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Ariz. hearing today on jaguar habitat

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SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials will listen to comments from the public on a proposal to set aside more than 1,300 square miles in Arizona and New Mexico for the endangered jaguar.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding a meeting in Sierra Vista, Ariz., this afternoon.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants the proposed critical habitat designation withdrawn. It says land in Arizona and New Mexico isn’t essential to the rare cat’s survival because nearly all its historic range is in central and South America. The agency also says setting aside habitat would likely result in the public being denied access to lands and fewer jaguar sightings.

The rare cat was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1997 and the habitat designation was proposed in August.

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