The third largest cat in the world and the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere is the jaguar. Its natural habitat extends from South America to the U.S. However, there has not been any evidence of a breeding population in the U.S. for the last 50 years. Jaguars are on the ‘œnear threatened’ list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Fact 1. Â The word ‘œjaguar’ originated from the South American Tupi and Guarani languages. A possible origin is the word ‘œyaguaretÃ©,’ meaning ‘œtrue, fierce beast.’
Fact 2. Â Jaguars roamed the U.S. as far as the Grand Canyon and stretched from California to Louisiana. Â However, government-funded programs, the advent of farming communities, and the clearing of wetlands saw the decimation of jaguars.
Fact 3. Â Â There are an estimated 15,689 jaguars left in South America and the U.S. While jaguar hunting is considered a widely practiced sport, the fur of the jaguar is an expensive item in black markets.
Fact 4. Â The border wall between the U.S. and Mexico is considered by ecologists to have a major impact on wildlife including that of the jaguar (Panthera onca).
Fact 5. Â The 3,141-kilometer Mexican-U.S. border is home to a diverse range of rare and endangered species. The setting up of the wall has serious implications on the fragile ecology of the region impacting animals such as the jaguar.
Fact 6. Â Evidence from fossils implies the existence of two more species of jaguars; they are the European jaguar (Panthera gombaszoegensis) and the American lion (Panthera atrox).
Fact 7. Black panthers are Â considered melanistic jaguars and consist of an estimated 6 percent of the total jaguar population.
Fact 8. Â The jaguar hood was Â used as a mascot of Â the Jaguar cars. The selection was done during the 1930s when car manufacturers were looking for a unique name that symbolized sleekness and speed.
Fact 9. Â Jaguars are immortalized in the cultures of the Americas as a symbol of power and strength. Elite Aztec members were referred to as jaguar warriors.
Fact 10. Jaguars evolved in North America, expanded into Central and South America, and then lost most of their original northern range