'El Jefe': Famous southern Arizona jaguar spotted for first time in 7 years
PHOENIX - A famous jaguar known to have roamed the mountains in southern Arizona has been spotted for the first time in years south of the border.
"El Jefe" was spotted in Sonora, Mexico, about 120 miles south of his last recorded sighting in Arizona, the Center for Biological Diversity announced on Aug. 4.
At the time of his last recorded sighting, "El Jefe" was the only known wild jaguar in the United States.
In 2015, video of "El Jefe" roaming the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson was released.
"We still know so little about jaguars, especially in the northern portion of their range," said Dr. Aletris Neils, executive director of Conservation CATalyst. "But with hundreds of detections and data points for El Jefe, we know more about him than any other jaguar in the U.S. Every new piece of information is essential for conserving northern jaguars, and we still have much to learn from this magnificent cat."
Scientists believe "El Jefe" was born sometime around 2010. They say photos capturing his recent sighting appear to show that he is in great condition.
"I love knowing that a massive, beautiful cat like El Jefe traveled hundreds of miles, crossed the border at least twice, and went virtually undetected for the last seven years," said Russ McSpadden, Southwest conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "We can’t allow El Jefe’s territory to be carved up for a copper mine. Arizona’s Sky Islands, including the Santa Ritas, are critical habitat for jaguars and key to their survival in the U.S."
This story was reported from Phoenix.
"El Jefe," a famous jaguar known to have roamed the mountains in southern Arizona, has been spotted for the first time in years south of the border. (Center for Biological Diversity)
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