It might be a shock to many, but Jaguars were once native to the USA. What’s more despite humans biggest efforts, the eradication was not completely successful. The third largest big cat, after Tiger and Lion, was persecuted along with many other native fauna after Europeans started to settle in the USA.
Why does it matter? Apart from the fact that with rainforest destruction Jaguars are loosing ground in other parts of their range, Jaguars would have been one of the apex predator in the areas which they lived. As such, they have an overarching impact on the whole ecosystem and their absence can cause a cascade impact, negatively affecting the whole food web.
The area which they would return to, would cover mountainous parts of central Arizona and new Mexico. The area which has been identified as suitable, covers 31,800 square miles and could support 90-150 of the big cats. This number should be genetically viable for at least 100 years, and can be supported on the available land. At least 68% of the reintroduction area is managed by the US forestry services, bureau of land management and national park services so negative impacts on livestock will be at a minimum. A further 13% of this area is tribal, which are people who still live in a way that reduces conflict to a very low level compared to the rest of the developed world.
This is an exciting project, and it further helps the developed world encourage the developing world to look after their own ecosystems if they see us restoring those we have destroyed.