Return of the North American Jaguar?

Jaguar in ArizonaAlthough the jaguar was once commonly ranged from South America to the southern United States, hunting and habitat loss/fragmentation had crippled the population in North America.  In fact, no jaguars had been spotted in Mexico since the early 1900s.

However, two independent sightings this month prove that the big cat’s range does span as far north as Arizona.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department recently captured and collared a male jaguar southwest of Tucson. The collar, which can be tracked by satellite, will provide more data about the cat’s movements in the future.

Another male jaguar was captured on film by an automatic camera set up on a trail in Mexico. Scientists believe that area could be a corridor connecting jaguar populations. In this way, they have a better understanding of the areas of habitat crucial to jaguar survival.

For more information: LiveScience