TUCSON – New photographs show that a rare male jaguar apparently has been roaming in Southern Arizona mountains for at least eight months, indicating the animals are occasionally moving into their historic range from northern Mexico and into the American Southwest.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that remote cameras have photographed the big cat in five locations in the Santa Rita Mountains’ eastern flank on seven occasions since October. Those photos were taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by University of Arizona cameras after a hunter gave state authorities a photo of a jaguar that he took in September in the Santa Ritas.
Federally financed remote cameras photographed the jaguar west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson.
It is the only jaguar known to live in the United States since a 15-year-old cat known as Macho B died in Arizona in March 2009.
The photographs come as federal wildlife officials consider designating more than 1,300 square miles in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the jaguar.