McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A U.S. wildlife organization has asked the Mexican government to protect Mexican bobcats under its country’s list of species at risk.

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday petitioned Mexico’s environmental ministry to protect the Mexican bobcats, which also are known as lynx.

It is the smallest of the bobcat species and the southernmost subspecies. The total population numbers are unknown, but Mexican bobcat has been recorded in 27 of Mexico’s 32 states, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Since 1976, the Mexican bobcats have been classified as an endangered species in the United States by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Although international trade is regulated, the petition notes that within Mexico, the bobcats lack protections and can be targeted directly by hunters for their spotted and freckled pelts.

Officials with the organization say they fear the border wall put on the U.S. Southwest border could be affecting the Mexican bobcat.

“Mexico must include bobcats as species at risk so we can learn more about their status and ensure hunting and the U.S. border wall don’t drive these beautiful animals extinct,” said Alejandro Olivera, a senior scientist and Mexico representative at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In recent years demand for Mexican bobcat pelts and trophies has tragically increased. Mexican authorities grant dozens of bobcat hunting permits every year, all while these cats are illegally trafficked on social media platforms.”

Twenty years ago, the Center launched a campaign to protect the Mexican bobcat in the United States.

If listed as protected by Mexico, then any actions that threaten Mexican bobcats would require population monitoring and management plans.

The organization says that more monitoring would provide better information about the bobcat’s status and help ensure that hunting and the U.S. border wall don’t threaten its survival.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at