Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; United States; Venezuela.
El Salvador; Uruguay, United States of America
Jaguars are classified as Near Threatened, due to the suspected habitat decline of 20-25% over the past three generations (21 years).
The seriously majestic #Jaguar is a #bigcat living in central/ #SouthAmerica. They are #NearThreatened from #deforestation for #soy #meat #palmoil and illegal #poaching. Help them each time you shop and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4WildlifeTweet
Given the inherent difficulty of assessing this species, the normally low density with which they occupy the landscape and the effects that small population and habitat degradations can have on the species, this assessment of population decrease could be a significant underestimate.
The Jaguar has a stocky, heavy body with short massive limbs associated with reduced cursorial behaviour and dense forest habitat, and robust canines and large head allowing a more powerful bite than other large cats (Seymour 1989, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).
Mean body weight varies by up to 100% across their range, those living further from the equator tend to be larger (Iriarte et al. 1990). This extreme variation in size may reflect variation in the availability of large prey in different habitats: the largest Jaguars occur in open flood plains areas, the Llanos in Venezuela and the Pantanal in Brazil, and take the largest prey, and the smallest Jaguars inhabit the dense forest areas of Central America and Amazonia and take smaller prey (Hoogesteijn and Mondolfi 1996, Oliveira 2002).
Jaguar habitat typically consists of dense forest cover (mainly primary and secondary forest), the presence of water bodies and a sufficient prey base (Swank and Teer 1989, Sanderson et al. 2002).
However, they are found in range of habitats from rainforest to seasonally flooded swamp areas, pampas grassland, thorn scrub woodland, and dry deciduous forest (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).
The species is more strongly associated with water in comparison to any of the other Panthera cats. Even within drier areas they are only found around the main water courses. This characteristic quickly brings them into conflict with expansion of high intensity agriculture, having the same requirements of nearby water sources for irrigation.
Fragmentation and displacement frequently leads to lowering of densities of Jaguars and prey in leftover forest patches due to easier access and Jaguars feeding on the replaced livestock. Jaguar-livestock conflict is a serious threat to Jaguar survival and reported throughout their range (Hoogesteijn and Hoogesteijn 2011, Quigley et al. 2015, de la Torre et al. 2016).
Latin America is characterised by relatively low population densities with high population growth. This means that the increased agricultural expansion will likely not be used to feed the expanding population of Latin America. Increased pressure on wildlife as a food source will increase. Even in low population countries like Belize, 75% of the yearly wildlife offtake can be attributed to humans, while Jaguars only account for 25% (Foster et al. 2016). Increases in human population within these thinly populated countries means, increased fragmentation for agriculture, industry and urbanisation necessary for sustaining the increased number of people, making the wildlife easier accessible for hunting. The greater need for food and potential increase in wealth for a proportion of the population means increased commercialisation and increased prizes for wildlife game species, which are all Jaguar prey species.
Jaguars have lost about 49% of their historic geographic range
Habitat loss is reducing and isolating Jaguar populations range wide. The white-lipped peccary are an important Jaguar prey. They have been extirpated from 21% of the jaguar’s historical range during the past century and changed from NT to VU under the latest IUCN assessment (Altrichter et al. 2012, Keuroghlian et al. 2013).
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Quigley, H., Foster, R., Petracca, L., Payan, E., Salom, R. & Harmsen, B. 2017. Panthera onca (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T15953A123791436. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T15953A50658693.en. Accessed on 18 March 2022.
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