A Third Jaguar was just Confirmed in Arizona

A new jaguar was just confirmed in Arizona, although this image does not feature it. Jaguar by Scottmliddell. CC BY 3.0
A new jaguar was just confirmed in Arizona, although this image does not feature it. Jaguar Edin Zoo by Scottmliddell. CC BY 3.0

I have exciting news to share with you on this World Wildlife Day! Today has been set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the many ways in which wild animals enrich our lives. They provide valuable ecosystem services, play vital roles in our cultures, and are worth protecting in their own right. As such, it seems appropriate that news just broke of a third jaguar photographed in Arizona.

Until November of 2016, El Jefe was thought to be the only wild jaguar in the United States. However, during that month another male jaguar was photographed near Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Now, a third individual has been confirmed in that state. This jaguar was photographed approximately 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border – and no one knows what sex it is.

This is exciting news. Twenty years ago, jaguars were believed to be extirpated in the U.S. But after a pair of sightings in 1996, male jaguars have repeatedly been seen in Arizona. They are believed to have originated in the Mexican state of Sonora, which holds the northernmost known breeding population of jaguars. But no one knows for sure. It is also difficult to determine if the recent increase in sightings is because there are more jaguars in the U.S., or because there are more trail cameras in southern Arizona. Regardless, a new jaguar confirmation is an excellent way to celebrate World Wildlife Day.

Click here to read the original article by Tony Davis

Further Reading:

Center for Biological Diversity. (2017, March 2). Third jaguar detected in Arizona. Retrieved from http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/jaguar-03-02-2017.php.

Davis, T. (2017, March 2). New jaguar photographed in Southern Arizona; third seen here since ’11. Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved from http://tucson.com/news/local/new-jaguar-photographed-in-southern-arizona-third-seen-here-since/article_53e1460c-ff6d-11e6-9c8a-b3ad3d2f7be1.html.

United Nations. (2017). World Wildlife Day 3 March. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/events/wildlifeday/.

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16 thoughts on “A Third Jaguar was just Confirmed in Arizona

    1. I hope he does well too. There is a risk in drawing attention to these jaguars, but it needs to happen. People need to know these animals are there, so that they’ll be motivated to address even bigger threats to their eventual recovery (Trump’s wall, for example).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was driving to TX a couple of weeks ago, I noticed there were already walls in many areas around the border near El Paso. Personally, I think his idea to legalize those that are already here, working and doing good is a good alternative to the wall, but, I have a question. How is a fence which exists now, any different? Excuse my ignorance on this because it is a sincere question. My kitty (she’s 14) has no trouble jumping a 7 foot fence, couldn’t a big cat jump one even bigger? I’m not familiar with their capabilities and don’t totally understand how this affects them. I really enjoy your post

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good questions, Jolie. Based on my understanding, much of the border is already walled. But there are also stretches in which this wall consists of little more than a barrier for vehicles, which still allows animals to cross it. There are also some areas that are completely unfenced, mostly because the terrain is too rugged.

          The fear is that sealing off the entire border with a bigger, harder to climb wall will restrict animal movements even more than the current security measures. Closing off the existing crossing points will doubtlessly make it harder for animals to move across the border. And yes, we know that at least pumas can climb over some of the existing border walls. But pumas have better leaping and climbing abilities than jaguars, so we don’t know if jaguars can cross the same areas as pumas. A bigger, more extensive wall will make that possibility even less likely.

          It’s also important to realize that big cats are not isolated: they are part of interconnected ecosystems. Should the wall adversely affect their prey, then the cats will suffer as well. The effects of the wall on jaguar and puma prey would extend beyond just severing travel routes; the construction process will also disrupt Southwest ecosystems.

          Of course if all of these factors are taken into consideration, it might be possible to reduce the ecological impacts of the wall. However, I think it’s best to look for alternatives before committing to such a potentially harmful security measure. The idea of legalizing immigrants who are already here and doing good is an excellent idea, in my opinion. It might also help to make the legal immigration process cheaper and more streamlined, so that people don’t feel so pressured to cross illegally. But I’m no expert on immigration policy, so I encourage you to form your own opinions!

          Lastly, here’s a statement from the conservation group Panthera about some of the potential ecological effects of the border wall. They try hard to stay politically neutral (although that’s never entirely possible), so I trust their opinions moreso than some of the more biased groups:

          https://www.panthera.org/panthera-statement-proposed-us-mexico-border-wall-and-impact-wild-cats-and-other-wildlife

          Liked by 2 people

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