Jaguars have been given protected status by the following
1. The Mexican goverment (SEMARNAT)
considers to Panthera onca as endangered species (Peligro de
SEMARNAT. 2002. Norma Oficial
Mexicana NOM-059-ECOL-2001. Protección ambiental - Especies nativas
de México e flora y fauna silvestre - Categorias de riesgo y
especificaciones para su inclusión, exclusión o cambio - Lista de
especies en riesgo. Diario Oficial de la FedEeración.
Miércoles 6 de marzo 2002:95-190.
2. CITES. Panthera onca is
included in the Appendix I
3. USFWS Threatened and
Endangered Species System (TESS) consider to jaguar as endangered in
all his distribution.
Man-made habitat loss and fragmentation due to cattle ranching,
agriculture, urbanization. Jaguars continue to be hunted illegally.
Jaguars are one of the most majestic animals in the world. To
some, jaguars look very much like leopards but they are sturdier and
heavier. The easiest way to distinguish a jaguar from a leopard,
besides the jaguar’s much more powerful build, is by the rosettes.
The rosettes on a jaguar’s coat are larger, fewer in number, and
usually darker with thicker lines that enclose smaller spots. The
head of the jaguar is rounder and it has shorter, stockier limbs.
Because of this the jaguar is sometimes referred to as the “bulldog”
of the cat world.
Jaguars vary from 5.3 to 6 feet (1.62 to 1.83 m) in length,
including a 30 in (0.76 m) tail. They stand around 67 to 76 cm (27
to 30 inches) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 56 and 96 kg
(124 and 211 lb) with larger individuals, recorded by scientists,
weighing between 131 and 151 kg (288 to 333 lb). Females are
typically twenty percent smaller than males. Jaguars in southern
Mexico and Central America are typically smaller--56 kg and 40 kg
(123 lb and 90 lb) for males and females respectively.
The jaguar is the third largest
feline in the world, after tigers and lions, and the largest feline
in the Americas.
Species: Panthera. onca
MEANING OF THE WORD
The word “jaguar” comes from the word “yaguara”, which in Guarani
(the languages of the Guarani Indians in South America) and means
“beast that kills with one leap.”
have lost two-thirds of their original range in Mexico and Central
America and one-third in South America. In Mexico they can be found
in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and the Maya Biosphere Reserve (a
rainforest that extends into Guatemala and Belize) and in the states
of Tamaulipas, Colima, Nayarit and Chihuahua. Jaguars roam the
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize. They can be found in
Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. They have an
important presence in the Amazon Basin (comprising Venezuela, Peru,
Bolivia and Brazil) and the Pantanal (vast wetlands shared by
Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay).
Jaguars, on rare occasions, are seen as far north as the
southwestern United States, particularly in Arizona, New Mexico and
Texas. In the early 1900s, the jaguars' range actually extended as
far north as Southern California and western Texas.
As recently as 2004, wildlife officials in Arizona have photographed
and documented jaguars in the southern parts of the state. Presently
it is unclear whether recent sightings indicate whether there is a
permanent population developing in the Southwest or that these cats
are simply transients straying over the border from Sonora, Mexico.
However, jaguars are a protected species in the United States under
the Endangered Species Act and are considered nongame, therefore
making it illegal to shoot a jaguar for its pelt. Fossils of jaguars
from as far north as Missouri confirm these cats inhabited much of
the Southern United States during prehistoric times. These
prehistoric jaguars were significantly larger than the jaguars of
Wild jaguars can live between 12 and 16 years. Jaguars in captivity
live up to 20 years.
The average litter size is one to four cubs. Cubs remain with their
mothers for two years.
The jaguar's habitat ranges from the rain forests of South and
Central America to marshy and even desert terrain in Mexico, but
they are rarely seen in mountainous regions. Known for their strong
swimming abilities, the jaguar is one of the few cats besides tigers
that enjoy water. They often prefer to live by rivers, swamps, and
in dense forest with thick cover for stalking prey.
The jaguar prey base is diverse, including such species as peccaries
(wild pigs), capybaras (large rodents), deer, sloths, caymans,
tapirs, freshwater fish and smaller animals. They occasionally prey
on domestic livestock, a reason why they are targeted by ranchers.
The jaguar uses a different killing method than most cats to kill
its prey. Instead of biting the neck, to suffocate or sever the
spinal cord, the jaguar delivers a fatal bite directly to the skull,
piercing the brain. It is because of this killing technique that
jaguars often break teeth as they progress in age. Jaguars eat from
10-70 pounds (5-32 kg) of food daily.
Jaguars stalk and ambush their prey, often dragging carcasses to
safe locations some distance away before eating. They are excellent
swimmers and climbers. Instead of roaring, jaguars growl and snarl.
They are solitary animals and tend to live in caves and canyons
close to a source of freshwater.