Remote sensor cameras in Arizona managed to capture a rare sight of America’s only jaguar roaming around the bush terrain and up the creek. It arrives in excellent timing.
- El Jefe was seen just 25 miles away from downtown Tucson, Arizona
- It’s believed the jaguar has traveled for around 130 miles into the state
- It’s the fifth jaguar to be caught on tape in the last two decades
- El Jefe is the last known jaguar in the United States
The video of El Jefe, the jaguar living in the Santa Rita Mountains, was uploaded by non-profit organization Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity. This was considered a major win for both organizations, who have been trying to capture the jaguar on video for three years. And, considering it’s the only known one of the species in the United States, it has not been an easy task.
According to Chris Bugbee, studying these elusive cats is “extremely difficult” to begin with. The jaguar has been considered to be endangered since 2011, and is the sole one wandering around Arizona.
El Jefe, loosely translated as “the boss” and otherwise known as “jaguar of Santa Rita”, was named by the local children who voted as part of a program held by the Center for Biological Diversity. It’s known to roam the Santa Rita Mountains, hence the name. According to experts, El Jefe travelled around 130 miles to Arizona, all by himself, as jaguars are naturally solitary creatures. They only tolerate each other long enough to breed.
This particular one is the fifth jaguar to be captured on camera in Arizona in the last 20 years. It’s important for conservationists to get a good idea of its health and path in order to help El Jefe thrive. And, so far, he has. The Tucson region in the state is ideal for the jaguar to make a home, and hopefully to continue increasing their population.
According to Randy Serraglio from the center for Biological Diversity, it’s “amazing” to know that the elusive creature is just 25 miles away from downtown Tucson. That means that El Jefe has been living in their “backyard” for the past couple of years, so it’s their duty to protect it. The animal is in the prime of its breeding age, and there appears to be a breeding population of jaguars around 100 miles south of the border (Mexico). Considering how much El Jefe has already travelled, that’s not far at all.
The sighting and video captured of the beautiful wild cat might aid against the building of a copper mine meant to be planted in the area. A mining company from Canada is looking to develop an open-pit copper mine smack dab in the middle of El Jefe’s habitat. According to experts, this will not only disturb the habitat for jaguars, but it will also destroy acres of lands due to the 800-mile-high piles of toxic waste.
According to Serraglio, the Santa Rita Mountains are crucial for its survival, and they must be protected.