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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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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.

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