Miller got the rare footage on a trail camera setup near a pile of mountain lion scat. Jason Miller Outdoors.
An Arizona man recently captured rare footage of a jaguar roaming the southern part of the Grand Canyon State. The video—captured by Jason Miller of Vail, Arizona late last month—shows an adult jaguar that’s never been documented on U.S. soil. It’s one of only a small handful of confirmed jaguar sightings north of the U.S.-Mexico border since 1996.
“I was over the moon. I couldn’t believe it,” Miller told KGUN. “I still can’t believe it. It’s the holy grail for me.” Miller has been chasing southern Arizona wildlife with his trail camera and posting the pictures and videos to YouTube since 2019. During that time, he’s captured photos of coues deer, big horn sheep, ocelots, coatimundi, mountain lions, javelinas, and numerous other species. But he didn’t manage to achieve his longterm goal of photographing an elusive southern Arizona jaguar until December 20, 2023.
According to the Arizona Department of Fish and Game (AZDFG), it’s only the eighth time that a jaguar has been spotted in southern Arizona since the mid-1990s. All of those sightings have occurred along the U.S.-Mexico border, and they’ve all involved adult male jaguars.
Though jaguars are native to the American Southwest, there hasn’t been a breeding population in the region since at least 1949 when the last female was killed in Arizona. Researchers believe that the jaguars wandering into the U.S. these days have ties to a known breeding population 100 miles south of the border in Sonora, Mexico. That area is home to around 4,800 jaguars.
The jaguar is the world’s third-largest cat species and the largest in the Americas. They can weigh up to 300 pounds and stretch to 6 feet in length. Only tigers and lions can outgrow the rare wildcats. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service has classified jaguars as a threatened and endangered species since the 1970s, and the agency says their habitat has declined by as much as 20 percent since the early 2000s.
“You can’t do anything to an endangered species … You really can’t even track it, and that’s why the trail camera technology is so valuable,” AZGFD spokesman Mark Hart told KGUN. “Congratulations to Jason Miller. He worked really hard to get those images, and he’s provided us with the information we need to protect it.”
The post Watch: Man Captures Rare Footage of a Jaguar in Arizona Wilderness appeared first on Field & Stream.
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