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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Jaguar Sightings

Jaguar Sightings

Jaguar on Arizona/Mexico border (credit: Tucson.com)

 

Jaguars are slowly returning to US. Another one of the large cats was seen walking recently on a mountain trail in Arizona which was not recognized as being previously known. This is good news.

The Arizona Fish & Game's maintains a Jaguar Conservation Unit that monitors sightings of any jaguar. The Agency uses camera traps located on hidden sites in the Huachuca Mountains bordering Mexico. The remote range is partially managed as a US Army base and as Forest Service lands.  Other sections cross private ranches. The desert mountains range from 4000-9500 feet in elevation and provide a mix of ecosystems and habitats. This diversity offers 'room to roam' for these solitary predators. Previously, a separate jaguar had been sighted in a near-by area and was given the nickname 'el jefe' or 'the big guy' but the newest Jaguar observed has different spot patterns.

The sky islands of the Southwestern US are the northernmost extent of the jaguar's original range but they were eliminated there in the 20th Century. The cats are nocturnal and are known to move across vast distances from South, Central, and North America seeking suitable habitat. So far, all of the jaguars seen have been lone males looking for a territory. Hopefully, these long-distance travelers will continue finding safe paths north to the Arizona and New Mexico mountains and a breeding population becomes re-established in these once northern-most outposts. WHB

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