These spotted predators are the largest cats in the Western hemisphere - so it comes as no surprise that people have been fascinated by them for centuries.
These spotted predators are the largest cats in the Western hemisphere—so it comes as no surprise that people have been fascinated by them for centuries. On this Wildlife Wednesday, we learn about jaguars.
Jaguars can be found throughout Central and South America, ranging from Brazil and Peru to Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, and even the US.
Why are they threatened?
Like many of their large feline cousins, jaguars face a number of threats caused by humans; deforestation and habitat degradation due to forestry, mining, and farming isolates jaguar populations, and farmers may shoot the big cats on sight because they’re considered to be a threat to livestock. Beyond that, jaguars also have to compete with people for prey.
Commercial hunting is also a concern, but the good news here is that it’s dropped dramatically since the mid-1970s, when legislation and anti-fur campaigns greatly reduced international demand. Jaguars are also protected over much of their current range, making hunting and trapping illegal in most nations and severely restricted in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.