About The Jaguar


     The jaguar (Panthera onca) is a big cat and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hempishere.  Revered as deities amongst the Mayan and Aztec peoples, jaguars inspire through their grace and power. These agile hunters once roamed from South America to the southern and central U.S., but lost their habitat and were killed off in the east in the 1700s. Spanish bounties and fur hunting in the southwestern U.S. reduced their numbers further. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service systematically hunted down the last animals in the 20th century, but the big cat reappears sporadically due to migration from Mexico.

     After the jaguar was listed as endangered in the U.S. in 1997, in response to the Center for Biological Diversity's (CBD) campaign, the CBD sued the Fish and Wildlife Service three times to obtain a recovery plan and critical habitat designation. Finally, in early 2010, the Service announced it would grant the jaguar protected habitat in the U.S. as well as develop a recovery plan. The CBD has proposed the designation of more than 50 million acres of jaguar critical habitat in the southwest. They advocated for protection from government traps, snares and poisons. They also opposed walling off the U.S./ Mexico border, to ensure that jaguars will always have access to the full extent of their range.

     In March 2009, the Arizona Game and Fish Department euthanized the last known U.S. jaguar (named Macho B) after capturing and fitting him with a radio collar.  The CBD called for an independent medical investigation, which revealed that the jaguar's death was at least in part due to agency mismanagement. The CBD also called on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement to do an independent investigation, which it did.  In September, the CBD filed suit against the Arizona Game and Fish Department to prevent the killing of any more jaguars, and in January 2010, the Interior Department's inspector general released a report concluding that Macho B's capture had been intentional, and that the Game and Fish Department had no permit to capture jaguars, either intentionally or incidentally.  In April 2010, the CBD filed a notice of intent to sue the predator-control branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture over its use of traps, snares and poisons that risk injuring or killing both jaguars and ocelots in the southwest.  Two months later, the CBD filed a notice over the Fish and Wildlife Service's permit authorizing Arizona Game and Fish to "take" jaguars with traps and snares.