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JAGUAR - Species Spotlight

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Published on Jul 24, 2009

JAGUAR (Panthera Onca) The jaguar is the Americas largest feline predator. This endangered cat (estimated population= +/-10,000) has one of the most powerful bites in the animal kingdom which it uses to crush the skull of its prey. The jaguar is often confused with the leopard which lives in Asia and Africa. The black jaguar is very rare. In jaguars, the melanism is dominant and in leopards the color mutation is recessive. Melanism is the occurence of an increased amount of dark pigmentation. Some feel the black coloring of jaguars and leopards seems to take place more when it helps the cat to be dark such as in dense forest and jungles.
Threats to this amazing cat include habitat loss and fragmentation of its range. While international trade in jaguars and their parts is illegal, the cat is still regularly killed by humans, particularly in conflicts with ranchers in Central and South America.
On February 25, 2009 a regular colored spotted Jaguar (Macho B) was caught, radio-collared and released in southwest Arizona. Sadly, on March 2, 2009, was recaptured and euthanized after he was found to be suffering from kidney failure. Macho B seemed to be the only Jag that was seen in the US in some time. Some feel that the stress from the captures and sedation caused his weak kidney to fail. It is always risky to knock out a big cat.
The jaguar remains the national symbol of Brazil. And I hope we in the United States will once again embrace this amazing predator as well.
*Filmed at The WildCat Sanctuary in Mn
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