might require different management, be managed by different entities, or encompass different populations (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 40). The U.S. lands located within the Northwestern Management Unit simply acknowledge the existence of different speciesmanagement on either side of the International Border with Mexico. This additional description of the U.S. lands as part of management unit does not mean that the habitat in United States has any less significance within the secondary area of the recovery unit.

Additionally, as thoroughly discussed in the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 19-20) and Johnsonet al.(2011, pp. 30-31), populations at the edge of a species' range play a role in maintaining the total genetic diversity of a species; in some cases, these peripheral populations persist the longest as fragmentation and habitat loss impact the total range (Channell and Lomolino 2000, pp. 84-85). The United States and northwestern Mexico represent the northernmost extent of the jaguar's range, with populations persisting in distinct ecological conditions (xeric, or extremely dry, habitat) that occur nowhere else in the species' range (Sandersonet al.2002, entire). Peripheral populations such as these are an important genetic resource in that they may be beneficial to the protection of evolutionary processes and the environmental systems that are likely to generate future evolutionary diversity (Lesica and Allendorf 1995, entire). This may be particularly important considering the potential threats of global climate change (see “Climate Change,” below). The ability for jaguars in the Northwestern Recovery Unit to utilize physical and biological habitat features in the Northwestern Management Unit is ecologically important to the recovery of the species; therefore, maintaining connectivity to Mexico is essential to the conservation of the jaguar.

Climate Change

The degree to which climate change will affect jaguar habitat in the United States is uncertain, but it has the potential to adversely affect the jaguar within the next 50 to 100 years (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 32). Climate change will be a particular challenge for biodiversity because the interaction of additional stressors associated with climate change and current stressors may push species beyond their ability to survive (Lovejoy 2005, pp. 325-326). The synergistic implications of climate change and habitat fragmentation are the most threatening facet of climate change for biodiversity (Hannah and Lovejoy 2005, p. 4). Current climate change predictions for terrestrial areas in the Northern Hemisphere indicate warmer air temperatures, more intense precipitation events, and increased summer continental drying (Fieldet al.1999, pp. 1-3; Hayhoeet al.2004, p. 12422; Cayanet al.2005, p. 6; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, p. 1181). Climate change may lead to increased frequency and duration of severe storms and droughts (Golladayet al.2004, p. 504; McLaughlinet al.2002, p. 6074; Cooket al.2004, p. 1015).

The current prognosis for climate change impacts in the American Southwest includes fewer frost days; warmer temperatures; greater water demand by plants, animals, and people; and an increased frequency of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2074; Archer and Predick 2008, p. 24). How climate change will affect summer precipitation is less certain, because precipitation predictions are based on continental-scale general circulation models that do not yet account for land use and land cover effects or regional phenomena, such as those that control monsoonal rainfall in the Southwest (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2075; Archer and Predick 2008, pp. 23-24). Some models predict dramatic changes in Southwestern vegetation communities as a result of climate change (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2074; Archer and Predick 2008, p. 24), especially as wildfires carried by nonnative plants (e.g., buffelgrass) potentially become more frequent, promoting the presence of exotic species over native ones (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2075).

The impact of future drought, which may be long-term and severe (Seageret al.2007, pp. 1183-1184; Archer and Predick 2008, entire), may affect jaguar habitat in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area, but the information currently available on the effects of global climate change and increasing temperatures does not make sufficiently precise estimates of the location and magnitude of the effects. We do not know whether the changes that have already occurred have affected jaguar populations or distribution, nor can we predict how the species will adapt to or be affected by the type and degree of climate changes forecast. We are not currently aware of any climate change information specific to the habitat of the jaguar that would indicate what areas may become important to the species in the future. Therefore, we are unable to determine what additional areas, if any, may be appropriate to include in the final critical habitat designation for this species specifically to address the effects of climate change.

Physical or Biological Features

In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of listing to designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species and which may require special management considerations or protection. These include, but are not limited to:

(1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal behavior;

(2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements;

(3) Cover or shelter;

(4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) of offspring; and

(5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historical, geographic, and ecological distributions of a species.

We derive the specific physical or biological features essential for jaguars from studies of this species' habitat, ecology, and life history as described below. Additional information can be found in the final clarifying rule published in theFederal Registeron July 22, 1997 (62 FR 39147), the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, entire), and the Digital Mapping in Support of Recovery Planning for the Northern Jaguar report (Sanderson and Fisher 2011, pp. 1-11). We have determined that the following physical or biological feature is essential for the jaguar: Expansive open spaces in the southwestern United States with adequate connectivity to Mexico that contain a sufficient native prey base and available surface water, have suitable vegetative cover and rugged topography to provide sites for resting, and have minimal human impact, as further described below.

Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior

Expansive open spaces—Jaguars require a significant amount of space for individual and population growth and for normal behavior. Jaguars have relatively large home ranges and, according to Brown and López González (2001, p. 60), their home ranges are highly variable and depend on topography, available prey, and population dynamics. Home ranges need to provide reliable surface water, available prey, and sites for resting that are removed from the impacts of human activity and influence (Jaguar RecoveryTeam 2012, pp. 15-16). The availability of these habitat characteristics can fluctuate within a year (dry versus wet seasons) and between years (drought years versus wet years).

Specific home ranges for jaguars depend on the sex, season, and vegetation type. The home ranges of borderland jaguars are presumably as large or larger than the home ranges of tropical jaguars (Brown and López González 2001, p. 60; McCain and Childs 2008, pp. 6-7), as jaguars in this area are at the northern limit of their range and the arid environment contains resources and environmental conditions that are more variable than those in the tropics (Hass 2002, as cited in McCain and Childs 2008, p. 6). Therefore, jaguars require more space in arid areas to obtain essential resources such as food, water, and cover (discussed below).

Only one limited home range study using standard radio-telemetry techniques and two home range studies using camera traps have been conducted for jaguars in northwestern Mexico. Telemetry data from one adult female tracked for 4 months during the dry season in Sonora indicated a home range size of 100 square km (37 square mi) (López González 2011, pers. comm.). Additionally, using camera traps, a male in Sonora was documented using an average home range of 84 square km (32 square mi) (López González 2011, pers. comm.). No home range studies using standard radio-telemetry techniques have been conducted for jaguars in the southwestern United States, although McCain and Childs (2008, p. 5), using camera traps, reported one jaguar in southeastern Arizona as having a minimum observed “range” of 1,359 square km (525 square mi) encompassing two distinct mountain ranges. This study, however, was not designed to determine home range size; therefore, we are relying on minimum home-range estimates for male and female jaguars from Sonora, Mexico (López González 2011, pers. comm.) for the minimum amount of adequate habitat required by jaguars in the United States.

Therefore, based on the information above, we identify expansive open spaces in the United States of at least 84 to 100 square km (32 to 37 square mi) in size with connectivity to Mexico, adequate native prey and available surface water, suitable vegetative cover and rugged topography to provide sites for resting, and minimal human impact as the essential components of the physical or biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.

Connectivity between expansive open spaces in the United States and Mexico—As discussed in theJaguar Recovery Planning in Relation to Critical Habitatsection, above, connectivity between the United States and Mexico is essential for the conservation of jaguars. Therefore, we identify connectivity between expansive open spaces in the United States and Mexico as an essential component of the physical or biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.

Connectivity between expansive open spaces within the United States—We know that connectivity between areas of habitat for the jaguar in the United States is necessary if viable habitat for the jaguar is to be maintained. This is particularly true in the mountainous areas of Arizona and New Mexico, where isolated mountain ranges providing the physical and biological features of jaguar habitat are separated by valley bottoms that may not possess the features described in this proposed rule. However, we also know that, based on home range sizes and research and monitoring, jaguars will use valley bottoms and other areas of habitat connectivity to move among areas of higher quality habitat found in isolated mountain ranges. We acknowledge that jaguars use connective areas to move between mountain ranges in the United States; however, as they are mainly using them for passage, jaguars do not linger in these areas. As a result, there is only one occurrence record of a jaguar in these areas. With only one record, we are unable to describe the features of these areas because of a lack of information. Therefore, while we acknowledge that habitat connectivity within the United States is important, the best available scientific and commercial information does not allow us to determine that any particular area within the valleys is essential, and all of the valley habitat is not essential to the conservation of the species. Therefore we are not designating any areas within the valleys between the montane habitat as critical habitat.

Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or Physiological Requirements

Food—Jaguar and large-cat experts believe that high-quality habitat for jaguars in the northwestern portion of their range should include a high abundance of native prey, particularly large prey like white-tailed deer and collared peccary (javelina), as well as an adequate number of medium-sized prey (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 15-16). However, the Jaguar Recovery Team (2012, pp. 15-16) did not quantify “high abundance” or “adequate number” of each type of prey, making it difficult to state the density of prey required to sustain a resident jaguar in this portion of its range.

Jaguars usually catch and kill their prey by stalking or ambush and biting through the nape as do most Felidae (members of the cat family) (Seymour 1989, p. 5). Like other large cats, jaguars rely on a combination of cover, surprise, acceleration, and body weight to capture their prey (Schaller 1972 and Hopcraftet al.2005, as cited by Cavalcanti 2008, p. 47). Jaguars are considered opportunistic feeders, and their diet varies according to prey density and ease of prey capture (sources as cited in Seymour 1989, p. 4). Jaguars equally use medium- and large-size prey, with a trend toward use of larger prey as distance increases from the equator (López González and Miller 2002, p. 218).

In northeastern Sonora, where the northernmost breeding population of jaguars occurs, Rosas-Rosas (2006, pp. 24-25) found that large prey greater than 10 kilograms (kg) (22 pounds (lbs)) accounted for more than 80 percent of the total biomass consumed. Specifically, cattle accounted for more than half of the total biomass consumed (57 percent), followed by white-tailed deer (23 percent), and collared peccary (5.12 percent). Medium-sized prey (1-10 kg; 2-22 lbs), including lagomorphs (rabbit family) and coatis (Nasua nasua), accounted for less than 20 percent of biomass. Small prey, less than 1 kg (2 lbs), were not found in scats (Rosas-Rosas 2006, p. 24). At the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve in Jalisco, Mexico (which is closed to livestock grazing), deer and javelina were the two most preferred prey species for jaguars, with jaguars consuming the equivalent of 85 deer per individual per year (Brown and López González 2001, p. 51). No estimates of the number of javelina consumed were provided, although in combination with deer, armadillo, and coati, these four prey items provided 98 percent of the biomass taken by jaguars (Brown and López González 2001, p. 50). Most jaguar experts believe that collared peccary and deer are mainstays in the diet of jaguars in the United States and Mexico borderlands (62 FR 39147), although other available prey, including coatis, skunk (Mephitisspp.,Spilogale gracilis), raccoon (Procyon lotor), jackrabbit (Lepusspp.), domestic livestock, and horses are taken as well (Brown and López González 2001, p. 51;Hattenet al.2005, p. 1024; Rosas-Rosas 2006, p. 24).

Therefore, based on the information above, we identify areas containing adequate numbers of native prey, including deer, javelina, and medium-sized prey items (such as coatis, skunks, raccoons, or jackrabbits) as an essential component of the physical and biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.

Water—Several studies have demonstrated that jaguars require surface water within a reasonable distance year-round. This requirement likely stems from increased prey abundance at or near water sources (Cavalcanti 2008, p. 68; Rosas-Rosaset al.2010, pp. 107-108), particularly in arid environments, although it is conceivable that jaguars require a nearby water source for drinking, as well. Seymour (1989, p. 4) found that jaguars are most commonly found in areas with a water supply, although the distance to this water supply is not defined. In northeastern Sonora, Mexico, Rosas-Rosaset al.(2010, p. 107) found that sites of jaguar cattle kills were positively associated with proximity to permanent water sources. They also found that these sites were positively associated with proximity to roads, but concluded that the effect of roads likely represented a response to major drainages, as roads generally followed major drainages within their study area.

In the United States, only one modeling study analyzing distance to water as a feature of jaguar habitat has been conducted. Hattenet al.(2005, p. 1026) used jaguar records from Arizona dating from 1900 to 2002, selecting the most reliable records (those with physical evidence or from a reliable witness) and most spatially accurate records (those with spatial errors of less than 8 km (5 mi)) to create a habitat suitability model. Of the 57 records they considered, 25 records were deemed reliable and accurate enough to include in the model. Using a digital Geographic Information System (GIS) layer that included perennial and intermittent water sources (streams, rivers, lakes, and springs), Hattenet al.(2005, p. 1029) found that when perennial and intermittent water sources were combined, 100 percent of the 25 jaguar records used for their model were within 10 km (6.2 mi) of a water source. This distance from water (10 km; 6.2 mi) was then incorporated into jaguar habitat modeling exercises in New Mexico (Menke and Hayes 2003, pp. 15-16), and in northern Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area (Sanderson and Fisher 2011, pp. 10-11), and was further acknowledged by jaguar and large cat researchers (primarily with expertise in the northwestern-most portion of the jaguar range) as the maximum distance an area could be from a year-round water source to constitute high-quality jaguar habitat (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 15-16).

Using data compiled by Sanderson and Fisher (2011, database) and McCain and Childs (2008, entire, and unpublished data), we collected undisputed Class I reports of jaguar locations in the United States since the time the species was listed (seeCriteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat,below). Our compilation of data resulted in 130 reports of jaguar locations to use in our analysis, of which we found that approximately 98 percent occurred within 10 km (6.2 mi) of a water source. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify sources of surface water within at least 20 km (12.4 mi) of each other such that a jaguar would be within 10 km (6.2 mi) of a water source at any given time (i.e., if it were halfway between these water sources) as an essential component of the physical or biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.

Cover or Shelter

Vegetative cover—Jaguars require vegetative cover allowing them to stalk and ambush prey, as well as providing areas in which to den and rest (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 15-16). Jaguars are known from a variety of vegetation communities (Seymour 1989, p. 2), sometimes called biotic communities or vegetation biomes (Brown 1994, p. 9). Jaguars have been documented in arid areas in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States, including thornscrub, desertscrub, lowland desert, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland communities (Brown and López González 2001, pp. 43-50; Boydston and López González 2005, p. 54; McCain and Childs 2008, p. 7; Rosas-Rosaset al.2010, p. 103). As most of the information pertaining to jaguar habitat in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands relies on descriptions of biotic communities from Brown and Lowe (1980, map) and Brown (1994, entire, including appendices), for purposes of this document we are using these same sources and descriptions, as well.

According to Brown and López González (2001, p. 46), the most important biotic community for jaguars in the southwestern borderlands (Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua) is Sinaloan thornscrub (as described in Brown 1994, pp. 100-105), with 80 percent of the jaguars killed in the state of Sonora documented in this vegetation biome (Brown and López González 2001, p. 48). This biotic community, however, is absent in the United States (Brown and Lowe 1980, map; Brown and López González 2001, p. 49). Madrean evergreen woodland is also important for borderlands jaguars; nearly 30 percent of jaguars killed in the borderlands region were documented in this biotic community (Brown and López González 2001, p. 45). Brown and López González (2000, p. 538) indicate jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico predominantly use montane environments, probably because of more amiable temperatures and prey availability. A smaller, but still notable, number of jaguars were killed in chaparral and shrub-invaded semidesert grasslands (Brown and López González 2001, p. 48). In Arizona, approximately 15 percent of the jaguars taken within the State between the years 1900 and 2000 were in semidesert grasslands (Brown and López González 2001, p. 49).

The more recent sightings (2001-2007), as described in McCain and Childs (2008, entire), document jaguars in these same biotic communities (note that the Madrean evergreen woodland and semidesert grassland biotic communities encompass the Sonoran lowland desert, Sonoran desert scrub, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland habitats), and the most recent sighting of a jaguar in Arizona (2011) was in Madrean evergreen woodland, as well (Arizona Game and Fish Department, unpublished data).

Several modeling studies incorporating vegetation characteristics have attempted to refine the general understanding of habitats that have been or might be used by jaguars in the United States. To characterize vegetation biomes, Hattenet al.(2005, entire) used a digital vegetation layer based on Brown and Lowe (1980, map) and Brown (1994, entire). They found that 100 percent of the 25 jaguar records used for their model were observed in four vegetation biomes, including: (1) Scrub grasslands of southeastern Arizona (56 percent); (2) Madrean evergreen forest (20 percent); (3) Rocky Mountain montane conifer forest (12 percent); and (4) Great Basin conifer woodland (12 percent).

In addition, two studies (Menke and Hayes 2003, entire; Robinsonet al.2006, entire) attempted to evaluate potential jaguar habitat in New Mexicousing methods similar to those described in Hattenet al.(2005, pp. 1025-1028). However, due to the small number of reliable and spatially accurate records within New Mexico, neither model was able to determine patterns of habitat use (and associated vegetation communities) for jaguars in New Mexico, instead relying on literature and expert opinion for elements to include in the models. These vegetation communities included Madrean evergreen woodland, which Menke and Hayes (2003, p. 13) considered the most similar to habitats used by the closest breeding populations of jaguars in Mexico, as well as grasslands (semidesert, Plains and Great Basin, and subalpine), interior chaparral, conifer forests and woodlands (Great Basin, Petran montane, and Petran subalpine), and desertscrub (Chihuahuan, Arizona upland Sonoran, and Great Basin).

Finally, Sanderson and Fisher (2011, pp. 1-11) created a jaguar habitat model for northwestern Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area using the methodology described in Hattenet al.(2005, pp. 1025-1028), but with some modifications. From 54 references published between the years 1737 and 2010, they compiled 333 potential jaguar locations from across the United States and northern Mexico (Sanderson and Fisher 2011, p. 4). These records were not selected to include only those that were reliable and spatially accurate (as described above in Hattenet al.2005, pp. 1025-1026). Instead, they included cultural evidence (such as a jaguar painting in a cave or a place name including the word jaguar), sightings of live animals or their sign, mortalities (such as hunting events or jaguars killed after a predation event), and observations of possible jaguars (such as a cat, spotted cat, or large quadruped (four-footed animal)) (details as described in the database associated with Sanderson and Fisher 2011). Another modification Sanderson and Fisher (2011, pp. 7-8) made was to substitute a digital layer describing tree cover for the digital vegetation layer based on Brown and Lowe (1980, map) and Brown (1994, entire). In doing so, Sanderson and Fisher (2011, p. 9) determined the percent tree cover at each of the 333 locations used in their model, reporting that approximately 70 percent of the locations were in areas with 3 to 60 percent tree cover. They then used this range of tree cover as a variable delineating jaguar habitat (Sanderson and Fisher 2011, p. 11).

Using the same digital vegetation layer as Hattenet al.(2005, p. 1028) and the tree cover layer used by Sanderson and Fisher (2011, pp. 7-8), we analyzed 130 jaguar locations in the United States and found that approximately 98 percent of them occurred in Madrean evergreen woodlands and semidesert grasslands, with 88 percent occurring in areas containing 3 to 40 percent tree cover. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify Madrean evergreen woodlands and semidesert grasslands containing 3 to 40 percent tree cover as an essential component of the physical or biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.

Rugged topography—Rugged topography (including canyons, ridges, and some rocky hills to provide sites for resting) is acknowledged as an important component of jaguar habitat in the northwestern-most portion of its range (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 15-16). The habitat model for the Northern Jaguar Recovery Unit created by Sanderson and Fisher (2011, p. 9) determined that jaguars in this area were most frequently found in intermediately, moderately, and highly rugged terrain. Additionally, one study in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area (Boydston and López González 2005, entire) and one in northeastern Mexico (Ortega-Huerta and Medley 1999, entire) incorporate slope as a factor in describing jaguar habitat. Although slope can provide some understanding of topography (steep slopes generally indicate a more rugged landscape), it is less descriptive in terms of quantifying terrain heterogeneity (diversity) (Hattenet al.2005, pp. 1026-1027). Nonetheless, in these studies, jaguar distribution was found to be on steeper slopes than those slopes that were available for the study areas in general (Ortega-Huerta and Medley 1999, p. 261; Boydston and López González 2005, p. 54), indicating jaguars were found in more rugged areas in these studies.

Two modeling exercises have been conducted to determine existing jaguar habitat in the southwestern United States, one in Arizona and another in New Mexico. To examine the relationship between jaguars and landscape roughness in Arizona, Hattenet al.(2005, p. 1026) calculated a terrain ruggedness index (TRI; Rileyet al.1999, as cited in Hattenet al.2005, p. 1026) measuring the slope in all directions of each 1-square-km (0.4-square-mi) cell (pixel) in their model. They divided the TRI data into seven classes according to relative roughness: level, nearly level, slightly rugged, intermediately rugged, moderately rugged, highly rugged, and extremely rugged. With respect to topography, they found that 92 percent of the 25 jaguar records used in their model (see “Water” in the “Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or Physiological Requirements” section, above) occurred in intermediately rugged to extremely rugged terrain (the remaining 8 percent were in nearly level terrain).

Menke and Hayes (2003, entire) attempted to evaluate potential jaguar habitat in New Mexico using methods similar to those described in Hattenet al.(2005, pp. 1025-1028). While patterns of habitat use for jaguars co