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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Del Weniger was a Professor of biology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio Texas and was a preeminent researcher of Texas wildlife for over 50 years................Del spent many hours investigating and analyzing whatever was written down by the early explorers and pioneers of Texas............ His family and friends remember the great pleasure he took in finding new journals or letters of early explorers or settlers who recorded what they saw as they traveled Texas............ His deep sense of stewardship of the earth and its gifts was evident in his teaching, his lectures, his volunteer work, and his ecological consultation for federal and local agencies.............Del's THE EXPLORERS' TEXAS; VOL.2; THE ANIMALS THEY FOUND is one of the classic compilation books detailing first hand accounts of the explorers, soldiers and early naturalists who pushed into Texas beginning in the 15th Century-----You will love his assesment of the journal accounts below of "El Tigre", the Jaguar and how Americas biggest Cat roamed the Texas landscape well into the mid and later 19th century-------Indeed, critical habitat should be created in Texas as well as what has been proposed for safe-guarded lands in New Mexico and Ariizona for the beautiful and mighty Jaguar


While not common to European settlers who explored and settled  what we now call Texas, the Jaguar(up to 250 pounds) did in fact call the Lone-Star State home

With short ears and massive head, the shape of the Jaguar most reminded early explorers of the Old World Tiger and/or Leopard................In fact, "El Tigre"(Jaguar) fel in betweenthese two felines in size and coloration..........

The original word for the Jaguar was the Indian word Jaguara(carnivore that overcomes its prey at a single bound)...........

The Talon brothers in 1685 noted Lindhboth "lions(Pumas) and tigers(Jaguars) in their diary accounts of the region............

Moore said the tiger(Jaguar) is spotted whereas the the Catamount(Puma) was not

Lindheimer made the distinction between Jaguar and Puma clear when he wrote from Mexico that lions(without mane) and tigers are not infrequen here.

Bracht calle the jaguar the beautifully spotted American tiger,,,, andn the American lion he called cougar, panther or puma

In 1857, Spencer Baird in in RAILROAD REPORTS listed the American Panther and The Jaguar or American tiger as two separate species

By 1847 Bracht wrote , "unfortunately I have seen only 3 Jaguar skins, and high prices were paid for these"

However Audubon in 1854 wrote: The Jaguar is known to exist in Texas and in a few localities is not very rare, although it is far from being abundant throughout the state"

Audubon went on to say: " General Houston told us that the Jaguar abudnant on the headwaters of some of the easterntributaries of the Rio Grande, the Guadaloupe, etc"

Indeed, the Jaguar appeared in the mid 19th century to solidly occupy the western hill country

Audubon went further: "Towards the west and southwest, the Jaguar extends to the mountainous country beyond El Paso"(into what we now call New Mexico)

Baird, who was the official zoologist for the 1857 Railroad Surveys sadi Jaguars were found in North Texas as far north as the Red River

In East Texas, Almonte listed Jaguars in 1835 on the lower Brazos......General Houston had found the Jaguar east of the San Jacinto River in Louisiana

Bailey noted that the Jaguar once was common over southern Texas and occcupying the whole of the eastern part of Louisiana

An anonymous writer in 1846 stated: "The real beasts of prey, the Jaguar and the local wolf, small and fearful, do damage to the herds at times, but they fear man"

A search back through all of my early Texas sources shows not one unprovoked attack by a Jaguar on a man

Nelson and Goldman's exhaustive and technical work on Jaguars states that "Jaguars are very destructive to large animals but they are completely lacking in the fercious aggresiveness sometimes shown by old world leopards toward man

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