Unusual Jaguar Sightings Caught On Camera In Arizona

By Sherah Janay Ndjongo

September 28, 2023

Jaguar resting
Photo: Getty Images

In March and May of this year, the presence of a wild jaguar was documented in the Huachuca Mountains of southern Arizona, with federal trail cameras capturing photographic evidence of this elusive feline.

While these photographs have not yet been made public, Russ McSpadden, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, had the opportunity to view them. He noted that the images, unfortunately, do not offer enough detail to conclusively identify the jaguar.

Over the past two decades, photographic evidence has confirmed the existence of seven jaguars in the region, with three sightings in southern Arizona since 2015. This mystery jaguar marks the fourth such sighting. The species had nearly vanished from this area due to habitat loss and historical government predator control programs. However, efforts to protect their habitat have shown signs of success.

The recent removal of double-stacked shipping containers on the southern slopes of the Huachuca Mountains, near the border, has reopened an important jaguar migration corridor. This has raised the possibility that the spotted jaguar may be a new arrival from Mexico or possibly Sombra, a jaguar that has resided in Arizona since 2016.

Regardless of its identity, the sighting is cause for celebration among conservationists, as it underscores the progress made in preserving the northern jaguar population and their return to the United States.

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