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USFWS Rethinks Critical Habitat for Jaguar

WASHINGTON (CN) - More than a decade after listing domestic jaguars as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reversed its previous decision not to designate critical habitat for the big cat.

The agency expects the designation to be final a year from now, after the public has had a chance to comment on it.

USFWS did not designate critical habitat for U.S. jaguars when the species was listed in 1997, because the biggest threat to the cats was hunting, and that detailed conservation maps would make the remaining four cats easier to find.

Since that time, several organizations have continued to report sightings of the jaguar and publish maps that essentially define their habitat. Now the agency believes that designation will help enforcement of ESA protections.

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