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Jaguars Are Returning to Southern Arizona


Jaguars Are Returning to Southern Arizona

All wild cats are important to ecosystem functioning because they are apex predators and therefore impact the entire food chain. In Southern Arizona, the top predator is the mountain lion, but over the last 15 years, solitary male jaguars, typically one at any given time, have migrated from Northern Mexico into Southern Arizona and New Mexico.

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In Southern Arizona, the top predator is the mountain lion, but over the last 15 years, solitary male jaguars, typically one at any given time, have migrated from Northern Mexico into Southern Arizona and New Mexico. As an endangered species, the jaguar has ignited a series of controversial lawsuits and Federal actions that has resulted in the designation of critical habitat in several mountain ranges in this region of the U.S. This habitat designation has raised many concerns in the ranching community that operates on and in some cases owns the land within these boundaries. Although the designation fuels the perception that the ranching livelihood is under threat, It’s unlikely that the designation in itself will have any impact on the ranching operations within jaguar critical habitat. However, the protection of these large, unfragmented open spaces that is mutually critical for both the jaguar and the ranchers and may ultimately highlight the importance of these ranching operations to continued jaguar vitality in the region.

WATCH: Video shows only known US jaguar roaming Arizona mountains

The first publicly released video of the only known wild jaguar in the United States shows the giant cat roaming around a creek and other parts of a mountain range in southern Arizona.

History of Jaguars in Arizona

By the late 1960s, jaguars were thought to have been eliminated in the United States. A female was shot by a hunter in Arizona's White Mountains in 1963. Arizona outlawed jaguar hunting in 1969, but by then no females remained and over the next 25 years only two male jaguars were found (and killed) in Arizona. Then in 1996, Warner Glenn, a rancher and hunting guide from Douglas, Arizona, came across a jaguar in the Peloncillo Mountains and became a researcher on jaguars, placing webcams which recorded four more Arizona jaguars. No jaguars sighted in Arizona in the last 15 years had been seen since 2006. Then, in 2009, a male jaguar named Macho B died shortly after being radio-collared by Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) officials in 2009. In the Macho B incident, a former ADGF subcontractor pleaded guilty to violating the endangered species act for trapping the cat and a Game and Fish employee was fired for lying to federal investigators. In 2011, a male jaguar weighing 200 lb (91 kg) was photographed near Cochise in southern Arizona by a hunter after being treed by his dogs (the animal left the scene unharmed). A second 2011 sighting of an Arizona jaguar was reported by a Homeland Security border pilot in June 2011, and conservation researchers sighted two jaguars within 30 mi (48 km) of the border between Mexico and the United States in 2010.

In September 2012, a jaguar was photographed in the Santa Rita Mountains of Arizona, the second such sighting in this region in two years. This jaguar has been photographed numerous times over the past nine months through June 2013. On 3 February 2016, the Center for Biological Diversity released a video of this jaguar – now named El Jefe (Spanish for The Boss) – roaming the Santa Rita Mountains, about 25 mi (40 km) south of downtown Tucson. El Jefe is the fourth jaguar sighted in the Madrean Sky Islands in southern Arizona and New Mexico, over the last 20 years. - from Wikipedia

On 16 November 2016, a jaguar was spotted in the Dos Cabezas Mountains of Arizona, 60 mi (97 km) from the Mexican border, the farthest north one of these animals has been spotted in many decades. It is the seventh jaguar to be confirmed in the Southwest since 1996.[18] On 1 December 2016, another male jaguar was photographed on Fort Huachuca also in Arizona.[17] In February 2017, authorities revealed that a third jaguar had been photographed in November 2016, by the Bureau of Land Management in the Dos Cabezas Mountains, also in Arizona, some 100.0 km (62.1 miles) north of the border with Mexico.[18]

Let us remember the jaguar is only trying to regain the territory it used to cover long before humans arrived, and especially long before European settlers showed up. The long standing debate over the reintroduction of large predators to former territory rages on in this case as well, considering this is the largest predator cat in the western hemisphere we are talking about. It is well proven now that predators have a majorly beneficial effect on the ecology of the land by preventing herd animals from overgrazing the plant life, and helping improve genetics for prey species. There are solutions at the disposal of ranchers to prevent their own herds from falling victim to this beast’s natural predator drive. Just like with the Mexican Grey Wolf, time will only tell if humans can overcome their fear of predator species and learn to co-exist on the land as integral parts of the web of life.

Video credit:
Center for Biological Diversity

Intro Song:
Estun-Bah Mountain Spirit

Jaguars Returning to America

There are two ways these cats can still make a comeback in the region. Less than a year after a rare Jaguar was captured in Arizona, President Trump declares a National Emergency in order to fund his border Wall. Book: Hidden trail cams on Mexico border:

Video footage: snippets from Arizona Game & Fish promo videos

Photo sources (CC/Share,reuse & public domain images):

2017 U.S. Fish & Wildlife photo:

2019 El Jefe captured: (Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity)

Roosevelt Jaguar:

2013 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Jaguar sighting:

Wildlife Crossing, Trans Canada Hwy, Banff Natl. Park:

Mark Hodson Photos (Safari tourists):

Music: YouTube Audio Library:

Enter the Maze by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

One of last known wild jaguars in US killed, officials say

A photo showing a jaguar pelt matched the markings of a jaguar seen in southeast Arizona in 2016, meaning the young male jaguar had been killed and skinned.

New images of wild jaguar captured in southern Arizona

Sombra, the jaguar named by students at Paulo Freire Freedom School, was first seen wandering into the Grand Canyon State from Mexico in Nov. 2016. The giant feline was recently spotted, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wild Service to release new photos of the male jaguar.

Video footage by Russ McSpadden / Center for Biological Diversity

Rare Arizona jaguar roams mountains near Tucson

A remote sensor camera run by Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity shows a jaguar roaming the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson. The groups say this is the first publicly released video of the jaguar, named El Jefe, who is the only known wild jaguar in the United States.

Bringing Jaguars back to the U.S. Southwest

Learn more about our efforts:

Thousands of jaguars used to roam the U.S. Southwest, but over the past two centuries, jaguars have been eliminated from more than half of their range. Defenders of Wildlife wants to do everything we can to bring these elusive, endangered big cats home.

Check out our report here:

Jaguar 'Sombra' caught on video in Southern Arizona

Video of a jaguar — dubbed Sombra by Tucson schoolkids — was released by the Center for Biological Diversity. The big cat, captured on camera in the Chiricahua Mountains appears to be the same animal photographed by a trail camera in Arizona last November. More:

Also seen in the short video are a mountain lion, bear, a bear cub, deer and a coati running past the camera.

Video by Russ McSpadden, Center For Biological Diversity.

Jaguar Conservation in Arizona


Rare Video: Only Known Wild Jaguar in the U.S. Filmed | National Geographic

Newly released camera-trap footage captured in the Santa Rita Mountains just outside Tucson, Arizona, reveals a jaguar that scientists have been tracking for three years. The jaguar—known locally as El Jefe, which translates to the Boss—is the only one currently known to inhabit the U.S. The species, which is classified as near threatened by IUCN, hasn't been widely spotted in the Southwest since the late 19th century. El Jefe is believed to have come from the closest breeding population, which is located in Sonora state, Mexico, more than 125 miles (200 kilometers) to the south.
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Video courtesy Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity

Rare Video: Only Known Wild Jaguar in the U.S. Filmed | National Geographic

National Geographic

Jaguar Named Sombra in Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona

Footage of Jaguar Named Sombra in Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona. Includes audio. Additional footage includes bear, mountain lion, deer, coati running at camera, bear cub video on the same camera and in the same location as the jaguar. Video by Russ McSpadden, Center For Biological Diversity.

Raw: Video Shows Only Known Wild Jaguar in US

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Video captured by researchers in Arizona shows what is believed to be the last remaining wild jaguar in the United States. Only five jaguars have been spotted in the US in the last 20 years. (Feb. 3)

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Animals roam around Chiricahua Mountains in Southern Arizona

Video by Russ McSpadden / Center for Biological Diversity

Northern Jaguar Reserve

Jaguars are the largest cats in the Americas, roaming as far north as southern Arizona. They are also an endangered species. Filmmakers Ryan and Rita Leal Olinger went to the western Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico to document work that is being done to help save them and their habitat. These scenes are from their documentary - 'Where Jaguars Roam.'

Producer/Directors: Ryan Olinger, Rita Leal Olinger

Rare wild jaguar spotted living in U.S.

Researchers in Arizona have released video showing jaguar living near Tucson. It is thought to be the only living jaguar in the United States.

Blooming Desert Hiking near Tucson, Arizona USA. 2019

These clips were made during several hikes in 2019 at Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona. I used a six foot camera pole to get the drone like shots.

Happy International Jaguar Day

Celebrate International Jaguar Day by learning more about these majestic cats.

Video Transcript:
Jaguars once roamed widely in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, but U.S. jaguars were killed off by private and government hunters who saw them as a threat to livestock.

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has explored the possibility of restoring jaguars to the Southwest...

but their recovery plan only considers a small area along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona and New Mexico.

But historically, these cats lived as far north as the Grand Canyon. With more than 60 documented in the area as recently as the 20th century.

These majestic cats should be given the opportunity to return to their historic lands.

We’re collaborating with top jaguar scientists examining millions of habitat acres in the northern reaches of their historic range and making the case for a return to these still wild places.

We’re working to restore the species, so that every day can be Jaguar Day in the American Southwest.

Happy International Jaguar Day!

Exclusive video of El Jefe: America's only known wild jaguar conservation CATalyst

Courtesy Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity

Wild Arizona ocelot caught on camera

Conservation CATalyst released this video of an extremely rare and endangered wild ocelot living near the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. READ:

Video courtesy of Conservation CATalyst



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