Arizona Jaguar Ocelot
Bureau of Land Management

Jaguar and Ocelot Recently Recorded on Trail Camera in Arizona

A jaguar and an ocelot were recently caught on trail camera.

Two of North America's rarest creatures were recently caught on trail camera in Arizona, giving hope to biologists who would like to see these two wild cats return to their native range. According to the Arizona Game & Fish Department, a jaguar and an ocelot were recently photographed only about eight days part in the southern part of the state.

The AGFD announced on social media that the jaguar is a male and was last photographed on January 6, wandering around the Cabezas/Chiricahua Mountains. This big cat has been a regular in the area. Biologists first documented him wandering the area back in November 2016. They have over 150 photos and six videos of this animal.

The ocelot was photographed more recently, on January 14, and is also a long-time regular in the Huachuca Mountains. Ocelots are smaller and even more shy than jaguars. This cat is also familiar with biologists. It was first noted to be in the area back in May of 2012. Biologists have collected 162 photos and one video of this creature so far.

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Reports from Tucson - one male Jaguar and one male ocelot seen around S AZ!

Posted by Arizona Game & Fish Department on Friday, January 29, 2021

Both cat species once had a wider range inside the United States. However, over-hunting and habitat loss pushed out most of them. The last breeding pair of jaguars to be documented inside the United States was recorded in Arizona all the way back in the 1960s. Since then, only a handful of jaguar sightings have been confirmed within the state's borders.

A small, breeding population of ocelots still exists in Texas. Although the number of animals is believed to only be around 50 animals. When sighted in Arizona, both animals are believed to be wanderers who have travelled to the U.S. from south of the border in Mexico. Both big cat species still have a foothold there and in Central America.

Whether both of these animals mount a larger comeback in Arizona and beyond remains to be seen.

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