Northern jaguar future bleak?
Most people are aware that jaguars are found in South America but few know that the northern species of this cat once ranged from the Bay area of California to the Appalachian Mountains. Unfortunately, the only wild jaguar to be captured and fitted with a radio-collar in the U.S. was recently euthanised in Phoenix, Arizona after it was diagnosed with kidney failure.
Only four jaguars have been photographed in the wild in the U.S. since 1996. Following a necropsy, Dr. Dean Rice from the Phoenix Zoo has said that the stress of capture and tranquilisation drugs aggravated the pre-existing kidney condition of the animal, leading to its death. The Tucson-based Centre for Biological Diversity has now asked for an independent review to determine if protocol adjustments are necessary for future capture and handling of the species, given their extremely small population. For several years now, the Centre, which fought to get the jaguars on the list of endangered species in 1997 has been pushing to develop a recovery plan and designate critical habitat for the magnificent cat, a proposal that was consistently refused under the Bush administration. Though the death of this jaguar is a major setback, the Centre expressed its commitment to secure the “long-term, science-based protection” of the animal.