Say hello to Arizona’s newest jaguar, Center for Biological Diversity says

Jan 8, 2024, 4:15 AM | Updated: Jan 9, 2024, 2:55 pm

PHOENIX — Arizona’s wild jaguar population officially expanded, according to a Friday announcement from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Jason Miller, a wildlife enthusiast, captured the images and videos of the jaguar with a trail camera, the center said. Researchers then analyzed the media and confirmed the animal as the eighth jaguar documented in the U.S. southwest in the past three decades.

Russ McSpadden, a Southwest conservation advocate at the center, said every new jaguar in Arizona is a cause for celebration.

Center for Biological Diversity welcomes new jaguar

“After being nearly wiped out, these majestic felines continue to reestablish previously occupied territory despite border wall construction, new mines and other threats to their habitat,” McSpadden said in a statement. “We’re extremely lucky to live near such magnificent creatures and we’ve got to do everything we can to protect our shared landscape.”

Officials could tell this was a new jaguar because of the unique rosette pattern on its coat, which is as unique as a human fingerprint. It’s possible federally run trail cameras may have caught this jaguar in 2023, but those photos were too blurry for a proper analysis.

The Center for Biological Diversity said all wild jaguars that have been spotted over the last several decades have been male. They aren’t sure if this latest jaguar is male or female.

Megan Southern, a jaguar recovery coordinator with the Rewilding Institute, said it’s time for authorities to create a game plan to repopulate jaguars.

“Whether male or female, this new jaguar is going to need a mate. Now is the time for us to have a serious conversation and take action to bring jaguars back,” Southern said in a statement. “This new cat is just one of the many jaguars who should be roaming Arizona and New Mexico in a healthy population.”

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Say hello to Arizona’s newest jaguar, Center for Biological Diversity says