Where Do Jaguars Live?

The jaguar is a big cat and the only one with its native range in the Americas.
The jaguar is a big cat and the only one with its native range in the Americas.

The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the only extant species of Panthera inhabiting the Americas. The jaguar is a large cat, the third largest of the big cat species of the world after the tiger and the lion. Though the cat closely resembles the leopard, it is larger in size and sturdily built. The jaguar is also similar in behavior to the tigers. It is solitary by nature and an opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator. Jaguars also love swimming and prefers to live in dense forests near water bodies. The jaguar, an apex predator, plays an important role in maintaining ecological stability.

6. In Which Parts Of The World Do Jaguars Live? -

The historic range of these efficient predators extended through much of the southern half of the US and further south to cover most of South America. In the US, during the early 20th century, the range of the jaguars extended as far north as the Grand Canyon, and the westernmost limit of the range extended to Southern California. Ice Age fossil evidence indicating the presence of jaguars have been discovered in Missouri, US.

The present range of the jaguars extend from Mexico in North America through Central America, and into the Brazilian Amazon and other parts of South America

5. Countries Where Jaguars Live -

Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Belize, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Suriname, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, and United States (US). Extinct in El Salvador and Uruguay.

4. Some Protected Areas Where Jaguars Live -

Jaguars can be sighted in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (400 km²), Belize, Peru’s Manú National Park (15,000 km²), Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Mexico (5,300 km²), and Brazil’s Xingu National Park (26,000 km²). The big cat is also found in numerous other protected areas throughout its range.

3. Do Jaguars Live In The United States? -

Though the US have been included in the list of countries where jaguars live, the range of these predators in this country is highly restricted. Occasional sightings of jaguars are reported in the southwest of the US, especially in the states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The animal is protected in the country by law under the Endangered Species Act. Jaguars have been documented in southern Arizona from 2004 onwards by officials in the state. Two to three tigers were sighted in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge by researchers between 2004 and 2007 of which one, named as ‘Macho B’ had also been photographed earlier in 1996. Macho B was also spotted in an area southwest of Tucson in 2009. The same year, he was caught and euthanized as he was suffering badly from a kidney disease.

2. Where Do The Jaguars Live In Their Range? -

The jaguars are found in the dense rainforests of the Central and South America as well as dry grassland terrains and seasonally flooded wetlands. However, they prefer dense forests over the other types of habitats. These animals are found in dry deciduous, tropical, and sub-tropical forests. The jaguars prefer living near swamps, rivers, and dense rainforests with dense tree cover that facilitates them to stalk prey. They also live at elevations of about 3,800 m. However, these big cats tend to avoid montane forests and are absent in the Andes and the high plateau of central Mexico. Jaguars are also spotted in scrublands and deserts in their range.

1. Threats To The Jaguar’s Survival -

The jaguar’s numbers are constantly declining, and it is currently a near threatened species. Loss of habitat, fragmentation of habitat, illegal international trade of the jaguar’s body parts, persecution by humans, involvement in human-animal conflicts, etc., are some of the reasons resulting in the disappearance of this species of big cat.


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