This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
An Arizona hunter has made a rare confirmed sighting of a wild jaguar close to the Mexico border in southeastern Arizona, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said on Monday.
Jaguars’ habitat ranges from Argentina to the rugged borderlands of Arizona and New Mexico. There have only been a handful of sightings by hunters in Arizona, and no jaguars are believed to breed in the United States.
The report was received on Saturday morning from an experienced hunter using dogs to track mountain lions in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, the department said.
The large cat was driven up a mesquite tree, where the hunter was able to take photographs and video. The footage was subsequently viewed by the department, which classified the sighting as “verifiable or highly probable.”
“It’s very exciting … we know that jaguars use southern Arizona as part of their northern habitat … Although confirmed sightings are fairly rare,” Lynda Lambert, a spokeswoman with the department, told Reuters.
Lambert said the hunter declined to be named, and did not release the photographs or video footage for publication.
After photographing the cat, the hunter left the area with his dogs and watched from a distance. The jaguar remained treed for approximately 15 minutes and then headed south.
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