Wild jaguars could be reintroduced to south-west America after a new study suggested they could be beneficial to both people and the environment.
The big cat was previously eliminated from the country in the 60s through hunting and habitat loss.
The scientists – from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Center for Landscape Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlands Network, Pace University, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Life Net Nature and the Center for Biological Diversity – have already identified a relatively undisturbed area as a potential habitat that could support between 90 to 150 adult jaguars.
Jaguars are the third largest cat, and are classed as ‘near threatened’ in the wild due to habitat loss and fragmentation, human conflict and the illegal wildlife trade. As predators, they play a vital role in keeping the balance of forest ecosystems and food chains.