The cell phone pictures are blurry, but to professional wildlife tracker and trapper Jerry Hunt, it’s pretty clear this is no house cat.
“I think it’s a black jaguar. They are coming from Mexico. Arizona has nine of them radio collared right now,” says Jerry Hunt.
He says there has been an uptick in the number of big cat attacks on livestock for a number of reasons.
“We are encroaching in their neighborhood. We’ve been in a drought. the deep population has gone down a little bit which is their natural prey so they’re are coming after whatever they can get right now,” says Hunt.
He has only seen one in all his years of being in the woods.. This is considered the first level of aggression from these animals…a warning…a warning only fools would choose to ignore.
Jaguars in Texas? Yes, it’s possible that they are coming across the border. I can’t tell from this picture if it is running away or running towards and there is zero scale to tell the size.
The jaguar’s range historically extended from northeastern Argentina through Brazil, Central America and Mexico, and followed the mountains along Mexico’s Pacific and gulf coasts into Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. But the animals lost ground in the past century. In 1963, a hunter in Arizona’s White Mountains shot a female, the last of her sex to be documented in the United States. Two years later, the last legally killed jaguar, a male, was taken by a deer hunter in the Patagonia Mountains, south of Tucson.
This definitive guide, Cats of Texas [PDF], notes the following:
Four primarily Central American cats (jaguar, jaguarundi, ocelot and margay) currently or historically ranged northward into the brushland south of San Antonio from Mexico.
It is extremely unlikely that this cat [jaguar] occurs in Texas although a rare visit by a wanderer from Mexico is possible. Last verified Texas records date from the turn of the century. The Jaguar is now considered by most authorities to be extirpated from the state.
Tip: @TCryptidHunter on Twitter