Sunday, February 22, 2009

Collaring a jaguar

In the U.S.!

The Arizona Game and Fish Department caught and collared a wild jaguar in Arizona for the first time, officials said Thursday. While a handful of the big cats have been photographed by automatic cameras in recent years, the satellite tracking collar will now help biologists learn more about this animal's range.

Meanwhile, a jaguar was spotted in central Mexico for the first time in a century. Scientists photographed the cat with an automatic camera set alongside a trail thought to be frequented by the spotted felines.

Jaguars (Panthera onca) once ranged from southern South America to the southern United States. By the late 1900s, none were thought to exist north of Mexico, but two independent sightings in 1996 confirmed jaguars still reached as far north as Arizona and New Mexico. Remote cameras have also photographed jaguars in the Amazon.

There's already been at least one cougar sighting in my neck of the woods. I wonder how long it will take before some of my neighbors report seeing a jaguar.

The big cats are back!

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