Its been almost 30 years since the rare jaguarundi was last spotted in Texas, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has plans to change that.
They hope to reintroduce the endangered feline to its native land: the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
The ultimate goal is to establish a jaguarundi population of 500 by 2050 and get the species safely taken off the endangered list.
Jaguarundis are dark brown or brownish-red felines slightly larger than house cats.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity the jaguarundi has a long neck and tail, short legs, and a small flattened head. They’re a little goofy looking — they look more like large weasels or otters than cats, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
What made the jaguarundi endangered in the first place
Habitat loss from increasing urbanization and agriculture expansion were primarily responsible for the disappearance of the jaguarundi from Texas. The population was especially vulnerable once border security between Texas and Mexico cut it off from the neighbouring jaguarundi population in Mexico.
Scientists know very little about the jaguarundi. Its a shy species that quickly retreats into the underbrush when disturbed. The recovery plan includes improving techniques for tracking the cats and learning more about them so scientists are better equipped to protect them.
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