73°F
weather icon Clear

Rare jaguar seen in southern Arizona feared dead

TUCSON, Ariz. — A nonprofit devoted to protecting jaguars believes one that was spotted in Arizona mountains in recent years has since died.

Tucson-based Northern Jaguar Project obtained a photo of a jaguar pelt and provided it to the Arizona Daily Star, the newspaper reported .

“We’re very upset that somebody killed that jaguar. I just can’t believe that. It’s really sad for us,” Carmina Gutierrez Gonzalez said, a biologist with the group.

Several Arizona Game and Fish Department officials, including assistant wildlife management director Jim deVos, believe it is the same animal based on spot patterns.

A male jaguar was captured by an official trail camera in March 2017 roaming the Huachucas, southeast of Tucson and near the U.S.-Mexico border. The same jaguar was also photographed on Dec. 1, 2016 by a camera owned by University of Arizona, which was conducting a study.

The jaguar is on the endangered species list in U.S. and Mexico. Killing them is illegal under the Endangered Species Act.

Jeff Humphrey, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman based in Phoenix, said the agency “may look into the matter some more” if there is more information that can be corroborated.

Officials with the Northern Jaguar Project, which runs a reserve in Sonora, Mexico, believe the photo was shot in Mexico. But they don’t know when or by whom. They also declined to say where they got the photo, saying disclosing the source could jeopardize their ability to work with ranchers.

Two other male jaguars have been spotted within the last few years in Arizona. Conservationists were hopeful that it was a sign the giant cat’s presence was making a comeback in the U.S.

The first jaguar to be recently seen, dubbed by wildlife conservations as “El Jefe” — Spanish for “the boss” — popped up in the Whetstone Mountains in southeastern Arizona in 2011 when he was about 3 years old. He was seen again in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson around September 2015.

Around seven jaguars have been documented in southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico since 1996.

Arizona, New Mexico and other parts of the southwestern U.S. were home to jaguars before habitat loss and predator control programs aimed at protecting livestock eliminated them over the last 150 years.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Teigen, Legend reveal loss of new baby

According to a tweet from singer John Legend’s account, he and wife Chrissy Teigen lost their new son, Jack, shortly after birth.

 
28K at Disney theme parks headed for layoffs

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen.

Breonna Taylor case grand jury records to be made public

Kentucky’s attorney general has acknowledged that he never asked the grand jury to consider homicide charges against police in the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Fueled by dry winds, fire rages in wine country — PHOTOS

Giant blazes taking down buildings, residents fleeing their homes, exhausted firefighters working around the clock: These are some of the scenes from the wildfire that exploded in the Northern California wine country.

 
Coronavirus deaths pass 1M mark worldwide

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

3 killed in Northern California wildfire; thousands flee

Northern Californias wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to evacuated. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.

Tax revelation could tarnish image that fueled Trump’s rise

The New York Times on Sunday revealed that President Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and in 2017, his first year in office.

Toni Morrison, ‘Captain Underpants’ books among most ‘challenged’

Toni Morrison is on the list. So are John Green and Harper Lee. And John Steinbeck and Margaret Atwood. All wrote books that were among the 100 most subjected to censorship efforts over the past decade, as compiled by the American Library Association.

Power shut off for thousands in California to avert fires

The nation’s largest electric utility on Sunday temporarily cut power to thousands of Northern California residents to prevent wildfires while a new fire in Napa County forced people from their homes amid hot, windy weather.

NY Times: Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017

President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times.