Trail cameras capture rare visitor in the Huachuca Mountains.
Here's something you don't see every day. A trail camera in Arizona has captured a rare photo of a jaguar on American soil.
News 4 Tucson reports the photo of what appears to be a large male cat was taken on the U.S. Army installation Fort Huachuca in the Huchuca Mountains. If confirmed as a new visitor to the area, it would be at least the second time a trail camera captured a jaguar on U.S. soil this year.
"Preliminary indications are that the cat is a male jaguar and, potentially, an individual not previously seen in Arizona," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director Dr. Benjamin Tuggle told News 4 Tucson. "We are working with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to determine if this sighting represents a new individual jaguar."
Back in February of this year, we told you about trail camera footage captured in the Santa Rita Mountains of a male jaguar that researchers named "El Jefe." The big cats used to range over all over the southwestern part of the U.S. but disappeared from historic U.S. ranges over the last century and a half.
When photos and video of El Jefe were first captured, it was believed it was the only known jaguar living in the U.S. For now, the public will have to wait and see if this could indeed be a new animal to the state.
"While this is exciting news, we are examining photographic evidence to determine if we're seeing a new cat here, or if this is an animal that has been seen in Arizona before," assistant director of the Arizona Wildlife Management Division Jim DeVos told the news station.
We'll keep an eye on this story here at Wide Open Spaces and bring you more when authorities determine if a new big cat has wandered into Arizona or not.