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Jaguar captured, collared and released in Arizona

The jaguar that was released after having a tracking collar fitted to its neck.

A jaguar was captured southwest of Tucson this week during an Arizona Game and Fish Department research study. The study was actually aimed at monitoring black bear and mountain lion habitats.

The male cat has been fitted with a satellite tracking collar and released. The collar will provide biologists with location updates every few hours and it is hopeful that this data will provide information on a little-studied population segment of this species. This is the first time in the U.S. that a jaguar has been able to be followed in this manner.

"While we didn't set out to collar a jaguar as part of the research project, we took advantage of the important opportunity," Terry Johnson, Arizona Game and Fish dept. endangered species coordinator, said in a press release issued by the department.

The jaguar is protected under the Endangered Species Act.  According to Steve Spangler, Arizona field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a permit was issued under this act to radio-collar a jaguar if the opportunity presented itself.

"Gathering habitat-use information and learning whether and how the cat is moving in and out of the United States may be essential to jaguar conservation on the northern edge of their range," Spangler said.

Thought to be extinct in the U.S., two independent sightings of the big cats about a decade ago confirmed that they still utilize portions of Arizona and New Mexico as part of their range. Images of them have also been taken in these areas recently using remote cameras.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: The jaguar that was released after having a tracking collar fitted to its neck. Credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Comments (30)

Check out http://jaguarhabitatUSA.wordpress.com. Help bring back the jaguar! It's still possible! Jaguars once ranged in the Southwest from California to Texas.

Thank you for the information on the GPS collar and the possible effects it might have on the jaguar, Nate. Would still be great to see something smaller and less intrusive in the future. Hope the Times does a follow-up story and lets us know more about this jag's life here in the U.S.

Terrific news but I wish they'd kept it on the QT. Now some wacko poachers will start tracking it.

Rather have the jag(s) than all those geriatrics, buying crappy, nasty, grotesque SUBURBAN SPRAWL!!! Any chance we can stake-out a few 'noble' white savages, and teach it to eat the other/other 'white meat?'

Some weird comments.

Hunters, real ones not yahoos or the imaginary sort conjured by city folk, are greater advocates for conservation than suburbanites. Sprawling suburbs destroy hunting, habitat and wildlife. Hunting has been the way to get one's dinner for 50 thousand years. Whole Foods has been around perhaps fifteen. Which one is a more honest way to get your dinner?

GPS collars are bulky because of their power demands. Most of that mass is batteries...lithiums, most likely, but still batteries. The reason it needs so many batteries is so it can transmit data BACK so researchers don't have to follow it everywhere like with traditional radiotelemetry equipment (which only transmits a ping, has much lower power demands, and as such comes in a smaller package). Even though it's a big collar, it actually helps to REDUCE the impact of researchers on the cat's daily activity.

That collar probably bothers the cat less than you think. I've done plenty of tracking work, and most animals stop messing with the collar after a day or two.

Credit should also be given to another Arizona hunter, Jack Childs. About six months after Warner Glenn's discovery, Mr. Childs was out hunting cougars and treed a jaguar in the Baboquivari Mountains. He didn't shoot it, he took a photo. The photographs taken by Glenn and Childs were instrumental in obtaining federal protection for the animals as an endangered species the following year.

Mr. Glenn spotted the first jaguar back in 1996, and hunters in the southwest have been aware of these discoveries for more than a decade, so for those of you who have suggested that today's story in the LA Times will result in hunters pursuing the jaguar and shooting it, the facts suggest otherwise.

I note the ignorant anti-hunter comments made by Pam. If you wish to know some facts about the discovery of jaguars in Arizona, read the NY Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/10/science/10jaguar.html

The first Jaguar spotted in Arizona in recent times was discovered by Warner Glenn, a hunter. He photographed it. Unfortunately, it later traveled south of the border and was killed by a Mexican federal officer. Mr. Glenn sometime later discovered the second jaguar while out with a group of hunters, and again the jaguar was photographed, not shot. Mr. Glenn has dedicated his own ranch land habitat to jaguar preservation. The Orvis company, which sells fine clothing and equipment for hunters, has publicized Mr. Warner's efforts and promotes contributions from hunters to jaguar preservation. I have no connection to Mr. Glenn or to the Orvis company, but I am an occasional hunter and, like every hunter I know, a lover of wildlife and wild spaces.

Better send Dick Cheney over there to take care of it!

Someone should check the Tucson airport for Big Game Hunters offloading their maximum armories to go after this magnificent jaguar. What a fine stuffed head to hang over the fireplace!

I live far, far away from this area but I can't recall ever reading/seeing any mention of an actual wild jaguar population alive in this country. Judging from other remarks, I'm not the only one. If they require a vast territory to survive, their days are numbered. Unless we turn large areas of the S.W. into a wildlife refuge and I don't see that happening. An amazing creature. Too bad it has to be on the same planet with people.

Oh no, our wild deer population is going to go extinct, kill it before they actually start migrating into the US. If they are extinct they are no longer endangered right. The nerve of these animals to try and come back after we anihilate them.

I agree with you Mark..."what a magnificent animal!"

I am troubled, however, with the bulkiness of the collar and can't help but think that it must be just as troubling for the jaguar who as been able to roam freely without constraint.

Have we not yet invented a satellite tracking device in micro-chip form that can be inserted under the skin?

"Godspeed", as well, "Big Fella"...

Sissy wimps: stay under the covers! Jaguars could care less about you! ooooohhhh...lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

To Roger. Conserving an animal for its own sake, with no purpose of gaining anything for our sake, is what makes us human. If it helps the environment, the balance of nature, whatever, that's a plus.

i LOVED Jess's comments about it being our "duty" to exterminate "inconvenient" animals; I know he/she was being sarcastic to the max but how it captures prevailing sentiment among some mindsets..loved it, haw-haw!!!

It is nothing to be proud of to overlay feelings for family onto a wild animal that no more cares about you than your cat cares about the feelings of a mouse it's clawing. That Earth Mother nature religion thing is just that - a religion. Should be controlled in public discourse demanding non believers OBEY just like that maharishi in Oregon with the sixty Rolls Royce's and every follower taking a vow of poverty.

Looks comfortable!

Why don't you loos George Bush near by, may be the Jaguar make sacrifices and eat that kind of animal, I hope he doesn't indigent and get ill...
muy bonito animal no como Jorge Bush

The United States has jaguars roaming in Arizona? Are we sure that this wasn't someones pet at one time?

Oh I'm sure some "brave" hunter will kill him. They call it hunting, but it's just people who like to kill other mammals and see them die. How is it hunting, when all the odds are stacked in favor of people? Of course, Sarah Palin would just shoot it from a helicopter!

Wait just a minute, Mister! That jaguar entered our country illegally? You mean from Mexico? No way, Jose!(Get it, play on words? Since the jag is Mexcian and Jose is...ahhh, nevermind) That jag has no riight being here, breathing our air and eating our rabbits and what not! I'm calling my local MinuteMan Militia right this second, Mister..

i had no idea we had a jaguar population in the US! thats amazing.

RKM- we've had jaguars in the US for thousands of years. They are part of the natural fauna of this country and this particular jaguar is named Macho B. Viva El Tigre!

another reason why the border fence is such a bad idea, i'm sure that this jaguar is an illegal alien.



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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.