Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 25th, 2011
More than two years after the demise of the country’s only known wild jaguar, wildlife enthusiasts got some good news when a southern Arizona hunting guide saw another one — an adult male.
It was the first confirmed sighting of the endangered cat in the U.S. since the other jaguar, known as “Macho B,” died, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has confirmed a hunter’s report of a jaguar southeast of Tucson. Officials say they’ve collected hair samples from the area for possible DNA testing.
The report (1) was received Saturday morning, November 19th, from an experienced hunter using dogs to hunt mountain lions.
Donnie Fenn was mountain lion hunting in Cochise County last weekend with his 10-year-old daughter and a friend when Fenn’s hound dogs sped out of the canyon they were searching, he told the paper.
“Then, I was about 200 yards from a tree they were barking under, but I couldn’t yet see what was there,” Fenn said. “I pulled my camera out, zoomed in, and I could tell right away it was a jaguar. It was big and spotted.”
Fenn, 32, immediately called state officials to report the sighting. Then the jaguar leaped out of the tree and Fenn’s dogs gave chase.
“I’ve seen a lot of lions treed up and stuff, and I’ve been in a lot of pretty hairy situations, but I’ve never experienced something like this,” Fenn told the Daily Star. “The roaring and growling. It was quite unreal.”
The animal climbed about 15 feet up a tree, and the hunter was able to obtain photographs and video before leaving the area. Based on the images, biologists believe the jaguar is an adult male that appeared in good, healthy condition and weighed approximately 200 pounds. Four of the last five confirmed jaguar sightings in Arizona have been reported by hunters.
The new encounter gives hope that jaguars might still be frequenting the Southwest.