Panthera onca - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Jaguar
Other Common Names: Onça-Pintada
Synonym(s): Felis onca
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 180593)
Spanish Common Names: Jaguar, Otorongo, Tigre
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103664
Element Code: AMAJH02010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Carnivores
Image 12056

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae Panthera
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Panthera onca
Taxonomic Comments: This species has been placed in the genus Felis by some authors. It was included in the genus Panthera by Wozencraft (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005) and sources cited therein.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Apr2006
Global Status Last Changed: 19Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Large range extends from the southwestern U.S. to northern Argentina, but distribution and abundance have been drastically reduced due to habitat destruction, overexploitation by fur industry, illegal and excessive hunting, and predator control activities.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (15Jan1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arizona (S1), California (SNR), Louisiana (SX), New Mexico (S1), Texas (SH)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (22Jul1997)
Comments on USESA: USFWS (Federal Register, 22 July 1997) added the U.S. to the area where this species is listed as Endangered, thus making that designation applicable rangewide. They have determined that it is not prudent to designate critical habitat (Federal Register, 12 July 2006).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R2 - Southwest
IUCN Red List Category: NT - Near threatened
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix I

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The jaguar once ranged throughout tropical lowlands of Mexico, Central America (now very rare except in Belize), and South America (to northern Argentina); in the United States, there are records from southern California, Arizona (Hoffmeister 1986, Johnson and Van Pelt 1997), New Mexico (Findley et al. 1975, Frey 2004), Texas (Schmidly 2004), and perhaps farther east in Louisiana; most records are from Arizona, where a minimum of 64 jaguars have been killed since 1900; some believe that a breeding population formerly existed in portions of the southwestern United States (Federal Register, 13 July 1994, 22 July 1997, which see for a state-by-state review of records). The species is now absent from much of the former range; it has been extirpated as a resident in most or all of the northern extent of the range in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico (see Federal Register, 13 July 1994, p. 35676, for discussion of recent records), El Salvador, Uruguay, developed areas of Brazilian coast, all but the northernmost parts of Argentina, and elsewhere. The largest remaining population is in Amazonian Brazil (Seymour 1989). In recent decades, jaguars occasionally have strayed into the United States in southern Arizona-New Mexico.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: As of 1999, jaguars were thought to range over approximately 8.75 million square kilometers (Sanderson et al. 2002).

Number of Occurrences: Unknown
Number of Occurrences Comments: The number of occurrences or subpopulations is difficult to define for this species (individuals of which may range over vast areas) and not a very meaningful measure of conservation status. Population size and area of occupancy are more relevant considerations. However, see Sanderson et al. (2002), who identified jaguar-occupied areas that could be regarded as distinct occurrences or subpopulations.

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeded 100,000 in the 1960s (annual kills in Brazil alone were estimated at 15,000 in the 1960s). However, based on estimates of density and geographic range (Nowell and Jackson 1996), the jaguar's total effective population size has been estimated at fewer than 50,000 mature breeding individuals.

A population of 600-1,000 exists in Belize, and there may be 500 in Guatemala and no more than 500 in all of Mexico (see Nowak 1999). Studies in the 1980s estimated numbers in the Pantanal of Brazil and its peripheral area to range from 1,000 to 3,500 individuals with an additional 1,400 individuals to the north of the Pantanal in the Guapore River Basin (see Swank and Teer 1989). The Paraguayan Gran Chaco may host a few thousand jaguars based on densities of 1 per 25 to 75 square kilometers in an area of 176,000 square kilometers.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many (41-125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: An analysis by Sanderson et al. (2002) determined that over 70% of the area where jaguars are thought to still occur has a high probability of supporting their long-term survival. Fifty-one jaguar conservation units were prioritized as the basis for a comprehensive jaguar conservation program; each of these could be regraded as an occurrence or subpopulation with good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Rapid declines occurred in Central and South America during the 1960s due to human exploitation. During this period more than 15,000 skins were brought out of the Brazilian Amazon alone each year (see Weber and Rabinowitz 1996). Approximately 13,500 pelts entered the United States in 1968 (Nowak 1999).

Subsequent national and international conservation agreements appear to have reduced the kill (Nowak 1999), but declines have continued due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation, blockage of movement corridors, excessive human exploitation of jaguar prey, human take due to conflicts with the livestock industry, illegal hunting, and predator control activities (Weber and Rabinowitz 1996). Populations isolated by deforestation probably incur increased vulnerability to killing by humans (many are shot on sight regardless of protection).

Although direct killing and habitat destruction are responsible for declines, the importance of these activities varies regionally due to differences in habitat, prey availability, economic development, and cultural mores (Quigley and Crawshaw 1992). Future development in and around the Pantanal will eliminate populations (Quigley and Crawshaw 1992).

Short-term Trend: Decline of >10%

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Sanderson et al. (2002) determined that, as of 1999, the known, occupied range of the jaguar had contracted to approximately 46% of estimates of its 1900 range; jaguar status and distribution were unknown in another 12% of the jaguar's former range, including large areas in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. Of the historical range, jaguars are known to have been extirpated in 37% of the area, while jaguar status in 18% of the area is unknown (Sanderson et al. 2002).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Obtain current information on distribution and abundance. Determine what constitutes a population.

Protection Needs: Protect large tracts of habitat with adequate prey and low levels of human activity.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) The jaguar once ranged throughout tropical lowlands of Mexico, Central America (now very rare except in Belize), and South America (to northern Argentina); in the United States, there are records from southern California, Arizona (Hoffmeister 1986, Johnson and Van Pelt 1997), New Mexico (Findley et al. 1975, Frey 2004), Texas (Schmidly 2004), and perhaps farther east in Louisiana; most records are from Arizona, where a minimum of 64 jaguars have been killed since 1900; some believe that a breeding population formerly existed in portions of the southwestern United States (Federal Register, 13 July 1994, 22 July 1997, which see for a state-by-state review of records). The species is now absent from much of the former range; it has been extirpated as a resident in most or all of the northern extent of the range in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico (see Federal Register, 13 July 1994, p. 35676, for discussion of recent records), El Salvador, Uruguay, developed areas of Brazilian coast, all but the northernmost parts of Argentina, and elsewhere. The largest remaining population is in Amazonian Brazil (Seymour 1989). In recent decades, jaguars occasionally have strayed into the United States in southern Arizona-New Mexico.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, LAextirpated, NM, TX

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Cochise (04003), Navajo (04017)*, Pima (04019), Santa Cruz (04023)
NM Hidalgo (35023)
TX Cameron (48061)*, Hidalgo (48215)*, Kimble (48267)*, Kleberg (48273)*, Menard (48327)*, Mills (48333)*, Nueces (48355)*, Willacy (48489)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
12 Lampasas (12070203)+*, Middle Colorado (12090106)+*, Pecan Bayou (12090107)+*, Llano (12090204)+*, San Fernando (12110204)+*, Baffin Bay (12110205)+*, South Laguna Madre (12110208)+*
15 Animas Valley (15040003)+, Upper Santa Cruz (15050301)+, Rillito (15050302)+*, Brawley Wash (15050304)+, Upper Salt (15060103)+*, Rio De La Concepcion (15080200)+*, San Bernardino Valley (15080302)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A large cat (jaguar).
Reproduction Comments: In tropical areas may breed throughout the year; births most common November-December in Paraguay, December-May in Brazil, March-July in Argentina, July-September in Mexico, June-August in Belize. Gestation lasts about 90-115 days. Litter size is 1-4 (average 2). Young begin to eat meat at about 10-11 weeks, though may suckle 5-6 months; remain in den about 1.5-2 months; stay with mother 1.5-2 year; females sexually mature in 2-3 years, males in 3-4 years (Seymour 1989).
Ecology Comments: Solitary and somewhat territorial, except during breeding season. Density estimated at 4/137 sq km in Brazil, 25-30 per 250 sq km in Belize (Seymour 1989). In Belize, daily home range may be only a few sq km, but may shift to new area every week or two. Home range in Brazil was estimated at 25-76 sq km (see Kitchener 1991). Major cause of mortality is hunting by humans.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes a wide variety of situations, such as tropical and subtropical forests, lowland scrub and woodland, thorn scrub, pampas/llanos, desert, swampy savanna, mangrove swamps, lagoons, marshland, and floating islands of vegetation. At the southern extreme of the range, this cat inhabits open savanna, flooded grasslands, and desert mountains; at the northern extreme it may be found in chaparral and timbered areas. Young are born in a sheltered place such as a cave or thicket, under an uprooted tree, among rocks, or under a river bank (Seymour 1989).
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Feeds on large and small mammals, reptiles and ground nest- ing birds. Known to feed on peccaries, capybaras, tapirs, agoutis, deer, small crocodilians and turtles; opportunistic, see Seymour (1989) for further details. Hunts mostly on ground but may pounce on prey from tree or ledge.
Phenology Comments: Active throughout the year. Hunts primarily at night, but may be active day or night (Seymour 1989).
Length: 242 centimeters
Weight: 136000 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: In the 1960s, an estimated 15,000 were being killed annually (for the fur industry) in the Amazonian region of Brazil. The recorded number of pelts entering the U.S. in 1968 was 13,516. See Nowak (1991).
Management Summary
Help
Biological Research Needs: Obtain better information on movments and population structure and dynamics.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: None.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Occurrences generally should be based on major occupied physiographic or ecogeographic units that are separated along areas of relatively low jaguar density or use. These units may be based on available sightings/records or on movements of radio-tagged individuals, or they may be based on the subjective determinations by biologists familiar with jaguars and their habitats. Where occupied habitat is exceptionally extensive and continuous, that habitat may be subdivided into multiple contiguous occurrences as long as that does not reduce the occurrence rank (i.e., do not split up an A occurrence into multiple occurrences that would be ranked less than A).
Separation Justification: Jaguars disperse large distances (sometimes hundreds of kilometers) Thus it is impractical to base occurrences on distinct populations or metapopulations, which occupy vast regions. Instead, occurrence separations must be arbitrary. It seems more reasonable to base occurrences on major landscape features or management units rather than on specific prescribed distances.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 5.6 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a small home range of 25 square kilometers (see Kitchener 1991).
Date: 04Mar2005
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 05Apr2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., and M. K. Clausen
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 05Nov1997
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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