Jaguars now extinct in US?

The federal government has opened a criminal investigation into the capture and death of the last known jaguar in the United States, amid accusations that a biologist working for the state illegally baited a trap to attract the cat.

The 118-pound male jaguar, known as Macho B, was captured on Feb. 18 in a leg-hold snare placed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in a rugged mountainous area southwest of Tucson. The animal, which was described in field reports as healthy and robust, was tranquilized, equipped with a radio-tracking collar and released from the trap.

The jaguar, which was estimated to be 16 years old, was recaptured with tranquilizing darts on March 2 after wildlife personnel feared that it might be in poor health. It was flown by helicopter to the Phoenix Zoo, where a veterinarian said it had irreversible kidney failure. It was euthanized the same day.



  1. #1 The BoBo
    April 5, 2009

    Before this – they already were extinct in the U.S. There are 94 in the country. We have 5 jaguars here in Florida. Also, just a little bit of trivia – while the jaguar’s genus is panthera onca – they are not actually panthers. “Panthers” are actually from the puma genus. We have hundreds of panthers here in Florida. Perhaps the reason people don’t realize the Jaguar is extinct is because they continue to associate them with panthers.

  2. #2 Jim Lippard
    April 5, 2009

    John Lynch has more details at Stranger Fruit.

  3. #3 TTT
    April 6, 2009

    Very strange article. The U.S. resident jaguar population has been extinct since the early 20th century, with later individuals (like this one) migrating from Mexico. Apparently they just didn’t know the earlier history.

    Interestingly, if you read through most texts on cats and/or extinction, they include a specifically American subspecies, the Arizona jaguar (P.o.arizonensis). However, in the late 1990s Dr. Alan Rabinowitz of the Wildlife Conservation Society published a monograph saying that not only had the Arizona subspecies never actually existed, but that all jaguar subspecies throughout its entire range were never distinct either and any jaguar in Arizona is the same as one from Brazil, and vice-versa. Just about every single published text disagrees with this, acknowledging at least SOME form of sub-specific jaguar variation. At the time Rabinowitz wrote this, the WCS was working with ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico to protect habitat corridors used by migrating jaguars (and other large animals too). I suspect they included the idea that “there is no unique Arizona jaguar, never WAS, and NEVER COULD BE” to calm the nerves of Westerners who would otherwise have been worried about an Endangered Species Act land-grab and thus would have resorted to “shoot, shovel, and shut up.”

  4. #4 Russ Finley
    April 6, 2009

    I have blogged on occasion about the wisdom of darting big cats. In the following article I was called on the carpet by the:

    “Global Carnivore Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society and an Associate Conservation Scientist…”

    for being critical:

  5. #5 Dr Moon
    May 10, 2009

    Scientist estimate there only to be 94 Jaquars left in the US but chances are there are probably more. It’s amazing how many species we’ve found that we thought were extinct thanks to the remote cameras being used by Conservationist and Hunters. I believe the’ve found a colony of Jaquars in Mexico that they didn’t know were there until recently. I can’t imagine that in many places in the wide expanses of West Texas where the Mountains meet the desert that there aren’t numerous Jaquars there. Scientist have even discovered some black panthers still roaming wild in the US. I can’t imagine why any idiot would shoot such a beautiful animal. There should be a death penalty for killing such rare creatures. At the same time there are some animals that should be take off the endangered list like the American Alligator. Don’t tell a Floridian that AA’s are endagered.

  6. #6 hidden
    October 29, 2009

    This is fucking Ridicolous, i think we should set a trap For whoever did this Instead. They had no reason to do this. Jaguars were awesome, Fuck this.

  7. #7 issy53
    October 29, 2009

    About eight years ago, while driving from El Paso to Alpine I saw a huge black cat cross the road about 200 yards in front of me. I always thought it was a jaguar. The main thing that bothered me was its size, it was a good bit larger than most jaguar.