A conservation group has released a video showing what it says is the “only known wild jaguar in the United States.”
The male cat, named El Jefe, was caught on camera by Conservation CATalyst outside Tucson, Arizona in the Santa Rita Mountains.
“These glimpses into his behavior offer the keys to unlocking the mysteries of these cryptic cats,” Aletris Neils, executive director of Conservation CATalyst, said in a statement. “We are able to determine he is an adult male jaguar, currently in prime condition. Every new piece of information is important for conserving northern jaguars and we look forward to building upon these data so that we can collectively make better decisions on how to manage these fascinating and endangered cats.”
According to the group, jaguars once lived from South America all the way to the southern and central U.S., but have slowly been killed off.
The jaguar, which is the third largest cat after lions and tigers, was listed as an endangered species in the U.S. in 1997.
“Just knowing that this amazing cat is right out there, just 25 miles (40 kilometers) from downtown Tucson, is a big thrill,” Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center, told Fox News. “El Jefe has been living more or less in our backyard for more than three years now. It’s our job to make sure that his home is protected and he can get what he needs to survive.”
CATalyst says it hopes the video will lead Arizona officials to protect the rare cat.
Here's the video: