This Arizona jaguar is about to be famous.
Late last month, a game camera located in the Dos Cabezas Mountains of Arizona captured something that hasn’t been seen in decades. A super rare Arizona jaguar, not one of those others recently seen, had its picture taken, and understandably, this is a big deal.
Since 2011, this specific Arizona jaguar is the third one seen in the state. It is also the farthest north one has been seen since perhaps the 1960’s. Dating back to 1996, this racks the count up to seven of the big cats seen in the Southwest US.
“This is a unique development,” said Jim deVos, assistant director for wildlife management at the Fish and Wildlife Service in an interview. “Jaguars are a historical component of Arizona’s wildlife diversity. However, given the irregularity with which jaguar presence in Arizona is documented, even with the expanded use of trail cameras, this sighting is not an indication that jaguars are establishing a population in Arizona.”
At this time, there doesn’t appear to be a breeding population of jaguars in Arizona. By most accounts, many wildlife experts predict this recent jaguar is actually a male. So far, all of the other jaguars spotted in the state have also been male. A breeding population of jaguars does exist just on the other side of the border in Mexico. Seeing them this far into Arizona is rather surprising though.
Jaguars used to live in Texas, parts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Maybe one day, they will be able to regain their old territories. However, a border wall might stop them dead in their tracks.