In this new article, we will talk a little about one of the most beautiful and exciting wild animals. We will mention its characteristics, habitat, reproduction, food, predators, and interesting information about these wild jungle animals.
Characteristics of the Jaguar
First of all, we must point out that Jaguar is the largest feline in the Western Hemisphere. Generally, males usually measure between 1.5 and 2 meters long, not including their tail, as it measures between 50 and 70 centimeters in length. They have a height of at least 1.3 meters and during adulthood, can reach up to 130 kilos in weight. The largest specimens are found in Brazil and Venezuela.
On the other hand, its coat is commonly yellow to brown with black spots, and that is why it is generally confused with leopards. The jaguars, on their side and back, have massive black rosettes that appear in the form of a circle of spots surrounding a central point.
At the same time, the jaguar has forearms and shoulders with powerful and developed muscles, which give it the necessary strength to hunt their prey. Also, the hind legs have a greater length to their front legs that allows them to jump better. On the front legs, on the other hand, the jaguar has long, sharp and retractable claws, with which it can capture its prey more easily.
Additionally, we must emphasize that the tongue of the jaguars is very rough since it is designed to be able to remove the skin of its prey with greater facility and rapidity. On the other hand, the skin of its belly is very elastic, which allows it to withstand better the blows it may receive when catching its prey.
These wild animals are seen a lot in the jungle, especially in the Amazon jungle. However, jaguars also feel comfortable in humid areas of lowlands, savannas, and tropical forests. Jaguars have also been sighted in grasslands near water sources (such as rivers and lakes); or even in caves and rocky outcrops.
Unfortunately, however, jaguars have now been almost eliminated from North America. Moreover, even the jaguar populations that are distributed in South America are also in danger of extinction.
Food and Nutrition
Jaguars are usually opportunistic, feeding on any vulnerable prey found in their habitat. Their favorite prey is wild boar, deer, iguanas, monkeys, ocelots, small crocodiles, and even cattle.
Another interesting fact is that jaguars do not bite their prey in the jugular to cause their death, but they jump on their neck abruptly and twist it so that it dies immediately.
During their rutting season, females often leave certain marks on the territory (scratching trees, dissipating urine, rubbing their skin with trees) in order to spread their pheromones and announce their presence. Also, during this stage, the female emits roars to attract the male, who responds with loud bellows.
After copulation, the gestation period of the jaguars usually lasts between 90 and 100 days; and the female always looks for a safe place where she can give birth to her offspring.
Puppies are born with a very long, woolly, pale coat and a pattern of black, round spots. In this case, the mother takes care of the offspring during the first six months of life, until they acquire the ability to fend for themselves.
Fortunately, these dominant wild jungle animals have no natural predators due to their large size and agility. However, the biggest predator of the jaguars is the human one, since it practices indiscriminate hunting. Hunters look for jaguars mostly because of their exotic skin, which has a high monetary value on the black market.
Currently, extreme measures have been taken to avoid the extinction of this beautiful feline species. For example, the governments of almost all countries have banned the import and sale of animal skins.
Why the Jaguar is endangered?
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Jaguar is cataloged as an almost threatened species. This means that shortly, it could be considered a vulnerable species, as the population has declined considerably in recent decades.
However, how many jaguars are left in the world? The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) indicates that the species’ population has declined by as much as 37% since 1980.
However, it is estimated that the chances of long-term survival are around 70% if effective conservation measures are implemented.
It is currently estimated that there are about 15,000 jaguars in the wild. Also, the WCS is committed to protecting more than 5,000 jaguars in the wild and 400,000 km2 of habitat for the species.
The main threats to the jaguar
To give useful information about the endangered jaguar, we must talk about the causes that threaten the jaguar, because it is the only way to know how to act to prevent the species from entering a vulnerable state.
Let us remember that in addition to affecting the species itself, the decrease in the population of jaguars also alters the fauna and flora of their habitat.
Some of the causes that explain why the jaguar is in danger of extinction are:
- Poachers: illegal hunting affects the population of the species in a very negative way. This animal is chased for its skin, being the leading cause of death of the Jaguar.
- The destruction of its habitat: deforestation is a global problem that affects most species on the planet, including the jaguar. This practice causes the slow destruction of the habitat of the species, which leads to the isolation of individuals, exposure to man, and the loss of genetic diversity.
- Confrontations with cattle ranchers: the constant exploitation of the natural habitat of the jaguar has provoked confrontations between these animals and the cattle ranchers who criminalize the species by arguing attacks against the cattle.
- Illegal hunting of jaguar prey: Finally, the illegal hunting of other species that are a source of food for jaguars plays a vital role in the decline of the population.
How to Save Jaguars From Extinction?
Now that you know why the jaguar is endangered, how many jaguars are left in the world, and some of the causes that threaten the species, you may be wondering how to protect the jaguar and what actions you can take to collaborate.
To begin with is essential to bet on a sustainable lifestyle that respects the environment and helps to avoid pollution, deforestation, or hunting. Through small actions, the “zero waste” movement contributes enormously to caring for our planet, as well as animals.
It is also possible to help by collaborating on a periodic or regular basis with associations, entities, and conservationist groups, spreading information, raising awareness or funds to be able to carry out direct actions in the environment and the conservation of the species.
The collection of signatures to protect natural parks, specific areas, or promote animal protection laws are also measures that can involve state entities that effectively support wildlife programs and their conservation.
- You may also be interested in endangered species of the world
Relevant information about the Jaguar
The Jaguar usually hunts on the ground, but can nevertheless climb a tree to jump on its prey from the heights.
Unlike its close relatives, this wild cat enjoys the water a lot, as it is a good swimmer; it usually swims or can even hunt some small fish. On the other hand, jaguars have a life expectancy of approximately 20 years.
They use leaves, rotten tree trunks, and other materials that they can easily find in the forests or jungles where they live.
As for their lifestyle, these animals are known to be very solitary and do not usually share their territory with other possible rivals.