Political boundaries are meaningless to wild animals, whose natural pathways have long preceded human check stations and border walls.
The goal of Wildlands Network’s Borderlands Campaign is to ensure that jaguars, ocelots, and other wildlife can move freely through the Sky Islands region of northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. This iconic landscape, characterized by towering mountains (“islands”) in a subtropical sea of rolling grasslands and other lowland habitats, comprises roughly 75,000 mi² (194,000 km² ) of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, Chihuahua, and Sonora.
The Sky Islands are globally treasured for their biodiversity, hosting more than half of all bird species found in the U.S. and a comparable wealth of mammals, reptiles, insects, and plants. Wildlands Network has identified several core areas and habitat corridors that are essential to maintaining this vast network of life.
Currently, we are enhancing protections in 3 critical core areas in northern Mexico, including the Ajos-Bavispe Reserve, the Aribabi Ranch, and the private reserve of Los Ojos. We are also working to identify and protect habitat corridors on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, which will help facilitate the construction of wildlife crossing structures along major roadways and prevent the expansion of the border wall.
Among our efforts, we are:
- pressuring the Mexican government to fulfill its mandate to safeguard Ajos-Bavispe by legally securing its long-term protection;
- partnering with scientists, communities, human rights organizations, and conservationists to oppose the border wall;
- consulting with Mexican transportation authorities on behalf of Aribabi Ranch, where we have successfully negotiated the protection of more than 16 miles of riparian habitat from ill-informed plans to build a bypass through the Cocóspera River;
- developing recommendations for U.S. federal agencies to better manage key wildlife corridors on public lands;
- collaborating with managers of Los Ojos so that we can include their input on our recommendations for wildlife crossing structures along Highway 2, whose expansion threatens to sever connectivity for black bears, Mexican wolves, and other wildlife.
We are also working closely with the Northern Jaguar Project to develop a Conservation Action Plan for the Northern Jaguar Reserve—a 55,000-acre protected area in northeastern Sonora. We share Northern Jaguar Project’s vision of protecting jaguars in Mexico as a necessary first step to the recovery of this species in the U.S.—coupled with protecting the corridors that jaguars and Mexican wolves could use to reach Arizona. These corridors face many threats, such as the neglect of the Ajos-Bavispe reserve and the expansion Highway 2. Northern Jaguar Project is a strong supporter of our wildlife crossings project on Highway 2.
Wildlands Network has partnered with numerous organizations and institutions in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands region to achieve its goals, including:
Ajos-Bavispe National Forest Reserve and Wildlife Refuge
- Arizona Center for Nature Conservation-The Phoenix Zoo
- Center for Large Landscape Conservation
- Conservation Science Partners
- Cuenca Los Ojos
- Defensa Ambiental del Noroeste
- Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative
- Northern Jaguar Project
- Rancho El Aribabi
- Sky Island Alliance
For more information about our work in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands, please contact Juan Carlos Bravo, Director of the Mexico Program, firstname.lastname@example.org, +521 6621 87 38 10.