Wild Jaguar Spotted in Arizona

Sighting is first since 2009
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2011 4:54 AM CST
Wild Jaguar Spotted in Arizona
A jaguar caught on camera south of Tucson in 2004.   (AP Photo/Humboldt State University and Jaguar Conservation Team, Emil McCain)

A wild jaguar has been seen in the US for the first time in more than two years. The sighting was made by an Arizona hunter using dogs to track mountain lions and was confirmed by state wildlife officials. Jaguars—the only big cat in the Americas to roar—are a rare sight in the rugged Arizona-Mexico borderlands. The last wild jaguar seen in the US was captured and euthanized due to health problems in 2009.

The hunter says the big cat clawed his dogs before retreating up a tree. He took photographs and video of the treed jaguar before swiftly leaving the area. "I've seen a lot of lions treed up and stuff, and I've been in a lot of pretty hairy situations, but I've never experienced something like this," he tells the Arizona Daily Star. "The roaring and growling. It was quite unreal." Last year, federal officials announced plans to set aside critical habitat for the jaguar, which once inhabited a large swathe of the southern US. (More jaguar stories.)

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