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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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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"There is magic(in the natural world) all around us and the lovely thing about science is that sometimes clues that might actually help with human health issues can come from a common butterfly in our own backyards".................The mating dance and reproduction paradigm of the White Cabbage Butterfly is looking like it will assist U. of Pittsburgh Researchers in "unlocking some of the mysteries of human infertility"................Once again, our great 20th century Naturalist Aldo Leopold's clarion call to humanity rings truer than ever-------“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, what good is it?"................. "If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not".............. "If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?"............... "To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering” ― Aldo Leopold, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold

Biologist looks at butterflies to help solve human infertility

June 27, 2017
University of Cincinnati
When insects skip the light fandango their romantic foreplay often involves some pretty crazy things like hypnotic dance moves and flashy colors. In some species it ends with a complex ejaculate package that does more than fertilize offspring.
In the case of butterflies, the cabbage white Pieris rapae in particular, scientists have found male butterfly ejaculate -- a complex package designed to deliver sperm -- also contains a dose of valuable life-extending nutrients that female butterflies devour like candy.
But receiving this parcel of goodness comes at a cost -- male dominance.
It comes covered in a hard shell that takes three days to digest, during which time the female cannot mate again, says University of Cincinnati biologist Nathan Morehouse.

This is an illustration of two Pieris rapae, better known as cabbage white, butterflies during a mating dance where the male performs sweeps under the female to show off his bright violet wing colors that only the butterflies can see through their sophisticated visual system. The brighter the violet on the male's wings the more his nutrient package is rich with proteins, which are highly desirable by the females.
Credit: Nathan Morehouse
Recent interdisciplinary research led by Morehouse in the Morehouse Research Lab and Nathan Clark, biologist in the Clark Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh looked closer at the complex structures and mechanisms within male butterfly ejaculates and the adaptive responses in the female butterfly reproductive tract.
The researchers hope these study findings will aid in understanding the complex human reproductive cycle and the occasional problems that originate on a molecular level. The authors published their co-evolutionary results in the June journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"As scientists, we already knew that male butterfly ejaculates were three-fold complex structures we call spermatophores -- composed of an outer envelope, an inner matrix of fluids and a bolus of sperm," says UC's Morehouse. "What we didn't know and found through our research is that these three structures are distinctly different in protein composition, are separately stored in the male reproductive tract and are transferred sequentially to the female reproductive tract during mating."
Why such an elaborate process for such a tiny butterfly? Control over female reproduction, Morehouse says.
Because the spermatophore occupies much of the female reproductive tract, she cannot mate again until it is gone. Males make it tough for her by encasing the spermatophore in a hard shell. This delay benefits the male by assuring more of his sperm fertilize her eggs.
Method behind his madness
"In this set of species, and in many insects, they have what's called last male sperm precedence," says Clark. "When another male comes in and mates, his sperm either displaces the first male's sperm or pushes them to the back."
Occasionally, individual male seminal fluids and female enzymes won't work together efficiently, creating an imbalance that can result in low egg fertilization. The researchers say looking at how female butterflies have resolved this obstacle may open the curtain for correcting similar protein-enzyme imbalances in human infertility.
Using high-tech computerized technology such as mass spectrometry and older standard biochemical processes, the researchers determined that the tiny winged macho-men transfer 13 percent of their total body weight through their spermatophore complex during the mating process. But surprisingly, only 2 percent of that is actually sperm.
The rest of the complex goody bag of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and other compounds play all sorts of other important roles in reproduction -- not the least of which is a way for the males to prevent the female from mating again for about three to four days, says Morehouse.
On the flip side, he says females benefit much more by mating often for a number of reasons:
Females like a variety in the genetics of the offspring they produce, as some male genotypes are better than others and this assures her the most successful outcome.
Females crave the delicious protein nutrients males pass along during mating that provide life-extending cell repair -- sort of like going to a butterfly spa -- so the more the better.
These protein nutrients also help females build eggs. We estimate that a female who mates 2-3 times may build 30-40 percent of the eggs she lays from proteins the male transfers during copulation. So male mates are actually funding her reproduction.
"To keep a female from remating, the males have developed a hard outer shell around the precious nutrients that are especially desirable by females to repair their cells and live longer," says Clark. "This hard outer shell gets transferred behind the bolus of sperm and acts as a copulatory plug that prevents the female from being able to mate again with other males -- hopefully insuring his sperm as the cocktail that fertilizes the female's eggs when she lays them."
Wait! Not so fast
"I was fascinated to discover that females are actually very well equipped to quickly digest the nuptial gift from the male," says Camille Meslin-Auclair, post-doctoral biologist who performed most of the analysis working at the University of Pittsburgh. "Even more fascinating are the mechanical and biochemical tools she possesses to dissolve this outer shell."
In an evolutionary twist of fate, these clever little females have developed an extraordinary way to break free from the male's control.
"We discovered a surprising mechanical chewing device inside the female reproductive tract lined with a spectacular array of tooth-like structures that can gnaw through the hard outer shell in a matter of hours," says Morehouse. "Without this mechanism we affectionately call the 'vagina dentata,' it would likely take a week or more to dissolve the hard protective shell with just her enzymes alone."
By looking at reproduction as both a source of cooperation and conflict between the sexes, the researchers are finding clues from this study on a behavioral and molecular level that can be an important link for solving certain unexplained causes of human infertility.
"Reproduction is a very interesting social interface where males and females have a conversation," says Morehouse. "That conversation often begins with courtship, but doesn't stop after mating happens.
"It becomes a negotiation between the molecules of both sexes for the shared goal of producing offspring."
As the researchers understand incompatibilities between butterflies on a molecular level, they plan to track how these creatures evolve and develop certain enzymes and proteins to solve this tug of war.
Morehouse and Clark hope new findings eventually unlock some of the mysteries of human infertility that exist on a similar stage between male seminal fluids and female reproductive enzymes.
"These cabbage white butterflies are one of the most common butterflies in the world and very common in Cincinnati," says Morehouse.
"There is magic all around us and the lovely thing about science is that sometimes clues that might actually help with health issues like human infertility can come from a butterfly in your own backyard."

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of CincinnatiNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Nathan L. Clark et al. Structural complexity and molecular heterogeneity of a butterfly ejaculate reflect a complex history of selectionPNAS, June 2017 DOI:10.1073/pnas.1707680114

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Are deer a part of the Orca Whales diet?..............In British Columbia, a scene played out where a pod of Orcas encountered a deer in the Ocean off the Province..........While the deer avoided predation, anecdotal evidence of venison-eating orcas dates all the way back to 1961 when Canadian fishery officers reportedly observed a predation near Jackson Bay on the central coast"................ "And according to National Marine Mammal Laboratory biologist Marilyn Dahlheim, who has published a book on the killer whales of Southeast Alaska, a pod near Gustavus managed to take down a cow moose and her calf in 2010"

Off British Columbia, a deer meets killer whales in the water

BY SARAH KEARTES DECEMBER 21 2016Orcas are well equipped to handle just about anything they meet in the water, but one pod off the coast of British Columbia recently encountered an oddball: an antlered buck. 
The strange scene was caught on camera by skipper and wildlife photographer Mark Malleson, who – despite years of sailing these waters – had never seen anything like it. Malleson is also a research assistant with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, so the sighting quickly piqued his interest.
After crossing paths with four Bigg's (or "transient") orcas, a group known to feed primarily on marine mammals, Malleson spotted the deer cruising near his boat. 
"I was sort of excited to think I could be one of the first people to photo-document a hunt [of this kind]," he told CBC News"Unfortunately, there was no predation. Well, fortunately for the deer ... but unfortunately for the photo-op."

Image: Mark Mallesonn fact, it's not implausible thM    
In fact, it's not implausible that terrestrial grazers might feature in the diets of these North American predators. British Columbia alone is surrounded by over 100 coastal islands, and deer occasionally swim between them in search of greener pastures or breeding opportunities

"The whales would have passed by him within a hundred metres," Malleson told Earth Touch. "I suspect they did know he was there but chose to continue on."  
On land, deer can clock speeds verging on 40 mph (64 kph), but that number drops to just 13mph (20 kph) in the water – that's certainly slower than seals, dolphins or porpoises, which are more typical mammalian prey for orcas.
While individual orca groups have unique dietary preferences, 11 million years on this planet have shaped them into skilled opportunistic hunters as well. It's not entirely surprising that a mammal-eating group would take advantage of the odd off-the-menu cut. Birds and otters have also been found in Bigg's killer whale stomachs (but despite their far-ranging appetites, it's worth noting that not a single attack by wild orcas on humans exists on record).
Anecdotal evidence of venison-eating orcas dates all the way back to 1961, when Canadian fishery officers reportedly observed a predation near Jackson Bay on the central coast. And according to National Marine Mammal Laboratory biologist Marilyn Dahlheim, who has published a book on the killer whales of Southeast Alaska, a pod near Gustavus managed to take down a cow moose and her calf in 2010. On her blog, The Marine Detective, humpback researcher Jackie Hildering points out that divers found a submerged deer carcass off Vancouver Island some two years later. Lacerations on that animal's body looked consistent with an orca bite, but it's impossible to say with certainty what killed it.
"It seemed so intact, fated and out of place," Gary Marcuse, one of the divers, told Earth Touch via email. "I had to touch the hide to believe it. A large jaw had bitten through the soft viscera and even removed a couple of ribs on the forward edge of the bite. The image of a swimming deer finding itself in the jaws of an orca came to us immediately."
Gary Marcuse examines the carcass. Images: Rob 
Wolves and other terrestrial predators could be to blame, but it's also possible that this deer simply died of natural causes close to shore, and washed out to sea.
"It was a very small island," notes Marcuse. So the odds of a deer and a wolf [together there] seems remote, but possible."
As for Malleson's buck, after the whales had moved along, the skipper ushered the lone male to shore with his Zodiac boat. "It seemed as though he was disoriented as he was getting well offshore," he said. "I felt the deer wouldn't have made it back without drowning, so I trolled along 50 to 100 metres behind him until he reached the shore and climbed out." 

Monday, June 26, 2017

There is no way to "spin" positive the fact that industrializing open space reduces wildlife populations and biological diversity................Put up a solar or wind farm on previously undeveloped land and animals will suffer..............Strip mines, oil fields, fracking, wind and solar "farms", nuclear plants, tar sands and traditional or mountaintop coal mining all badly degrade the land and the creatures that once called it home................Our dilemma is that there is no such thing as green energy and a percentage of our landscape is going to have to continue getting scarred if we are to power ourselves up everyday in the manner that we have come to expect...............The article below depicts the 40% decline in the Mule Deer population in southwest Wyoming(Pinedale Anticline region) over the past 17 years due to deer avoiding the Oil Wells that dot the region............."Unlike town deer – those that eat roses and strip young trees of bark and leaves – migratory herds haven’t grown accustomed to human influences"......... "But the migratory herds, with tens of thousands of individuals, are also the ones supporting Wyoming’s iconic mule deer populations"................. "During harsh winters, deer will stray closer to wells, but at the same time they’re losing numbers because of deep snow and frigid cold"........................ "Other years, they either congregate and degrade small patches of good habitat, or live on the fringes where food is scarce".......... . "The study shows there’s trade-offs"............. “When we lose critical habitat and when we lose extra acres of habitat because of avoidance, we should expect fewer animals"

Deer numbers drop almost 40 percent as animals avoid oil and gas wells, new study shows

 Christine Peterson

Sunday, June 25, 2017

With a critical wildlife over/underpass being contemplated for Los Angeles(101 freeway at Chesbrough Canyon), good to see the Wall Street Journal reporting on some of the innovative and working-well "Passes" across the USA...............The question always is does the $$ investment actually pay off in terms of wildlife using such highway crossing opportunities..............It usually takes some 5 years from completion for the crossings to really start moving bears, deer, wolves and bobcats with regularity.............As an example, the Highway 93 Evaro crossing showed 23,000 usages in 2015, double what it saw in 2010........."Crossings, especially when combined with miles-long fences that steer animals toward them can substantially reduce collisions".......................“The old model of conservation—acquire large islands of habitat for wildlife and check the box, done—well, we know that alone doesn’t work anymore",,,,,,,,, “We have to look at large landscape corridors for all wildlife"........."The challenge in building crossings isn’t simply where to put them but also in their design----to encourage animals to use them"................ "The goal is to fold them seamlessly into the natural landscape"............. "For people , the aim is no longer just utilitarian—an afterthought of road construction—but something more aesthetically pleasing"

Wildlife Crossings Get a Whole New Look

New designs do more than enhance safety for both creatures and people. They also expand habitats and create striking landmarks

Why did the black bear cross the road?
Actually, it didn’t—because it didn’t have to.
A motion-activated camera shows that the bear in question took an overpass—essentially a large, camouflaged arch—that gracefully carves over U.S. Highway 93 in Montana, just north of the town of Evaro at the entrance to the Flathead Indian Reservation. Thirty-eight more of these man-made wildlife crossings allow all manner of critters to take a safe route over or under the stretch of highway between Evaro and Polson, 56 miles to the north.
But do the crossings, the last of which was completed in 2010, work? Cameras in 29 of the structures show almost 23,000 crossings in 2015, about double the number from five years earlier, according to data compiled by the Western Transportation Institute, a research arm of Montana State University in Bozeman. Even more intriguing, scientists found through scenes caught on camera that some animals—deer and bear among them—were teaching their young to use the crossings
Migrating pronghorns make use of the Trappers Point Wildlife Crossing over U.S. Highway 191 in Wyoming.
Migrating pronghorns make use of the Trappers Point Wildlife Crossing over U.S. Highway 191 in Wyoming. PHOTO: JEFF BURRELL/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY

As significant, a November 2016 Western Transportation Institute report based on five years of animal-vehicle collision data showed that roadkill numbers for large wild mammals fell 80% along sections of the highway served by three of the more prominent crossings, while such deaths increased along sections with no structures.

Crossings, especially when combined with miles-long fences that steer animals toward them, “can substantially reduce collisions,” says Marcel Huijser, a Western Transportation Institute road ecologist and the report’s lead author.
Something of a novelty in the U.S. a decade ago, wildlife crossings are proliferating all across North America and are increasingly being built into the design of new highway projects where vehicle and wildlife crashes are a major threat. Last fall, Washington state’s Transportation Department began putting up two sweeping, 66-foot wide arches that will form the backbone of the Keechelus Lake Wildlife Overcrossing, one of more than 30 crossings that will be built into a multiyear makeover of a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass.
Safety—for both animals and humans—is the main driver in crossings growth in the U.S. Collisions between wildlife and vehicles have risen 50% in the past 15 years, and such accidents now cost Americans $8 billion annually in damages and cleanup costs, according to research by ARC Solutions, a coalition of conservationists, ecologists, engineers and planners that advocates for crossing construction.
One of many animal crossings over U.S. Highway 93 north of Missoula, Mont. A report found evidence they reduce animal-vehicle collisions significantly. PHOTO: MARCEL HUIJSER/LIGHTHAWK
One of many animal crossings over U.S. Highway 93 north of Missoula, Mont. A  report found evidence they reduce animal-vehicle collisions significantly.
About 200 people a year die and 29,000 are hurt in wildlife-vehicle crashes in the U.S., according to data published by Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation group. For animals, it’s a slaughterhouse: There may be as many as 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions a year—and the animals almost always die, the group says.
“We shouldn’t be acclimating to roadkill,” says Nina-Marie Lister, a landscape ecologist and ARC adviser who teaches at Ryerson University in Toronto. Crossings, she says, are a solution to a “problem that we all own but no single government agency is in charge of solving.”
Awareness of both roadkill data and the effectiveness of crossings is growing. “It’s a values shift, like seat belts. Nobody had them when I was growing up but these days everyone wears them,” says Jeremy Guth, an ARC founder and a trustee of the Woodcock Foundation, which works on land-conservation issues.
Also driving growth in crossings is conservation, or the notion of using them to reconnect wildlife habitats fragmented by roads and bridges. The Trappers Point Wildlife Crossing over U.S. 191 near Pinedale, Wyo., completed in 2012, diverts thousands of mule deer and pronghorns over the highway as they seek passage to the spring and fall pastures they’ve used for millennia.

The winning design in an ARC competition for a crossing over West Vail Pass on Interstate 70 in Colorado, about 90 miles west of Denver. PHOTO: HNTB & MICHAEL VAN VALKENBURG ASSOCIATES COURTESY ARC SOLUTIONS
The winning design in an ARC competition for a crossing over West Vail Pass on Interstate 70 in Colorado, about 90 miles west of Denver.
In Southern California, environmentalists are seeking to help raise an estimated $55 million to build the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing over Highway 101 in Agoura Hills, 35 miles west of Los Angeles. The project’s main goal is to provide safe passage over the 10-lane freeway for mountain lions in the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains whose population has dwindled because of suburban sprawl and habitat fragmentation. Among them is the solitary young lion known as P-22 that has settled in Los Angeles’s 4,310-acre Griffith Park after somehow safely crossing both the 405 and 101 freeways from mountains to the east.
“We’re confident we’re going to raise every bit of the money we need because P-22 is such a great story,” says Beth Pratt, California director of the National Wildlife Federation, which is seeking to raise $10 million this year to help fund the engineering and design portion of the project. “We have a lonely bachelor lion living in L.A., cut off from a potential mate. The crossing is his chance for happiness.”
Mr. Guth, meanwhile, says he was recently invited to St. Mary Parish, La., to consult with wildlife officials seeking to save an indigenous population of black bears that are essentially stranded in the Atchafalaya Basin, America’s largest contiguous hardwood swamp. Cut off from upland populations by highways, the bears have begun to inbreed, and their only hope of long-term survival may be crossings that connect them to upland populations, he says.
“The old model of conservation—acquire large islands of habitat for wildlife and check the box, done—well, we know that alone doesn’t work anymore,” says Ms. Pratt. “We have to look at large landscape corridors for all wildlife.”
The challenge in building crossings isn’t simply where to put them but also in their design. To encourage animals to use them, Ms. Lister says, the goal is to fold them seamlessly into the natural landscape.
For people , the aim is no longer just utilitarian—an afterthought of road construction—but something more aesthetically pleasing.
The I-90 Keechelus Lake crossing is the product of an intensive collaboration of wildlife scientists at Central Washington University and engineers, architects and planners from the Washington state Transportation Department and the U.S. Forest Service. The idea was to build a structure that animals more or less see as a path through the woods, yet one whose sweeping arches will become something of a landmark for the 27,000 motorists who travel that section of the freeway every day.
“There’s no reason,” says Ms. Lister, “that they can’t be pretty, even iconic.”

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Our largest wild "felid", the Jaguar, is proving how important it is to keep "all the cogs and wheels" in our natural systems...............The Jaguar known as "El Jefe" that has beeen documented roaming the Santa Rita Mountains of southeastern Arizona has been killing black bears as well as deer and other creatures, a testimony to it's ability to be the ultimate top down trophic carnivore in our southwest if encouraged and permitted to once again reclaim its historical western USA habitat.............With just 5 jaguars documented in the USA over the past 37 years, it will take the ultimate political will of our nation to actually rewild and translocate additional "Jags" to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas across to Florida and up into the Carolinas---all once harboring the magnificent Jaguar at the time European colonization, circa AD1500..........."FOSSIL RECORDS INDICATE JAGUARS IN FLORIDA 7,000 TO 8,000 YEARS AGO"..............."THE SPECIES IN HISTORIC TIMES MAY HAVE RANGED AS FAR EAST AS THE APPALACHIANS"............... "WILDLIFE HISTORIAN PETER MATTHIESSEN CITED REPORTS OF “TYGERS” IN THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTH CAROLINA IN 1737 AND EVEN ON THE ATLANTIC COAST OF THE CAROLINAS IN 1711"............. "BUT THESE MAY HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE LAST FOUND IN THE EASTERN UNITED STATES (ALTHOUGH NATURALIST AND ARTIST JOHN JAMES AUDUBON CITED REPORTS, WHICH HE AND SUBSEQUENTLY MATTHIESSEN BOTH DEEMED UNLIKELY, OF JAGUARS EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY)"................. "FURTHER WEST, RECORDS OF JAGUARS ARE MORE COMPLETE AND THE SPECIES PERSISTED LONGER"........ "IN THE 1840S SEVERAL JAGUARS WERE SHOT IN THE VICINITY OF SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, ACCORDING TO A GERMAN NATURALIST, DR. FERDINAND ROEMER, WHO REPORTED PELTS FOR SALE FOR $18 APIECE AND OBSERVED COMANCHES WEARING JAGUAR SKIN QUIVERS"................."MAMMALOGIST DR. C. HART MERRIAM, THE FOUNDER AND CHIEF FOR ITS FIRST 25 YEARS OF THE U.S. BUREAU OF BIOLOGICAL SURVEY, CITED SEVERAL NINETEENTH CENTURY TRAVELOGUES THAT PLACE JAGUARS IN CALIFORNIA AS FAR NORTH AS THE REDWOOD COUNTRY OF MONTEREY BAY"............. "ONE SERIES OF ENCOUNTERS, WHICH MERRIAM JUDGED “TO ADMIT OF NO QUESTION AS TO THE IDENTITY OF THE ANIMAL,” TOOK PLACE IN THE TEHACHAPI MOUNTAINS AT THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE MOJAVE DESERT, AND INVOLVED AN ADULT “SPOTTED ANIMAL, RESEMBLING A TIGER IN SIZE AND FORM, WITH TWO YOUNG ONES"............. "MERRIAM INTERVIEWED “AN OLD CHIEF OF THE KAMMEI TRIBE” WHO REPORTED THAT THE “TIGER,- WHILE RARE, WAS WELL KNOWN” IN THECUYAMACA MOUNTAINS OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY"


America's celebrity jaguar 'El Jefe' is a bear hunter

America's celebrity jaguar 'El Jefe' is a bear hunter

Evidence of Jaguar hairs in Black Bear kill


Overview of the Jaguar in the United States. 
The jaguar, Panthera onca, is the largest cat native to the New World, and is the third 
largest cat globally. Based on fossil remains, it is believed that the species developed from an evolutionary progenitor in North America, Panthera onca augusta. This larger predecessor feline began to colonize South America approximately 600,000 years ago, but then shrunk in size and lost its northernmost range - which originally extended to Washington, Nebraska and 
Maryland . 

Present day range map of the Jaguar

sometime in the last 15,000 to 100,000 years. A possible instigator of its decline 
was competition with the larger lion, Panthera atrox (that later became extinct). Subsequent 
competition with the gray wolf, Canis lupus, may have prevented recolonization of former 

Fossil records indicate jaguars in Florida 7,000 to 8,000 years ago.The species in 
historic times may have ranged as far east as the Appalachians, according to wildlife historian Peter Matthiessen, who cited reports of “Tygers” in the mountains of North Carolina in 1737 and even on the Atlantic coast of the Carolinas in 1711. But these may have been some of the last found in the eastern United States (although naturalist and artist John James Audubon cited reports, which he and subsequently Matthiessen both deemed unlikely, of jaguars east of the 
Mississippi River in the nineteenth century).
Further west, records of jaguars are more complete and the species persisted longer. In 
the 1840s several jaguars were shot in the vicinity of San Antonio, Texas, according to a German naturalist, Dr. Ferdinand Roemer, who reported pelts for sale for $18 apiece and observed Comanches wearing jaguar skin quivers. Audubon wrote of jaguar skins used for holster coverings, saddle cloths and caparisons on the prairies of Texas, in his 1854 work Quadrapeds of North America.

 Five years later, Spencer F. Baird, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian 
Institution, who accompanied Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Emory’s survey of the U.S.-Mexico boundary, recounted the “vast number of pumas and jaguars” subsisting on “the numerous herds of wild cattle, mustang, mules, and horses, besides plentiful other game in the fertile valleys and 
table lands of the Lower Rio Bravo, Nueces, and other Texan rivers.”

 Baird examined two jaguar remains from Texas, one from the Bravos River and one from the Rio Grande River at the mouth of Las Moras Creek - the latter of which he mentioned because it was “The largest jaguar 
skin which I saw.” It may have been the introduction of the horse and its use in hunting that doomed the jaguar in North America’s grasslands. Though a “large tiger” was reported in 1853 as far north 
as the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle west of Oklahoma, the last jaguar on the Great Plains in Texas was killed in 1910, near the Llano River in Kimble County.16 On the Gulf Coast of Texas the last two jaguars were killed in 1946 and 1948.

 Audubon also reported jaguars on the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, which 
originates in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. Explorer Rufus B. Sage reported that in December 1843 at the headwaters of the Platte River of Colorado “One of our party encountered a strange looking animal . . . of the leopard family.” He added, “they are not infrequently met in some parts of the Cumanche country, and their skins furnish to the natives a favorite material for arrow-cases.”
 Mammalogist Dr. C. Hart Merriam, the founder and chief for its first 25 years of the U.S. 
Bureau of Biological Survey (which in 1940 became the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), cited several nineteenth century travelogues that place jaguars in California as far north as the redwood country of Monterey Bay. One series of encounters, which Merriam judged “to admit of no question as to the identity of the animal,” took place in the Tehachapi Mountains at the western edge of the Mojave Desert, and involved an adult “spotted animal, resembling a tiger in size and form, with two young ones.”20 Merriam interviewed “An old chief of the Kammei tribe” who reported that the “Tiger,- while rare, was well known” in theCuyamaca Mountains of San Diego County.

In Arizona and New Mexico extant jaguar reports are more numerous. Yet jaguars’ very persistence and reoccurrence in these states throughout the 20th century raises the question of why the species was not even more ubiquitous than is suggested by the dozens of records that remain. Matthiessen suggested that bounties offered by early Spanish authorities significantly 
reduced jaguar numbers.
By the time the United States controlled the Southwest in the 1840s, and American 
explorers, ranchers and settlers began encountering and recording jaguars, the numbers may have reflected the efficacy of the Spanish bounty system. Jaguars would have been easier to spot in 
the relatively open habitats of northern Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona than in the rainforests of southern Mexico, and thus may have been disproportionately killed in northern habitats. Perhaps more importantly, open habitat was subject to heavier domestic livestock grazing, precipitating more frequent jaguar predation on stock and the concomitant efforts to kill jaguars. 
 (High jaguar mortality in northern Mexico may have been offset by immigration from the more robust population in the proximate rainforests further south.) 

In 1915, Congress passed a spending bill allocating $125,000 for use “on the National 
forests and the public domain in destroying wolves, coyotes, and other animals injurious to agriculture and animal husbandry” - the first of an annual appropriation that has continued to the present day for what was first termed eradication and in 1928 officially became “control.Bureau of Biological Survey hunter Lee Parker killed the federal government’s first jaguar, in 
December 1918 on or in the vicinity of Mt. Wrightson in the Santa Rita Mountains of Arizona.

 By 1930, the Survey’s Arizona district had an official policy that “All Lobo wolves and jaguars will be taken as fast as they enter this State from Mexico and New Mexico, as one hundred per cent of them live on livestock and game.The Arizona Game and Fish Department is aware of 84 known jaguar specimens, reported kills and credible other records from 1884 through 1996.26 The department records 

jaguar occurrences between 1901 and 2002, of which it classifies 30 as Class 1 or 2 sightings. 
(Class 1 sightings are those accompanied by verifiable physical evidence; Class 2 sightings are those by an experienced and reliable observer. In contrast, Class 3 sightings are those without physical evidence made by persons considered less reliable.27) In Arizona, jaguars have been recorded from as far north as the Grand Canyon, south through the Mogollon Rim, and throughout the Sky Islands – among other regions.