The Chiricahua mountains were also historically the home of the jaguar, north Americas largest cat. Although rarely seen since the 1940's, the jaguar is listed as an endangered species in the United States, and occassionally they are seen wandering north of the Mexican border. The ocelot and the jaguarundi are two smaller cats that have also been documented historically in the Chiricahua mountains. As with the jaguar, both of these cats are listed as endangered species, and are rarely seen. Often killed for their skins or to protect livestock and poultry, these animals are now being managed in order to try and increase their numbers and recover dwindling populations. Because cats are secretive and solitary, it is difficult to monitor their progress, but it is important to retain any remaining habitat, so that if their populations do come back, they will have somewhere to go. We are hopeful that these animals will someday be more common at the Monument, as predators play an important part in a healthy ecosystem.
Did You Know?
Chiricahua National Monument is home to many coati-mundi. Because the Chiricahua mountain range is situated at a biological cross-roads, species from Mexico's Sierra Madres make their way north. They are trapped here in our ‘sky-islands,’ though, by ‘seas’ of desert which they cannot cross.