There’s a WILD JAGUAR hanging out in the mountains of Tucson, Arizona who’s thought to be the only jaguar left in the United States. Rare new video shows the beautiful big cat wandering the forest, wondering if he’ll ever find a friend.

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These serene clips of “El Jefe” come courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity and Conservation CATalyst, which managed to capture video of the jaguar after three years of tracking. Biologist Chris Bugbee (from Conservation CATalyst) says the group set up cameras in the mountain ranges and used a “specially trained scat detection dog” to gather data.

Although photos of El Jefe have been available over the years, thanks to remote cameras, this is the first public footage of the boss just living his life. From the L.A. Times:

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Arizona historically has been near the northern end of jaguars’ range, which stretches through Mexico, Central America and South America. The animals are listed as an endangered species in the United States and last year the Fish and Wildlife Service, urged by the center, set aside nearly 800,000 acres near Tucson as protected habitat.

These big cats — the only ones bigger are tigers and lions — were more plentiful before losing habitat to development and their lives to hunters. The last one legally taken was a female, shot in 1963.

Jaguars, the third largest cats next to tigers and lions (and my greedy cat Jewel), have gradually disappeared from the U.S. over a 150-year period.

The executive director for Conservation CATalyst, Aletris Neils, said in a statement: “These glimpses into his behavior offer the keys to unlocking the mysteries of these cryptic cats.”


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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Image via Conservation CATalyst screengrab