Endangered Animals of North America

Save the jaguar!

Information

Physical Traits

  • head-body length: 112-241 cm, ground-shoulder height: 45-75 cm (ARK)
  • male weight: 119-348 lbs (54-158 kg), female weight: 79-187 lbs (36-85 kg) (ARK)
  • black spotted rosettes, golden brown fur, pales to white on cheeks, throat, and underside (ARK)
  • good swimmers, may ambush prey from trees (ARK)
  • muscular build, deep chest, large head, broad muzzle, strong jaws which makes them the largest cat in the Americas (ARK)
  • melanistic jaguars are common (ARK)


Habitat

  • sparsely populated, live in rainforests, swamps, scrublands, savannas (always near water) (ARK)
  • most jaguars reside in Mexico and northern Argentina (most populous in the Amazon Basin), but some as far north as California (ARK)
  • most live below 3300 ft (1000 m), but some found as high as 2.5 mi (3,800 m) (ARK)
  • about 1 jaguar per 9 square mi (15 square km) (ARK)


Diet

  • active both night and day, but most active when its prey is most active (ARK)
  • diet of more that 85 species, ranging from reptiles to fish (ARK)
  • most powerful bite of the big cats, the only big cat to kill by piercing the skull (ARK)


Adaptations

  • powerful jaw for eating meat, large teeth for ripping and eating meat, spotted rosettes used for camouflage (DZ)
  • tapetum lucidum: a mirror-like layer in the back of the eye that reflects light back through the eye to produce a brighter image in low-light, helps jaguars see 6x better than humans. (DZ)


Critical Information

  • the jaguar population is steadily decreasing each year due to us humans (IUCN)
  • to promote the survival of the jaguar, you can donate to various charities


Reasons for Endangerment and Conservation Efforts

Threats

  • considered near threatened by the IUCN Red List (IUCN)
  • deforestation, habitat destruction, poaching are some of the leading threats (IUCN)
  • humans poaching responsible for 18,000 deaths just between 1960 and 1970 (IUCN)
  • deforestation not only destroys the jaguar's habitat, but also kills their base prey in the area, 27% of jaguars have a depleted wild base prey (IUCN)
  • once isolated, jaguars become more vulnerable to human persecution (IUCN)
  • farmers kill jaguars because jaguars occasionally kill cattle (IUCN)
  • no laws present to protect the jaguar in Ecuador and Guyana (IUCN)


Conservation Efforts

  • fully protected throughout most of its range (ARK)
  • though many countries have laws, most are ignored or unenforced (IUCN)
  • countries have set aside land for jaguars, for example: the Belize government recently created a reserve of 95 square mi (150 square km) (IUCN)

Jaguar dad and cub in Attica Zoological Park, Greece