Here is the first ever public glimpse that shows the only known wild jaguar of its kind currently roaming the United States.
This is the only know wild jaguar currently in the United States. Captured on remote sensor cameras, it is all part of a joint project effort between the Conservation CATalyst and the Centre for Biological Diversity.
The footage was captured in the Santa Rita mountains, which lie just 25 miles from downtown Tucson, Arizona.
Due to the rarity and secretive nature of this solitary animal, tracking the only know individual has not been an easy task. “We use our specially trained scat detection dog and spent three years tracking in rugged mountains, collecting data and refining camera sites; these videos represent the peak of our efforts,” said Chris Bugbee, a biologist with Conservation CATalyst.
Named “El Jefe,” which means “the boss” in Spanish, this male jaguar is in good health and has been captured on camera over 100 times since 2013. Previously, the last known male jaguar, named “Macho B,” was euthanized in March 2009 due to capture-related injuries. The last verified female jaguar in the country was shot by a hunter in 1963 in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim.
Jaguars are the third-largest cats in the world and once lived throughout the American Southwest – but have disappeared from their U.S. range over the past 150 years. This is mainly due to habitat loss and through predator control.
Due to the ongoing efforts by the Center for Biological Diversity, the hope is that “El Jefe” will one day be joined by more jaguars that make their way northward from Mexico.