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Jaguar Car or Cat?
Jaguar - Part of Rik's HubWay Network
12 Jul 2012 - The word Jaguar conjures up something streamlined, fast-moving and dangerous.
Jaguar also has a hint of luxury and comfort and makes us think of something reassuringly rare and therefore expensive but Jaguar is above all an icon of speed and power.
Let's explore a modern icon and how it’s use and meaning has changed with the passage of time.
Jaguar - The Big Cat
The original Jaguar is, of course, a big cat. Jaguars are found mainly in Mexico, Central, and South America. Sightings have also been recorded in Texas, Arizona, southern California, and New Mexico.
They live mainly in forests and swamplands. Jaguars are excellent swimmers, and are the most water loving of the big cats.
The word Jaguar is often linked to something moving at great speed. Obvious examples are the Jaguar car and the military aircraft.
It is also adopted by sports teams such as the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and the Mexican soccer team Jaguates de Chiapas.
The jaguar is the third largest of the big cats, after the lion and tiger. But of all the big cats, the jaguar remains the least studied and the least loved. Jaguars are solitary animals, meeting only to mate. You seldom if ever read about Jaguars in children's stories and Aslan would never be a Jaguar.
The young stay with their mother for a few years before leaving to find their own territory. At about three years, they are fully mature and able to mate. The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas, with a record weight of over 347 pounds (158kg).
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Jaguar - The Big Car
Jaguar Cars Limited is a luxury car manufacturer based in Coventry in the United Kingdom. It was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in Blackpool in 1922, changing to SS Cars Ltd in 1934 in Coventry, and finally becoming Jaguar Cars Ltd in 1945.
The company was bought by Ford in 1989 becoming part of their Premier Automotive Group. In 2008 Ford sold the company, together with Land Rover, to Tata Motors of India.
It is fairly obvious why the manufacturer of these sleek, high-performance, cars took the name Jaguar and placed the iconic beast on the bonnet of every car.
The jaguar has a long association with new found wealth. Self-made British men have always tended to buy a jaguar as a sign of prosperity and success. James Bond drove a new XF Jaguar in the 2008 Bond Movie, 'Quantum of Solace'.
But the jaguar has never been seen as a family or a woman’s car. Like the cat, the Jaguar car is a lone hunter. A symbol of wealth and ostentation. A 'boys toy'. If you are worried about fuel bills or the environment then the Jaguar is not for you.
The jaguar is known as a stalk-and-ambush predator and eats whatever comes its way. It is also plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of prey species.
The jaguar has developed an exceptionally powerful bite that allows it to pierce the shells of armoured reptiles and to employ an unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of prey between the ears to deliver a fatal blow to the brain.
Bur this ruthless reputation as a killing machine rests uncomfortably when applied to an automobile.
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Jaguar - Threatened Species?
Jaguar, the big cat is a near threatened species and its numbers are declining. Threats include habitat loss and fragmentation. While international trade in jaguars or their parts is prohibited, the cat is still regularly killed by humans, particularly by ranchers and farmers in South America.
The Jaguar car too is under threat and therefore in decline. its very existence threatens the environment as well as wasting a valuable non-renewable fuel - petroleum.
The Jaguar car therefore threatens the habitat of its namesake the cat. Global warming and soaring oil prices suggest the days of gas-guzzling cars are numbered. This is particularly true here in the UK with petrol at the pump costing around £1.20 a litre and the international price hitting around $150 per barrel.
Personally, though I love the look of Jaguar cars, I wouldn't want to own one any more than I'd keep a Jaguar cat in my back garden as a pet.
Maybe both Jaguar Cat and Car will, in future, be found mainly in zoos, museums and movies? But if either of them do survive in large numbers in the wild then my money is on the Cat.