You may remember that on Facebook, on February 3, I shared a post from the Center for Biological Diversity and Conservation CATalyst which included a breaking video of the only known jaguar spotted in the United States. Since then the jaguar, now known as El Jefe by locals in Arizona (where he was spotted), has become somewhat of a star in the world of wildlife conservation.
This discovery has been both exciting and perplexing to those of us in the field. We’re hoping that this will generate more publicity towards the conservation of big cats like this, and we’re also curious as to how the big guy made it so far north. (The next closest jaguar is said to live over 130 miles south of the US/Mexican border.) The lone jaguar’s popularity to the rest of our country’s population, sadly, isn’t making as big of an impact as it should.
“I have to say, this video shocked me,” author Jason Bittel recently wrote in an article for On Earth, the official magazine for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “I write about animals for a living, and I had no idea that jaguars ever ranged this far north — let alone that there’s one traipsing through our lower left corner this very minute. I mean, we’re talking about an apex predator here. This animal can weigh more than 200 pounds and is armed to the nines with claws built for taking down tapirs and jaws strong enough to crunch through sea turtle shells. It’s also the only cat in the Americas that can roar.”
Bittel poses the question that many conservationists are also wondering: Why aren’t Americans making a bigger deal of it?”
“Sure there have been various media reports,” continues Bittel, “mostly local or in environmental publications, but for perspective, consider this: Animal Planet has produced nine seasons of Finding Bigfoot. In 2015, the History Channel aired a two-hour special called “Breaking History: Bigfoot Captured” (though he obviously wasn’t). There’s even a “Bigfoot Cam” that broadcasts a lifeless field devoid of sasquatches 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Spike TV is offering $10 million to anyone who can prove that Harry from Harry and the Hendersons exists.”
“Do you have any idea how much jaguar science and conservation $10 million could buy? You could basically lock up the survival of the jaguar indefinitely,” says Dr Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization. And yet the Arizona feline — our very own living, breathing jungle cat — doesn’t even have a Facebook page yet. (Yes, big cats can have Facebook pages.)
Check out the rest of this awesomely entertaining article here. It’s a really good read.
Your welcome 🙂