Saturday, July 23, 2016

US Jaguars

The only extant American big cat that roars, the jaguar was recorded as an animal of the Americas by Thomas Jefferson in 1799. There are multiple zoological reports of jaguars in California, two as far North as Monterey in 1814 and 1826. The coastal Diegueno of San Diego and Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs had words for jaguar and the cats persisted there until about 1860. The only recorded description of an active jaguar den with breeding adults and kittens in the US was in the Tehachapi mountains of California prior to 1860. In 1843, Rufus Sage, an explorer and experienced observer recorded jaguar present on the headwaters of the North Platte river 30-50 miles North of Long's Peak in Colorado. Cabot's 1544 map has a drawing of jaguar ranging over the Pennsylvania and Ohio valleys. Historically, the jaguar was recorded in Far-Eastern Texas, and the Northern parts of Arizona and New Mexico. However, since the 1940's, the jaguar has been limited to the Southern parts of these states. Although less reliable than zoological records, Native American artefacts with possible jaguar motifs range from the Pacific Northwest to Pennsylvania and Florida.

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