University Of Wyoming Team Identifies Rare Jaguar At U.S.-Mexico Border

Apr 6, 2021

The research team named the jaguar, seen here, 'El Bonito'.
Credit Ganesh Marin

Jaguars have been a very rare sight in the U.S. over the last 30 years. But a new study by the University of Wyoming and University of Arizona captured video of one of the animals.

John Koprowski, dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at UW, leads the project that identified the jaguar using motion-triggered cameras.

Koprowski said this animal is a young male and was seen three miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. That means he had moved north recently.

"This big predator has to come from the south and be moving into these areas. They weren't resident there in the most recent years," he said. "We've got this wonderful opportunity, this wonderful indication, of an animal that demonstrates there still is connectivity."

That connectivity is important when there are barriers to animal's paths from humans like highways, railroads, and the border wall. Ganesh Marin, a University of Arizona graduate student and project member, is focused on finding and preserving the main corridors that wildlife move through.

"It's more important because of what comes with the jaguar," he said. "If the jaguars are able to move, a lot of species are able to move in the same environment. Having jaguars in the ecosystem means that you have a healthy ecosystem."

Wyoming faces similar issues in preserving migration corridors for animals like deer and antelope.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.