/ Modified mar 11, 2017 6:45 a.m.

Episode 306: Face to Face With a Jaguar

Understanding the big cat and its range in Southwest has grown with recent sightings.

Most commonly associated with South and Central America, jaguars are also native to Arizona, and there is limited knowledge about the large cat.

But that knowledge has been growing in the last 30 years along with an increasing number of jaguar sightings in the U.S., including in Arizona along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The large cat has been spotted in places as far southeast as the Peloncillo Mountains, north to the Dos Cabezas Mountains, and south to the Whetstones, Huachucas and Tumacacoris. Interstate 10, cutting across Arizona, likely serves as a barrier for travel for the animals.

The Bureau of Land Management captured a glimpse of the animal with a photograph in November in the Dos Cabezas area near the town of Willcox, 60 miles from the border with Mexico. Other sightings include the Huachuca Mountains in October and an area southwest of Tucson where the famous Macho B jaguar was photographed.

That jaguar, believed to be 15 or 16 years old, was captured and collared by Arizona Game and Fish, who discovered Macho B had been suffering from severe kidney failure and subsequently had to be euthanized.

Jaguars are elusive, and spotting one can be difficult. Warner Glenn has seen and photographed two in his lifetime.

The Northern Jaguar Project is a nonprofit started in 2003, with a 55,000-acre reserve dedicated to protecting and studying the jaguar. Founding member Diane Hadley spoke with Arizona Public Media about the animals.

Also on the program

  • Tim Snow of Arizona Game and Fish
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Steve Spangle
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