Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Species Spotlight: JAGUAR!

IEAS is home to just one jaguar  - DOMINO! A fan favorite, Domino does his species proud. He is a truly handsome cat, with a noble and proud personality to match.

Jaguars are powerful, deep chested, stocky cats, with a large, rounded head and short, sturdy limbs. Its size and spotted coat make it look much like a heavyset leopard, but there are minor differences in their spot patterns. A leopard has open rosettes with no spot in the middle, while a jaguar's rosettes will have a black spot (or two) within them.

A jaguar will feed on almost anything that is available, including lizards, snakes, other small animals, deer, fish, turtles, and even cattle. Having the strongest bite force of any feline in relation to body size, the jaguar is able to bite straight through a turtle's shell and kill livestock weighing three or four times its own weight. They are different than most other cats in their hunting techniques in that they will kill in one bite to the back of the skull, rather than the more common neck or throat bite.

Jaguars are often found in well-watered areas, such as the swampy grasslands of the Brazilian Pantanal. In other areas, jaguars will be found in riverine forests alongside streams, rivers, and lakers. They can and do live in more arid areas, but only where water flows through.

Jaguar populations are declining and the jaguar's range has been substantially reduced in the past 100 years due to habitat loss and conflicts with humans. Its present range includes Mexico, through Central American, and into South America as far south as Northern Argentina. Current conservation efforts for the jaguar have focused on educating ranch owners on coexisting with the animal and promoting ecotourism.

Recently, a jaguar was spotted in Arizona - the first jaguar siting in the U.S. in some time. After being spotted by University of Arizona researchers, federal and state wildlife officials released photos of the male jaguar. The photos were taken by automatic cameras set up to track jaguars and ocelots across the state. This is exciting news as this is the only known wild jaguar in the United States! Click here to read the article and see the pictures of this awesome jaguar!

Domino is a wonderful ambassador for his wild cousins, helping IEAS staff and interns teach visitors all about his species and its conservation needs. His handsome face and alluring pride make him a crowd favorite, and we love that Domino has such a wonderful group of supporters! Be sure to head out to IEAS to see this amazing jaguar in person!

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