Tag Archives: santa rita mountains

Caught on Tape: One of World’s Rarest Orchids — Watch Video

29 Jul

from the Center for Biological Diversity

Photo by Ron Coleman

Photo by Ron Coleman

Coleman’s coralroot is a stunning purple orchid that exists in only a few mountain ranges in the Southwest. Fewer than 200 are known to exist in the wild, and they remain a mystery: Biologists don’t even know how the flowers are pollinated, largely because there are so few individuals — and because the elusive plants spend most of their lives underground.

It’s extremely rare to actually see these orchids in the wild. Recently, though, Center for Biological Diversity staff wandered the desert and found two specimens in full bloom; we captured them on video so that you, too, can see this beautiful hermit of the desert in all its glory.

Check out the video of the Coleman’s coralroot below; then read about the Center’s work to protect this orchid and other rare plants and animals in the Southwest’s breathtaking Sky Islands region, where many special species and wild places are threatened by an open-pit mine planned for the Santa Rita Mountains.

Jaguar Threatens Open-pit Mine Plan in Southern Arizona

27 Jun


by Tony Davis / AZ Star

A male jaguar has roamed the Santa Rita Mountains’ eastern flank for at least nine months, photos obtained from the federal government show.

The remote cameras have photographed the big cat in five locations on seven occasions since October.

Three times, the federally financed remote cameras photographed the jaguar immediately west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson.

The photos were taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by University of Arizona cameras as follow-up after a hunter gave state authorities a photo of a jaguar’s tail that he took last September in the Santa Ritas.

The sightings next to the mine site were at roughly the same location where the earlier jaguar tail photo was taken, wildlife service officials said. Other photos ranged from two to 15 miles from the mine site.   Continue reading

“Indiana Jones of Wildlife” Joins Ranchers, Mining Executives in Opposing U.S. Jaguar Habitat

18 Feb

by the Earth First! Jaguar Team

Macho B, the last-known wild jaguar known to live in the U.S. until recent sightings, is shown in a snare in southern Arizona before his death in 2009.

Macho B, the last-known wild jaguar known to live in the U.S. until recent sightings, is shown in a snare in southern Arizona before his death in 2009.

In the world of big cat conservation, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz is a rock-star. He’s traveled the world, bushwhacking through the steaming jungles of Asia and South America, studying tigers and jaguars in an effort to protect them. He’s starred in documentaries by National Geographic, the BBC and PBS with titles like Lost Land of the Tiger, In Search of the Jaguar and Tiger Island. In 1984, he helped create the first jaguar preserve in the Western Hemisphere. Time magazine has called him the “Indiana Jones of Wildlife,” a title, according to friends and colleagues, which he savors.

So why then is Rabinowitz, founder and CEO of the wildcat conservation group Panthera, also one of the most outspoken critics of protected critical habitat for jaguars in the U.S. Southwest? Continue reading

Hurdles Remain for U.S. Jaguar Habitat

24 Jan

By Leslie Macmillan / New York Times Green

[Fish and Wildlife Service] A jaguar observed last October by a camera trap in southern Arizona.

[Fish and Wildlife Service] A jaguar observed last October by a camera trap in southern Arizona.

Last fall, remote cameras in a rugged expanse of desert grasslands in Southern Arizona captured arresting images of a jaguar slinking through the underbrush, its yellow eyes fixed on some distant sight. The photos add to the dozen or so documented sightings of the endangered cat on American soil in the last century.

The monitoring project, conducted by the University of Arizona in conjunction with the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, is providing data that will inform decisions about a proposed critical habitat for the big cat: 838,000 acres in Southern Arizona and New Mexico, an area roughly the size of Rhode Island. Continue reading

Can a Tiny Purple Desert Orchid Stop a Massive Open-Pit Mine

29 Jun

Photo © Ron Coleman.

by the Center for Biological Diversity

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the agency’s failure to protect Coleman’s coralroot under the Endangered Species Act. Coleman’s coralroot is an extremely rare purple orchid found on national forest land in the footprint of the proposed Rosemont copper mine outside Tucson. If protected, it would become one of at least 10 endangered species that would be harmed by the proposed mine. The mine would result in the direct loss of at least 6,500 acres of wildlife habitat and would cause indirect harm to more than 145,000 acres of habitat.

“You can’t blast a mile-wide open pit, produce 1,200 million tons of toxic waste and withdraw 33 billion gallons of water without leaving a permanent scar on this fragile landscape and the plants and animals that depend on it,” said Tierra Curry, a biologist with the Center. “Only Endangered Species Act protection can ensure this gorgeous, incredibly rare orchid isn’t wiped off the face of the Earth.”

Continue reading