Crystan Mclymore

Common Name: Jaguar
Scientific Name: Panthera onca
NIckname: Black Panther

external image onca-1.jpg
The jaguar is a mammal. It is the largest of the spotted American cats with a relatively short and tapering tail. It's ears are small, short, and rounded, without tufts. The jaguar's coat is short and bristly; the upperparts are spotted all over. The coat is a tan to brown in color and is covered with blackish spots, often with light colored centers. The underparts and inner sufaces of the jaguar's legs are white and heavily spotted with black. Jaguars are known to eat deer, peccary, crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, deer, sloths, tapirs, turtles, eggs, frogs, fish and anything else it can catch. Unlike many other cats, jaguars do not avoid water; they are quite good swimmers. Gestation lasts between 92 and 113 days, during which the female is very voracious and hunts more frequently than usual. By the end of its pregnancy she searches for a den and usually that is where she gives birth. She can give birth to from one to five cubs. They are born blind, they weigh between 21 to 32 ounces, and they are darker than the adults.
Photo: A young female jaguar stopped in its tracks
Photo: A young female jaguar stopped in its tracks

Location: South and Central America (Argentina; Belize; Bolivia; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Venezuel)
Historic Range: Southwestern United States to Argentina
Current Range: Mexico and Central and Southern America
Where do they live?: Dense jungles, reed thickets, shoreline forests and open country, with good cover for hunting and a good water source, above ground
Migration: Jaguars migrate if they can not find food in their current habitat or to mingle and breed with other jaguars.
Hibernation: They do not hibernate.
Food Chain: Jaguars are the top predators of their habitat. They move swiftly, are great hunters, and they kill their prey with one powerful bite. They serve as a great indicator species as well. Since they are carnivors, they are the first to go if primary consumers or producers are not thriving.

Problems: This species became endangered because it is hunted for its fur, and farmers kill the jaguar because it sometimes kills their cattle. Humans are the main threat to the jaguar; they hunt this speces for sport, for its spotted hide, and to protect their domestic stock. The number of jaguars has declined over the last 100 years mainly because humans have slashed and burned many of their homelands in Central and South America; new cities are being built, and the forests and grasslands are being cleared. The destruction of the jaguar's habitat from logging and cattle ranching as well as having to compete with humans for food has brought a large decease in its population.

Solutions: The Federal Endangerment Species Act prohibits the importation and sale of these furs in the United States. Also, special laws that protect certain North American species are enforced in the United States and in Canada, and wildlife reguges have been set up for the purpose of protecting the jaguar.

References:
Jaguar, Panthera onca Fact Sheet - http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/jaguar/jaguar.htm
Defenders of Wildlife (Jaguar, Panthera onca) - http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/jaguar.php
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/15953/0
Akron Zoo (Jaguar) - http://www.akronzoo.org/learn/jaguar.asp\
Jaguars, by: William Miller, Robbie Peter, Jennifer Butler, Derrick Gormley, Thomas MacLean - http://www.edu.pe.ca/southernkings/jaguar.htm