Mexico's wildlife has been impacted by human land use changes and socioeconomic and political factors since before the Spanish conquest in 1521. Presently, it has been estimated that more than 60% of the land area has been severely degraded. Mexico ranks in the top 3 countries in biodiversity, is a plant and faunal dispersal corridor, and is a crucial element in the conservation and management of North American wildlife. Wildlife management prerogatives and regulatory powers reside in the federal government with states relegated a minimum role. The continuous shifting of federal agencies responsible for wildlife management with the concomitant lack of adequate federal funding has not permitted the establishment of a robust wildlife program. In addition, wildlife conservation has been further impacted by a failure to establish landowner incentives, power struggles over user rights, resistance to change, and lack of trust and experience in protecting and managing Mexico's wildlife. We believe future strategies for wildlife programs must take into account Mexico's highly diversified mosaic of ecosystems, cultures, socioeconomic levels, and land tenure and political systems. The private sector, along with communal properties, in cooperation with federal and municipal governments, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and international agencies may have the greatest potential of sustainable management of Mexico's wildlife. The present federal wildlife management strategy is an initial positive effort because it promotes participatory wildlife conservation by key stakeholders. We identify the aspects of this strategy that we believe will be needed to establish a sustainable program to manage Mexico's wildlife.
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