What a magnificent animal!
On Wednesday February 3, 2016, Conservation CATalyst and The Center for Biological Diversity released the following video of the only known wild jaguar in the United States, an adult male nicknamed “El Jefe” (meaning “the boss” in Spanish). Wildlife biologist, Chris Bugbee, tracked the jaguar through the rugged Santa Rita Mountains just outside of Tucson, Arizona using scat tracking dogs and remote sensor cameras, capturing these video clips and over 100 photos of the solitary male since 2013.
El Jefe is the last of his kind that once roamed the US from Southern California to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, eastward to Louisiana, and possibly even as far east as Florida and as far north as Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Jaguars are the third largest wild cat, after tigers and lions, with adults ranging in size from 80 to 350 pounds and 4 to 6 feet in length. They were wiped out in the United States over the past 150 years due to loss of habitat and government predator control programs created to protect livestock. The last reported female jaguar in the United States was shot by a hunter in Arizona in 1963.
Wild jaguars also live in Mexico, Central America and South America, where they are considered a near-endangered species. It is hoped that additional wild jaguars will migrate to Arizona as they expand their range out of Sonora, Mexico, located 125 miles south of Tucson, Arizona.
Biologist Chris Bugbee is also studying endangered ocelots in Southern Arizona and New Mexico using the same tracking methods. Ocelots are small wild cats, weighing 18 to 40 pounds. Although similarly rare in the United States, having been hunted to near extinction for their fur, ocelots are are more abundant in Mexico, Central America and South America and are therefore considered a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
Ocelot photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
The Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Conservation CATalyst is a Tucson-based nonprofit organization specializing in conducting scientific research on cats that are in conflict with people.