Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Arizona's Only Jaguar Prowls a Difficult, But Hopeful, Path

On video, the United States' only jaguar is a graceful presence. He pads through the forest of Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains, sunlight dappling his spotted coat. The phrase "charismatic megafauna" never seemed so apt. After the release of this jaguar video by two conservation organizations in early February, El Jefe the jaguar became a national name (he's been well-known around Tucson for more than three years). But this glimpse of the great cat is only the tip of an enormous iceberg of history for jaguars in the United States. Once driven out of the United States by hunting and ranching, jaguars are now in the eye of a more sympathetic public. But there is debate over the protections they need from threats like copper mines and border walls, and bad blood between the groups responsible for conserving these cats.  El Jefe's presence in the Santa Rita mountains near Tucson has been known for years. For a time, scientists with a University of Arizona program were tracking the big cat using camera traps and a scat-sniffing dog. Funding for that project has since dried up, and Conservation CATalyst is the only group keeping an eye on El Jefe at the moment, Neils told Live Science...more

Here's the Video:

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