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Rare Jaguar Seen In Arizona Is Believed To Have Died
A rare jaguar spotted in Southern Arizona is believed to have died. Only seven of these animals have been seen in the U.S. in the past 25 years.
The jaguar was last seen alive in 2017 on a trail camera in the Huachuca Mountains. Now, a nonprofit dedicated to the species has obtained a photo of a jaguar pelt – and Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say the markings are identical.
Jaguars are protected under the Endangered Species Act, said spokesman Mark Hart.
“There’s virtually nothing you can do, short of threat to life and limb, as it relates to a jaguar,” he said. “You can’t follow it, harass it, kill it, injure it in any way, or you’ve violated that law.”
Jaguars were common in Southern Arizona until the early 20th century, Hart said. That’s when settlers all but eradicated them in the state. This jaguar likely came into Arizona from Mexico. The species can be found in Central and Southern America, as well.
“The biologic diversity of Southeastern Arizona is something we all are proud of at Arizona Game and Fish, and in this region,” Hart said, “and so for that individual to be taken out of the mix is tragic.”