Search For Puma Finds Jaguar

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 21st, 2009

Considered extinct in the U.S. by the 1970s, two independent sightings of jaguars (Panthera onca) ten years ago confirmed that they might still exist in the American Southwest. Recently, images of jaguars were taken in Arizona and New Mexico, and now one has been captured in Arizona.

Photo: The jaguar that was released after having a tracking collar fitted to its neck. Credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department

A jaguar was captured southwest of Tucson this week during an Arizona Game and Fish Department research study. The study was actually aimed at monitoring black bear and mountain lion habitats.

The male cat has been fitted with a satellite tracking collar and released. The collar will provide biologists with location updates every few hours and it is hopeful that this data will provide information on a little-studied population segment of this species. This is the first time in the U.S. that a jaguar has been able to be followed in this manner.

“While we didn’t set out to collar a jaguar as part of the research project, we took advantage of the important opportunity,” Terry Johnson, Arizona Game and Fish dept. endangered species coordinator, said in a press release issued by the department.

Rest of news item.

Apparently, some reassessments of the US policy on protecting the big cats will have to come into play.

On 7 January 2008 United States Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall approved an unprecedented decision by the George W. Bush Administration to abandon jaguar recovery as a federal goal under the Endangered Species Act. The decision is the first of its kind in the 34-year history of the Endangered Species Act. Some critics of the decision said that the jaguar is being sacrificed for the government’s new border fence, which is to be built along many of the cat’s typical crossings between the United States and Mexico. Source.

Thanks for the new discovery tip from Jason Pritchett.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

23 Responses to “Search For Puma Finds Jaguar”

  1. kittenz responds:

    This is wonderful news. I’ve always thought that jaguars are among the most beautiful of cats and it’s great that they are beginning to repopulate their former range.

  2. kittenz responds:

    Now I just hope that jaguar recovery will be taken seriously again, under the new administration.

  3. gkingdano responds:

    You know that some rich “rancher”‘ who is leasing American Tax payer land to overgraze some cattle or sheep to kill for profit, will demand that this terrible calf killer be hunted down and shot to protect his profits. Just as they were trying under Baby Bush. If govt. used some of the technology they use to secure all the secret govt sites on the border, they would not have to build this fence and they could protect the borders from illegal aliens. But that would cut into some other rich person’s profit on labor cost. Remember that these beautiful{and yes dangerous} cats were Americans LONG before us.

  4. shumway10973 responds:

    I believe the jaguars will be just fine as long as we can be sure there are a few more (preferably of differing sexes). If the new border fence gets completed (that we will have to see what the President does) then it just means that we now have a group of jaguars native to North America–permanently. They will adapt. They always have. The only thing to watch for now are people living in the area(s) who get scared or greedy when they find out that such animals do in fact live next door. It is unfortunate that most of our biology teachings tell our children that North America has only certain animals, most of which are cute and need protecting from evil man. They usually do not add in there that near the border of Mexico we share some more exotic animals. Because of this more and more people get scared of anything not in the text books. Nor do they teach that at one time certain parts of North America looked much like the plains of Africa. That is actually how I have convinced people that big foot could actually exist. National Geographics did a story on fossil remains of animals thought to be extinct since around 0 AD when a volcano erupted somewhere near our story today. Such things as elephants, lions (closer to the african varieties), rhinos, giant sloths and many more–so why couldn’t some sort of ape survive and just wants to be left alone?

  5. cmgrace responds:

    Awesome! Here’s to hoping something gets done to protect them!

  6. tropicalwolf responds:

    Absolutely phenomenal!

    However, in this age of the iPhone, etc, one would think they could make a smaller, more discreet, more animal sensitive tracking collar than that “breadbox” around the neck of the cat in the photo….

  7. BunniesLair responds:

    I am so pleased to read this! Hopefully conservation will happen allowing the species to rebound in the area. We need education to take place in the areas where it ranges so that the human population will not decimate it again. If the people of the area are educated about them; and they take a personal interest, the cat will have a better chance.

  8. Quakerhead responds:

    In the 1840’s, a jaguar was killed near Donaldsonville, Louisiana, a small town down river from Baton Rouge. There have been reports of jaguars traveling long distances in search of food or a mate but this was the only known instance of an apparent “Southwest” jaguar traveling all the way to Louisiana.

  9. DWA responds:

    It’s an escaped pet.

    And if they find any others, so are they.

    Shoot, one thinks that if they found a sasquatch, they’d call it an escaped pet gorilla.

  10. hudgeliberal responds:

    Lets hope with Bush and his greedy and uncaring administration gone that we can get back to saving what little remains of our precious wildlife, especially the North American big cats.

  11. Averagefoot responds:

    This is not news to Arizona outdoorsmen. My father has seen them more than once on hunting trips over the last 20 years. The jaguar was actually the mascot of my elementary school. It is good that we have solid proof now and not just the word of local hunters. It would be wonderful if a sustainable population is discovered or re-introduced.

    It’s not an “escaped pet”.

  12. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Tropicalwolf: I’m guessing the real issue that keeps the radio collars so big is the battery. Electronic circuitry has come a long way since, say, 1970, but we still use the same batteries. (This is also a problem for electric cars.)

  13. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Hey hudgeliberal; Do you think that the jaguar just moved back in the area because he read the newspaper that Bush is gone? Wow, the bashing never ends with the fully indoctrinated.

  14. cryptidsrus responds:

    I, too, doubt it is an “escaped pet.”

    I’ll skip the political judgments on this one. I’m just glad that apparently the Jaguar is back in the SouthWest.

    Let’s hope the electronic device tag reaps huge benefits.

  15. cryptidsrus responds:

    BTW—that is a georgeous photograph of a Jaguar, folks!!!

  16. DWA responds:


    Given the “unprecedented decision” referred to right in this blog, and many others like it in the just-departed administration, I’m not so sure hudgeliberal’s venom is entirely misplaced.

    And others: I would HOPE that my post made it so very clear that no one could have possibly thought I was being serious with the escaped-pet line. But maybe not.

  17. cryptidsrus responds:

    If that comment was addressed to me and others, DWA, I get you. I never thought you were saying that. My comment was more addressed to the general thopught processes of those who might think that way. You know, some people WOULD come in here and say that kind of thing. I did read your post carefully. 🙂

  18. Alligator responds:

    Hopefully the people of New Mexico and Arizona will allow a viable population to re-establish itself. Historically they ranged from southern California to the southwest corner of Louisiana and as far north as the Grand Canyon. That means much of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas was once jaguar range.

    Artwork of the Woodland and Mississippian Indian cultures from the upper Midwest depict jaguars so evidently they were common enough that these people were aware of them either by trading with their southern neighbors for the pelts, claws and teeth or by traveling into jaguar range itself.

  19. delta responds:

    Wow, how fantastic. I wish this could happen in Australia. We have many hundreds of sightings of large puma and jaguar type cats, mainly blackish in colour. If only we could get a photo as clear as this one.

  20. Alligator responds:

    You know this actually doesn’t bode well for many of the cryptid cats, especially the “black panthers” that seem to be sighted worldwide. Here is the jaguar, there are maybe only a handful living in the country and we are able get a nice photograph on a trail cam and a capture. Let’s just say that 1/4 of the black panther reports were really reliable – why no decent and conclusive photos, tracks, bodies or carcasses of their prey? I’ve heard black panther stories from my friends and relatives all over Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri for well over 40 years. I’m not being closed minded, I’m just saying the sighting numbers and the hard evidence don’t seem to want to match up.

  21. Ke-Ke responds:

    Black Jaguars may explain some cryptid cat sightings in the united states but not all of them, especially since some people swear the big cat they saw was jet black with pointed ears like a house cat, Black Panthers wether Jaguars or Leopards usually have spots on a dark background, and usually have small round ears. In my opinion there are probably still mystery felids in North America.

  22. kwilson responds:

    The jaguar has been determined to be the oldest known jaguar in the wild, an update on this story can be found here:

    Biologists begin monitoring collared jaguar

  23. kittenz responds:

    Notice how dark this spotted jaguar appears in this backlit photo. I mean, you can see the spots, but you can also see how a spotted cat could be mistaken for a black cat, if the backlighting from the sun was a bit stronger. So some “black panther” stories may arise from sightings of normally colored cats, in shady areas or backlit, misidentified as being black.

    This jaguar has now been identified as Macho B – he has to be at least 15 or 16 years old; he was probably about 3 yo when he was first photographed in Arizona, and he has been photographed for 13 years. If a jaguar can survive for that long in any given habitat, that habitat should be preserved!

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