Jaguar sighted near Tucson

The press release from AZGF:

The Arizona Game and Fish Department over the weekend was able to confirm a hunter’s report of a jaguar southeast of Tucson and collect hair samples from the area for possible DNA testing.

 Game and Fish categorizes the report as a Class I-10, meaning the report is considered verifiable or highly probable, and visual or physical evidence is provided and confirmed.

   The report was initially received on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. from an experienced hunter using dogs to hunt mountain lions. The dogs pursued an animal the hunter ultimately deemed was a jaguar. The animal was treed approximately 15 feet up in a mesquite tree, and the hunter was able to obtain photographs and video. After photographing the jaguar, the hunter quickly left the area with his dogs and observed from a distant point. The jaguar remained treed for approximately 15 minutes and then headed south.

Based on the images, biologists believe the jaguar is an adult male that appeared in good, healthy condition and weighed approximately 200 pounds.

Biologists will compare the photos and video to images of other jaguars photographed throughout Arizona in the past. They will try to use comparisons between a jaguar’s unique spots, or “rosettes,” to determine if the animal has been identified previously.

Four of the last five confirmed jaguar sightings in Arizona have been reported by hunters, who all took responsible action to document the animal, report it to Game and Fish, and remove their dogs from the area once the animal was identified as a jaguar. These hunters have provided biologists with critical information that may not otherwise be known, information that will help increase the understanding of the species’ existence in the borderland area.

The species has been protected outside of the United States under the Endangered Species Act since 1973. That protection was extended to jaguars within the U.S. in 1997, the year after their presence in the Arizona and New Mexico borderlands was confirmed.

Jaguars once ranged from southern South America through Central America and Mexico and into the southern United States. It is believed that southern Arizona is the most northern part of the range for a population of jaguars living in Sonora, Mexico. As noted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a 2006 report, it appears there is “regular intermittent use of the borderlands area by wide-ranging males.” The report also observes that “no indication of the presence of females or cubs, indicates that physical and biological features in the U.S. may allow individual transients to survive, at least temporarily, but do not support a breeding population.”

Jaguars are the only cat in North America that roar. They prey on a variety of mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. Females breed year-round and have litters of one to four cubs that stay with their mother for nearly two years.

14 comments

  1. Let’s hope that Arizona Fish and Game officials do not repeat their ill-fated zealousness to capture and radio-collar a jaguar that led to them killing Macho B, who had lived peacably in our state for years.  While they managed to skate through the investigation with a contractor taking the blame for baiting and snaring our resident jaguar, and a volunteer indicted for simply doing what she was told to do, the drive to capture and radio-collar Macho B came from high Fish and Game management personnel.  I watched them and heard them at Jaguar Conservation Team meetings.  Let’s just leave our jaguars alone and take joy in knowing that they are there.  And maybe preserve some habitat to make them welcome where they used to live!  Here kitty kitty!

  2. Oboy, here we go again, shades of Macho B.   Bravos and many heartfelt kudos to the hunter who did the responsible thing by recording and then withdrawing from this rare and beautiful treasure in our area.  But I have qualms about reporting to Game and Fish, given their record in ‘protecting’ (read ‘killing’) these endangered creatures.  By the way, the name Game and Fish says it all….’game’?  Please.  

    Let’s hope someone in management has the decency to leave this animal where he belongs, forego radio-collaring, blood samples, weighing, tagging, and whatever other torture they’ve dreamed up to make themselves believe that capturing these wild cats is okay.  It isn’t.  It just isn’t.  And let’s also hope that all the other hunters out there follow the commendable example of this fellow and do what they can to protect what few jaguars are left in our area.  They’re doing a much better job of it than G & F, by a long shot.  Pun intended.

    1. Yes “Game” and “Fish Fry” is telling, like Drug Enforcement Agency, rather than Drug LAW Enforcement Agency.

      Which would mean AFG are poachers, and DEA are pushers. But they are in effect. LOL 

  3. This poor Jaguar is a goner. Anyone with the slightest bit of sense who saw him should have just shut up and left. Now, fish and game will have to puff up their chests and barge in. Macho B all over again. Sickening.

  4. Well, I see we have a few of the usual uninformed and ignorant comments referencing the Macho B saga. These are people who are predisposed against Game and Fish, probably because they don’t like hunting, or they don’t like the concept of active management, or they don’t like that Game and Fish has to be responsive to all constituencies and not just the interests of activist groups.

    There will always be dupes who are misled by the emotional rhetoric of self-serving activist groups, as well as by a couple of pandering politicians, and by reporting by the Arizona Daily Star that I believe was at times unfair, irresponsible and biased.

    First, contrary to allegations by some, Game and Fish DID NOT set out to initially capture Macho B. A two-year federal investigation (longer than the Kennedy and Pearl Harbor investigations combined) resulted in a plea agreement with a one-time G&F subcontractor who at the time of Macho B’s initial capture was neither a Game and Fish subcontractor or a formal volunteer. The investigation also resulted in a diversion agreement with the one-time subcontractor’s employee. No Game and Fish employees were prosecuted. And most important, there was no evidence that any higher-ups in the agency authorized Macho B’s capture. And that’s because it never happened.

    On the issue of “fairness,” let’s examine this item. In 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity sued Game and Fish, claiming that the department did not have a valid permit authorizing either intentional or accidental take of a jaguar. The Arizona Daily Star’s coverage of this item goes toward proving my opinion of bias in the Star’s reporting. The Star published a 200-word article on May 12, 2009, announcing CBD’s intent to sue Game and Fish over the permit issue. The Star published an 800-word article on July 25, 2009, announcing CBD had sued the department. In addition, the Star gave CBD’s Kieran Suckling space to air his assertions about the permit in a 1,200-word article on May 24, 2009, titled, “Permit for jaguar’s capture questioned.”

    One would assume that if those allegations were deemed to be of such public interest as to merit that type of coverage, then out of fairness, the dismissal of the lawsuit should merit equal coverage. And yet, when CBD’s lawsuit was dismissed on July 23, 2010, do you know how much space the Arizona Daily Star devoted to it? Not a single word. After virtually functioning as if it were a PR agency in helping CBD publicly air its unfounded allegations, the Star was “missing in action” when CBD’s lawsuit and its accompanying allegations were dismissed. I challenge anyone, particularly the Star’s reporters and editors, to explain to me how that was fair to Game and Fish.

    Earlier this year, as part of the Janay Brun case, two federal judges ruled that Game and Fish indeed had a valid permit.

    Finally, despite the misinformation that apparently continues to be circulated by some, the bear and mountain lion study being conducted by Game and Fish back in 2009 was not a study meant to trap a jaguar. It was a surrogate species study to learn more about how large predators use and move about in habitat. As habitat becomes increasingly fragmented by human development, that type of research is absolutely necessary to provide the science to make decisions to help recover or ensure sustainable wildlife populations. In other words, it was meant to help species such as jaguars. Game and Fish was functioning as the good guys. Certain self-serving advocacy groups will never acknowledge that, nor will they ever acknowledge the wonderful work Game and Fish does on behalf of bald eagles, Chiricahua leopard frogs, black-footed ferrets, California condors, and many other species, because these people need a ready-made villain to whip up emotions and help with their fundraising. They make their living on fostering conflict.

    What happened with Macho B was an unfortunate outcome, not something sinister. The fact that some people continue to portray it as such is truly unfair and unfortunate. 

    1. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Macho B was killed by the government,  just as this beautiful beast will eventually be done in by the government. Fish and Game hates wildlife.

    2. “…an unfortunate outcome, not something sinister.”

      Is this a sick joke? What difference does that make? 

      LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE!!! 

    1. I have learned that Game and Fish do not have the photos. They are in possession of the hunter who reported the sighting.

  5. Is there any more info about where exactly the sighting was?  I live in an area where a lot of hunters visit, so I’m curious about the location.  Was it in the Mescal area?

    1. The only published description is “in a remote canyon in Cochise County south of I-10.”

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