Jaguar: Panthera onca Common Name: Jaguar Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata) Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Felidae Genus: Pantherinae Panthera Species: onca Misc: The Jaguar and the Leopard are often confused with one another in zoos. Their coloring and markings are so similar that it is difficult for people to distinguish them. The difference lies in the center of the Jaguars rosettes, because unlike the leopard, the Jaguar has spots inside of its rosettes! The Jag is also a much stockier animal than its cousin, with shorter legs and tail – giving it more of a pit bull type appearance.
Leopard coat pattern
Jaguar coat pattern
The name Jaguar comes from the ancient Indian name “yaguar” which meant “the killer which overcomes its prey in a single bound.”
Size and Appearance: Jags are the largest felines in the Americas. Adult males can reach an overall length of more than 7 feet, and can weigh anywhere from 150 to 200 pounds. As mentioned above, its coat color and markings are very similar to the leopard, with a rich tawny or yellow background with large black rosettes and spots. It has a larger head, more compact body, and much more powerful paws! The Jaguar also occurs with an all black (melanistic) coat, and like the leopard, the spots can still be seen on black individuals. Albino individuals have been reported as well.
Habitat: The Jaguar is commonly found in rain forests, savannahs, and swamps, but at the northern end of its territory it may enter scrub country and even deserts. The Jaguar still has a stronghold in the Amazon basin, but has been nearly wiped out of all drier regions. Wherever it is found, it requires fresh water as the Jaguar is an excellent swimmer. To see Jaguars in the wild, or help them there, check out www.guato.org
Distribution: Once found here in the United States (California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida), this cat was hunted to extinction here in the late 1940s. Today, it is found in Mexico, but swiftly declining and Central America, and the strongest populations being found in the Mato Grosso, Brazil; The Pantanal, bordering Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay; Chiapas State, Mexico; and the Yucatan Peninsula/northern Guatemala/Belize.
Reproduction and Offspring: Jaguars have no defined breeding season and will mate any time of year. After a gestation period of about 100 days, the female will give birth to a litter of 2-4 cubs. Mothers will continue to feed and protect her young until they are about 1 year old, and they will continue to stay with her until they are about 2 years old. They will reach sexual maturity between 2-3 years for females, and 3-4 for males.
In captivity, jags lived over 20 years, as compared to 11 – 12 in the wild.
Social System and Communication: The Jaguar is solitary and terrestrial, although it is an adept tree climber. It marks its territory with urine and tree scrapes, in the same fashion as the other great cats. It has a variety of vocalizations, including, roars, grunts, and meows.
Hunting and Diet: Jaguars will pursue almost any kind of animal prey within its range, with its favorite being the peccary (a type of wild pig) and the capybara (the worlds largest rodent). Other food items are caiman, tapirs, and fish. Jaguars differ from all the other cats in their method of killing. Once they’ve caught their prey they pierce the skulls with their canines, demonstrating the amazing strength of their powerful jaws. They were once presumed to be nocturnal, but recent studies have shown that they are active during the daytime, with high peaks of activity during dawn and dusk. Jaguars are also more energetic than their larger cousins, and are active for 50-60% of a 24 hour period.
Threats: Deforestation rates are high in Latin America and fragmentation of forest habitat isolates jaguar populations so that they are more vulnerable to the predations of man. People compete with jaguars for prey, and jaguars are frequently shot on sight, despite protective legislation. Jaguars are also known to kill cattle, and are killed by ranchers as pest species. The vulnerability of the jaguar to persecution is demonstrated by its disappearance by the mid-1900’s from the south-western US and northern Mexico. Commercial hunting and trapping of jaguars for their pelts has declined drastically since the mid-1970’s, when anti-fur campaigns and CITES controls progressively shut down international markets.
Status: CITES: Appendix I. IUCN: Near Threatened. The jaguar is fully protected at the national level across most of its range, with hunting prohibited in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela, and hunting restrictions in place in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. The species also occurs within protected areas in some of its range.
Felid TAG recommendation: Jaguar (Pantherinae Panthera onca). Although perhaps the longest-lived large felid species, the recently approved SSP found the North American population in AZA zoos and most other locations to be aging and virtually untraceable. As this time, only 22 of the 95 U.S. jaguars can be traced back to nature. This population is being managed as an education population because of its relative abundance in many parts of its range. Additional founders are expected to be periodically available for inclusion into the SSP. The target population is 120 individuals.
How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 292 worldwide, with 95 being in the U.S.
What is Big Cat Rescue doing for the Jaguar? We participated in an AZA sanctioned study by being the only facility to provide tracking information via detailed photos and casts of paw prints from our captive South American Pumas so that they could be discerned from jaguar tracks in Costa Rica. This will help researchers determine local populations and their habits so that land can be protected for their future.
National Geographic aired a wonderful documentary by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz called, In Search of the Jaguar.
Belize Jaguar Project: In January 2015 an enclosure for two displaced wild jaguars, Lady Hill and Mistletoe, in Belize was sponsored in honor of all of the Big Cat Rescue volunteers, interns, and staff. Since then the team at the Belize Zoo has been working through the rainy season to build the enclosure.
The main structure is now complete and includes night houses, swimming pools, and lots of natural habitat for these two jaguars to enjoy. The last step is to roof the enclosure, which they are currently working on. Here are a few photos of the progress.
These two jaguars were nuisance cats who came into very close proximity to where people reside. In order to spare their lives they were trapped and taken to the Belize Zoo which is a sanctuary for native wildlife that can not be released back into the wild. Had these two jaguars not been removed, they would have been terminated by the government.
Meet some of the jaguars who have lived at Big Cat Rescue:
Gerrard Larriett Announces Partnership with Charles the Monarch
to Raise Funds for Big Cat Rescue
New York, NY (January 24, 2013), Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care announces their partnership with Charles the Monarch to raise funds for Big Cat Rescue. The partnership aims to raise $10,000 for Big Cat Rescue by donating 10% of the proceeds from the sale of Gerrard Larriett products. In addition, customers will receive 25% off of the purchase of Gerrard Larriett grooming products from their website www.gerrardlarriett.com with promo code “Charles.”
“We were very excited to be partnering together with our wonderful friends at Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care, Charles Painter and the now world renown Charles the Monarch,” said Jeff Kremer, Big Cat Rescue’s Director of Donor Appreciation. “The sanctuary envisions a world where the animals we share it with are treated with compassion and respect and it is only by working “hand in hand” with like-minded friends that Big Cat Rescue is able to continue to make a positive difference in both the animal as well as human world we share”.
Charles the Monarch is the now world-famous dog, whose owner Charles Painter had him groomed to resemble the Old Dominion University mascot, a lion. The Labrador-poodle mix recently made headlines when several people in his home town of Norfolk, Virginia mistook him for an actual lion resulting in numerous 911 calls.
Big Cat Rescue is the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. Many of these cats are endangered and would stand no chance in the wild. Currently Big Cat rescue is caring for over 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species that have been abandoned, abused, orphaned or saved from poachers. Since 1992, Big Cat Rescue has been the lifeline for these at risk cats and now Gerrard Larriett and Charles the Monarch have stepped up to strengthen that lifeline.
Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care is an in home spa experience for pets that therapeutically tackles the odors that come along with pet ownership. The line includes pet shampoo and pet conditioner, pet freshening and shining spray and handmade deodorizing soy candles for the home. The scents have been personally chosen and each grooming product is designed to be adored by even the most demanding cat, dog or pet parent. Larriett explains, “The collection is presented as an array of top quality fragrances that span pet shampoo & conditioner, pet freshening and shining spray and handmade deodorizing soy candles for the home. Now your pet and you can share a soothing aromatherapy experience with each bath, touch-up spray or candle burn.”
For further press information or images please contact Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care
Today at Big Cat Rescue Jan 25 2013
GUYANA GOVERNMENT AND PANTHERA SIGN HISTORIC JAGUAR CONSERVATION AGREEMENT
MOU with Panthera Launches Guyana’s First Jaguar Conservation Framework
New York, NY – The jaguars of Guyana gained significant ground yesterday with the establishment of the country’s first official jaguar-focused agreement by the government of Guyana and wild cat conservation organization, Panthera.
Gathering in Georgetown, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Honorable Robert M. Persaud, presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Joslyn McKenzie, and Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. Serving as Panthera’s fifth jaguar conservation agreement with a Latin American government, this MOU marks an official commitment by both parties to collaboratively undertake research and conservation initiatives that ensure the protection of Guyana’s national animal, jaguar conservation education among its people, and mitigation of human-jaguar conflicts in the country.
Launching this agreement provides a framework through which Panthera, in partnership with Guyana’s Protected Areas and National Parks Commissions, can strengthen the effectiveness of the country’s Protected Areas System for wildlife, and outline the most effective initiatives to conserve the nation’s jaguars. Several initial activities to be undertaken through the agreement include mapping of the presence and distribution of jaguars across Guyana, and implementing a human-jaguar conflict response team that helps ranchers in livestock husbandry techniques and assesses conflict hotspots to better focus mitigation efforts and reduce conflict.
At the ceremony, the Honorable Robert M. Persaud stated, “We are proud of our new partnership with Panthera to secure the continuity of our sustainable development efforts while conserving our national symbol, the jaguar.”
Panthera’s CEO and jaguar expert, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, continued, “Historically, Guyana has achieved incredible success in sustainably balancing the country’s economic development, natural resource management, the livelihoods of its people, and the preservation of its unique wildlife and wild places. The signing of this jaguar conservation agreement demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to its legacy of conservation alongside economic progress and diversification.”
Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, with Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Honorable Robert M. Persaud, the day of the signing of an historic jaguar conservation agreement between Panthera and the government of Guyana – Jan 2013
Unlike most other Latin American and developing nations rich in natural resources, Guyana has maintained an exemplary model of habitat preservation, assisted by sparse human populations in the southern half of the country and a strong ethic for sustainable development, aided by important regulatory frameworks. In recent years, Guyana has implemented a Low Carbon Development Strategy to protect its 16 million hectares of rainforests and adhere to the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). Additionally, in 2011, Guyana committed to the establishment of the national Protected Areas Act, providing a framework for the management of the country’s preserved landscapes, including those within the Jaguar Corridor.
Such dedication to environmental conservation, along with its unique placement rooted between Venezuela to the north, Brazil to the west and south, and Suriname to the east, has established Guyana’s pristine forest and savanna landscape system as a critical connecting block for jaguar populations in northern South America, and through the Jaguar Corridor. Conceptualized by Dr. Rabinowitz, the Jaguar Corridor Initiative is the backbone of Panthera’s Jaguar Program, which seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations ranging from Mexico to Argentina to ensure the species’ genetic diversity and survival.
Today, Guyana represents one of 18 Latin American countries that is home to the jaguar, and one of 13 countries in which Panthera is conducting jaguar conservation science. In fact, the signing of this MOU comes at the heels of a ten-day exploratory expedition of Guyana’s Rewa River by Panthera’s jaguar scientists, including Vice President and legendary biologist Dr. George Schaller, Northern South America Jaguar Program Regional Director Dr. Esteban Payan, and grantee, Dr. Evi Paemelaere. Along with assessing the state of biodiversity and threats facing this watershed, Panthera’s team made a milestone sighting of the notoriously elusive ‘forest jaguar’ during the trip, indicating the potentially healthy condition of the riparian forests bordering the Rewa River.
“Being able to have a forest jaguar sighting in 10 days in the river is a testament to the good health of this forest. Sometimes years pass without seeing a jaguar in a perfectly sound forest environment,” commented Dr. Payan.
Since 2011, Dr. Paemelaere has led Panthera’s jaguar conservation initiatives in southern Guyana, concentrating on the Karanambu and Dadanawa Ranches of the Rupununi savannas. Traversed by the Rupununi River, these savannas serve as an extraordinary hotspot of biological diversity and an essential element of the Jaguar Corridor, potentially connecting Guyana’s jaguars with those of the Amazons.
A male jaguar on Karanambu Ranch in Guyana’s Rupununi savanna. This jaguar was observed swimming across the Rupununi River on multiple occasions. 2011.
Panthera’s partnership with theKaranambu Trust and Lodge – a former cattle ranch emblematic of historic Guyana turned eco-tourism operation – established the country’s first jaguar monitoring site and first mammal-focused biodiversity survey in the country. Often working on horseback, Panthera’s jaguar scientists conducted surveys on both Karanambu and Dadanawa ranches using camera traps and interviews to determine jaguar density, and assess the extent of human-jaguar conflict and unique threats facing the species.
“A jaguar density of three to four individuals per 100 km2 for the Rupununi savannas means these habitats are as important as rainforests for the conservation of the jaguar,” said Dr. Payan. In partnership with the Karanambu Trust and WWF Guyana, Panthera has also contributed to capacity-building with local Amerindian communities.
In 2013, Panthera is working to assess the state and presence of jaguars inside a logging concession between the Iwokrama Reserve and Central Suriname Nature Reserve, also embedded in the Jaguar Corridor.
Just minutes ago the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally proposed to protect 838,232 acres as “critical habitat” for endangered jaguars in southern Arizona and New Mexico — an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.
When finalized in the next year, and joined with a developing federal recovery plan, the decision will ensure jaguars return to the wild mountains and deserts of the American Southwest.
The decision has been a long time coming. The agency listed the jaguar as an endangered species in 1997 following a lawsuit
Jaguar skins confiscated in investigation/Courtesy U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida
A Texas couple that made road trips to South Florida to peddle smuggled jaguar skins have pleaded guilty to violating the law governing the trade in endangered species.
Elias Garcia Garcia, 53, and Maria Angela Plancarte, 52, of La Feria, Texas, used the cover of a plant seed company to drive to South Florida to sell jaguar skins smuggled from Mexico for thousands of dollars, according to an August indictment.
The investigation involved undercover agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posing as animal-skin buyers.
In Brownsville, Texas, last year, Elias Garcia Garcia offered to sell an undercover agent any animal skin the agent wanted, with the price of jaguar skins set at $1,500. The next day, the couple met with undercover agents, showed them four jaguar skins and sold them two for $3,000, according to the indictment.Then they drove a van to South Florida, met with agents in Homestead, sold them two skins for $3,000 and accepted a deposit of $1,000 for the delivery of up to 10 more skins.
They pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits the trade in species that have been obtained illegally.
The jaguar, the largest cat found in the Americas, once ranged from most of South America through the southwestern United States. But it has been virtually eradicated from the United States, to the point that occasional sightings near the Mexican border generate newspaper headlines. A jaguar was photographed Saturday in southeastern Arizona by a hunter whose dogs had treed it.
The major threats to the jaguar are the loss of habitat to deforestation and hunting, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Sentencing has been scheduled for March 5 before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard. They face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Jaguars: Not for smuggling in from Mexico and selling to federal agents.
It’s not every day a couple gets arrested for smuggling jaguar skins from Mexico to sell to people in South Florida, but today’s one of those days.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Elias Garcia Garcia and Maria Angela Plancarte, both 52 years old, were arrested late last week on a trip crossing over from Mexico to Texas as part of an investigation that alleges they’ve been operating their jaguar-skin business in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
The feds say the duo started selling the skins to people in-person around Texas, and also “by electronic means elsewhere.”
Garcia and Plancarte allegedly started selling the skins to undercover U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agents in November 2010, and also started going on road trips to South Florida to sell them to the undercover agents there, too.
The feds say they sold two of the pelts to agents in Texas for $3,000 cash, and promised to sell them ten more.
In South Florida, prosecutors say the agents made the same purchase, but coughed up an extra $1,000 for a deposit on the ten future jaguar skins.
Unfortunately for Garcia and Plancarte, the jaguars — known as “Panthera onca” in the science world — are on the endangered species list.
Under the Endangered Species Act, it’s a violation of federal law to sell an animal, dead animal, or its body parts if it’s on the endangered list.
Garcia and Plancarte are charged with conspiring to traffic in protected wildlife and violating the Endangered Species Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of six years each if convicted.