Lonely Planet Writer

Feeling brave enough for a hike? Another wild jaguar spotted in Arizona

A rare, wild jaguar has appeared in Arizona. Wildlife experts say a photo taken on 1 December in a southern Arizona mountain range shows the United States’ second jaguar.

Second jaguar spotted in the US.
Second jaguar spotted in the US. Image by Getty Images

Earlier this year, a jaguar named “El Jefe” was captured on video in Arizona, but the state’s Fish and Game Department say the latest photo is of a different feline.  The photo was taken by a camera belonging to Fort Huachuca, an Army installation southeast of Tucson. A spokesperson from the Fish and Game Department said that jaguars migrate from Mexico to Arizona every decade, but it’s extremely rare to see a female this far north.

Jaguars were native to Arizona, New Mexico and other areas in the Southwest until habitat loss and predator control programs aimed at protecting livestock decimated the big cat’s numbers. The last verified female jaguar was shot in Arizona in 1963.  The latest photo will undergo further examination to ensure the jaguar is new to the area, but wildlife experts are very excited by the fact that the species seems to be reclaiming its historical habitat.