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Endangered Florida Panther in Big Cypress Natl Preserve

Ringling Bros.’ treatment of Endangered elephants

Endangered Florida Manatee

Endangered Delmarva fox squirrel

Ocelot & Jaguarundi

Wild Horses & Burros


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Ocelot & Jaguarundi

Location: Border of Texas and Mexico, The Rio Grande

The Wildlife Advocacy Project is helping to educate the public about a project by the Immigration and Naturalization's Border Patrol along the Rio Grande in south Texas, which threatens the extinction of two extremely rare members of the cat family: the ocelot and jaguarundi. This massive project, called "Operation Rio Grande," is intended to keep illegal immigrants from entering our country. It consists of over 200 stadium lights covering 25 miles along the Rio Grande, fences, boat ramps and other intrusions in critical wildlife habitat for jaguarundis, ocelots, and otherPicture of Ocelot wildlife. On behalf of a coalition of groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Frontera Audubon Society, as well as several individuals who live and work in the area, Meyer & Glitzenstein is seeking to force the Border Patrol to engage in "formal consultation" with the Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by the Endangered Species Act, to ensure that these activities do not jeopardize the continued existence of these magnificent cats. They also want the INS to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, to force the agency to consider the location and habitats of these species, when planning these Border Patrol activities. The Wildlife Advocacy Project is working with local, regional, national, and Mexican media to educate the public about these activities, and to explain that the objectives of the INS can be achieved in ways that will not harm these rare species.


Before settlers arrived in Texas, many species of big cats ranged throughout the dense, luxuriant and thorny brush of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The endangered ocelot and jaguarundi, two nocturnal species, are now protected by federal laws. Two other large cat species, the jaguar and the margay, formerly native to Texas, are extinct in that region. Since 1979, tens of millions of tax dollars have been spent to establish a wildlife corridor to protect these species as well as 86 other rare species around the Lower Rio Grande River. That wildlife corridor, which was to have been completed by 1990, is still not completed, and the project is languishing due to the lack of funding. Therefore, any use by the INS which includes stadium lights, boat ramps, and fencing, effectively undermines the enormous investment taxpayers have made for this purpose. Furthermore, the dense, thorny foliage -- while suitable for cats and other wildlife -- is impenetrable by humans, and acts as a natural barrier along the border.

This natural barrier of dense vegetation is being leveled in violation of federal environmental laws in an ill-conceived attempt to slow down illegal immigration along the Rio Grande River. Wildlife, and especially endangered nocturnal predators, such as the ocelot and jaguarundi, are jeopardized by this construction, which includes 25 miles of stadium lighting, boat ramps and ten-foot high fences being placed along the border. Particularly concerned about the effect of huge stadium lights on endangered nocturnal predators, environmentalists have sued to force the immigration agency to comply with laws mandating an environmental impact statement and consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Wildlife Advocacy Project
1601Connecticut Ave, NW #700
Washington, D.C. 20009-1035

Phone: (202) 518-3700
Facsimile (202) 588-5049