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Jaguar - Cat Under Threat

Updated on January 31, 2015
VladimirCat profile image

Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Deep in the eyes of a jaguar
Deep in the eyes of a jaguar | Source

The terrible future of the Jaguar

If you run into a jaguar, quickly check your GPS to make sure you're in the Americas. Otherwise, you've just seen a leopard!

Falling across a jaguar in your travels is not so easy to do these days, there are hardly any of them still around. As the forests disappear, the remaining jaguars are forced to seek new homes, to keep moving in search of their lost jungles and forests

Jaguars (I hate to tell you this) are also the target of hunters because their skins are sold to make clothes, accessories and awful things for awful people. Like most of the other big cats, the handsome Jaguar is close to extinction in the wild due to habitat destruction and the ghastly poaching.

A Jaguar is not a Leopard

The Jaguar (Panthera Onca) is the least known of the big cats. They're so rare in the wild, that most of what we know has been learned by studying them in captivity.

Although they look like leopards, they are distinctly different cats.

The jaguar faces extinction
The jaguar faces extinction
Jaguars easily climb trees
Jaguars easily climb trees

Jaguars can easily climb trees

The Jaguar has a more muscular, more compact body, with shorter, stockier legs, and the spots on the Jaguars' coat are larger, and generally, fewer. One common similarity between Jaguars and leopards is melanism - the condition that makes the coat appear to be black although, the spots are still present and can be seen in certain light conditions.

Like leopards, Jaguars can easily climb trees.

This Coat would look better on its original owner

The Jaguar is a threatened species

This picture tells why

Does this woman want to be an Aztec Jaguar Warrior?

The coat would look much better on the original hapless cat, hunted, slaughtered and skinned for the perverse pleasure of people.

The decline of this lovely cat isn't just due to people who like to drape the skins of dead animals around themselves, but because of the destruction of natural habitat. For example, in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere reserve in northern Yucatyan state, only 20 percent of the original forest cover remains, the rest having been cleared for cattle-herding.

I would like to tell you where the beef from those cattle ends up, but I have no intentions of giving publicity to a fast food chain.

The organisation PETA estimates that jaguars will have vanished within 20 -30 years.

Aztec Jaguar Warriors

The fearsome Jaguar Knights

With such a powerful and beautiful cat living in their jungles, it's no wonder that an elite group of Aztec warriors were known as "Jaguar Knights".

The Aztecs were constantly fighting with their neighbours, either to increase the size of their empire or to take prisoners who would probably be sacrificed to the gods at their temples. The most feared and famous of all Aztec soldiers were the eagle and the jaguar warriors.

Jaguar Warriors were usually from the nobility but Aztec soldiers who fought well and bravely could become one and wear the distinctive uniform - a whole jaguar skin complete with head.

As for the Mayans, they believed that the Jaguar was a messenger between the living and the dead. Mayan kings often incorporated the Jaguar into their name to show their superiority over the rest of the people.

The Jaguar has powerful teeth

Look at those teeth! Incredibly powerful in comparison to other big cats and this dental equipment gives a jaguar an abnormally powerful bite.

His teeth are so strong that he often bites through the skull to inflict a killer blow to the brain.

With fangs like this, a jaguar can take on armoured reptiles such as caiman and crocodiles. Armadillos are on the menu too. That's power indeed.

Have a look at the video of a jaguar chomping on a young crocodile.

His list of prey ranges from white-nosed coati to larger mammals, and a jaguar plays an essential part in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

A Sanctuary in Belize

In 1984, the Cockscomb Basin was declared a National Forest Reserve, with a no hunting provision for the protection of the jaguar. This made Belize the first country in the world to protect jaguars.

Jaguar: One Man's Struggle To Establish The World's First Jaguar Preserve tells an utterly fantastic tale -- sometimes terrifying -- of how that came to be. It portrays a world most safely enjoyed from the comfort of an armchair; a very personal story that is a combination of natural history and hair-raising adventure in the Stanley Livingston tradition.

The World's First Jaguar Preserve

An interesting mix of memoir and natural history, with eye-opening descriptions of life in a remote Mayan village in the jungles of Belize.

In this world exists the jaguar, a powerful cat who is rarely seen and is not a man-eater, yet is hunted almost to extinction for its exquisite spotted fur and because, quite simply, people fear him.

A Jaguar Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Get your own little Jaguar

This cuddly plush jaguar comes with a unique code for the online Webkinz World.

In Webkinz World, you care for your virtual pet, answer trivia and play the best kids games on the internet. The jaguar has his own unique special item and special food and you can choose the gender too.

These Webkinz pets are amazing things!

Winner of the 2006 iParenting Media Award and 2007 Toy of the Year (TOTY) award.

Share your opinion

How can we help save the Jaguar from extinction?

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© 2009 Vladimir

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    • profile image

      CatFan 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for the interesting article and photos.

      Absolutely, how beautiful can a cat be?!

      Alan Rabinowitz has done some great work in documenting facts about Jaguars and raising their profile.

      Because they're so rare and shy, there's not much of them on film, which is a pity.

      (the exception being "Untamed Amazonia" which shows plenty of awesome scenes of jaguars in the wild in Brazil, including the 'black' panther).

      I just can't understand how the Brazilian government doesn't do more to stop the encroachment of jaguar habitat.

      Perhaps 'eco tourism' can provide jaguars with a life line?

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      My local zoo has a couple of Jaguars and the cats never fail to please when I go. It really saddens me to think that Jaguars could no longer exist in the wild within my lifetime. Truly a lost for everyone and our future generations.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Anyone wearing a fur coat made from any animal should hang there head in shame , there are plenty fake alternatives . To me a person with a real animal fur coat doesn't say they are rich or have money , it says they participated in encouraging animal slaughter and believe me i will continue to carelessly let my cigarette burn your fur coats in a que or wherever to ruin it you thoughtless people who buy animal fur stop it and stop the slaughter .

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Just returning to add a little angel footprint and to let you know that this lens has been added to my animal alphabet lens.

    • profile image

      SHorsburgh 6 years ago

      So sad to think these beautiful cats could be extinct in the not too distant future. A very informative lens thank you Vlad.

    • EcoGecko LM profile image

      EcoGecko LM 6 years ago

      Great lens although I am in no way against hunting for food, if your not going to use the meat of the animal that you killed and its death is just in the name of fashion then that is terrible (especially if it is a rare animal such as the jaguar).

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Fabulous lens. Lensrolled to my jungle coloring page lens.

    • profile image

      yourgoldenfuture 6 years ago

      so wonderful animal...not made for clothes...

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 6 years ago

      Isn't the Jaguar a majestic cat... I love them.

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 7 years ago

      My boys are fascinated by big cats, they're amazing creatures.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I agree, the jaguar is a beautiful animal. Women in fur coats.... not beautiful. Good for you in getting the word out about the senseless killing of this magnificent creature. I'm delighted to lensroll this to my Scottish Wildcat lens.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      I love Jaguars...great lens 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I absolutely adore big cats and it is horrible how the jaguar is being forced out of their homes and being poached. We, as the people of the world, should put a stop to this inhumane treatment of innocent animals. I also speak of the cheetah as well and all other animals large and small.