If you’re a fan of Joe Rogan, you may have heard his conversation with renowned wildlife conservationist, outdoorsman, writer and host of MeateaterSteve Rinella on the debate over reintroducing jaguars to “core habits” in the United States.
According to him, it’s irrefutable that jaguars once roamed at least in certain parts of the lower 48.
Some sources list documented populations from Texas to California, and there is fossil evidence that suggests they could have ranged as far and wide as the Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, and Florida, although the data is less reliable.
Take a listen to Joe and Steve’s discussion of the topic here.
Obviously, when an animal with the prowess of the jaguar may be reintroduced to the country, there’s a lot of very strong opinions on both sides, but I was more interested in learning the differences between these wild cats and the vicious mountain lions we already have.
There’s no doubt that mountain lions are truly specimens in their own right, just take a look at this guy caught on a trailcam in Arizona, so are jaguars really that different?
One quick video search gave me my answer…
A video taken by tourists shows just how terrifying these feline are.
The Amazon region in Brazil is home to the largest population of jaguars on the planet, with an estimate of 10,000 still roaming wild. Their diet typically consists of small mammals like deer, capybara, tapirs, and peccaries, but they’re also not afraid to get in the water and see what they can find, which is exactly what the jaguar in this video did.
To prove that he was top dog in the area, he decided to take out a caiman, cousin of the crocodile, for a midday snack…
He stalks the unwitting creature from an elevated shoreline, waiting for just the right moment to pounce. When that moment comes, the graceful power he leaps with looks almost otherworldly.
Flying straight down on top of the caiman, he grabs a hold with his jaws, securing the caiman to its fate, before swimming back to shore, tossing it over his shoulder, climbing the bank, and bringing it to the shadows where he will chow down.
I wish the cameraman did a better job of capturing the entire encounter, but watching him throw the caiman around like a dog toy is surreal to see. I’ve watched this probably 10 times now, I just can’t get over it.
So if you asked me before this video how I felt about jaguars coming back to America, I may have said “Hell yeah, that would be sweet!”