Name : Bryan Dave P. Lerio Organism: Jaguar ENDANGERED ORGANISM ASSIGNMENT 1. Location. Where it lives, type of climate and environment, its niche in an ecosystem Jaguar lives in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Belize, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Suriname, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, and United States (US). Extinct in El Salvador and Uruguay. The jaguars are found in the dense rainforests of the Central and South America as well as dry grassland terrains and seasonally flooded wetlands. However, they prefer dense forests over the other types of habitats. These animals are found in dry deciduous, tropical, and sub-tropical forests. The jaguars prefer living near swamps, rivers, and dense rainforests with dense tree cover that facilitates them to stalk prey. They also live at elevations of about 3,800 m. However, these big cats tend to avoid montane forests and are absent in the Andes and the high plateau of central Mexico. Jaguars are also spotted in scrublands and deserts in their range. 2. Diet. What it eats, hunting behaviors, where it fits in a food web Jaguars are known to eat deer, peccary, crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, deer, sloths, tapirs, turtles, eggs, frogs, fish and anything else they can catch. The jaguar hunts mostly on the ground, but it sometimes climbs a tree and pounces on its prey from above. It has very powerful jaws and sharp teeth and usually kills its prey with one crushing bite to the skull. It is at the top of food chain. 3. Reproduction. How does it reproduce? How often? How many? Jaguars have no defined breeding season and will mate any time of year. After a gestation period of about 100 days, the female will give birth to a litter of 2-4 cubs. Mothers will continue to feed and protect her young until they are about 1 year old, and they will continue to stay with her until they are about 2 years old. They will reach sexual maturity between 2-3 years for females, and 3-4 for males. 4. Defense. How does the animal defend itself? What defensive features does it possess? The main defense used by jaguars is to not be seen in the first place. Jaguars are secretive animals with markings on their coats that mimic the dappled light of the rain forest; this makes them extremely difficult to spot in their native habitat. This secrecy serves as both offense and defense, as it allows jaguars to be effective ambush hunters. Jaguars are also extremely powerful and fearsome animals. They are the largest big cat in the Americas and have a bite that can pierce bone. They also have large claws that are used to grab and slash prey. This puts most other animals at a disadvantage in a fight with a jaguar. Jaguars can also climb trees and swim, which allows them to escape unnecessary confrontations. Turn Over 5. Value. Why is this animal important in nature? Does it have any commercial value? Jaguars are the top predators in their environment, so they play an important role in controlling the populations of other species. This helps keep a balance in the food chain, and a healthy environment. It does have a commercial value. 6. Endangered. Why is it endangered? Hunted for Fur Before they were protected as an endangered species, the jaguar population was greatly diminished by hunters, who killed the cats for their fur. The jaguar now is protected throughout its range of habitats, but not all countries have banned killing the animal for its fur. And as long as a demand exists for the jaguar's spotted coat, poachers will continue to hunt them down. Threat to Livestock Jaguars hunt. Jaguars don't understand they aren't supposed to hunt livestock. As humans continue to expand into the jaguar's habitat, the more likely it is that livestock will be hunted as prey. Many ranches have a policy to shoot any jaguar that comes near the ranch, whether the jaguar has killed livestock or not. Habitat Loss for Agriculture The major problem now for the recovery of the jaguar is habitat loss. The clearing of rain forests for crops, logging and ranches reduces the places where the jaguars can hunt and live. Jaguars are solitary animals and typically only come together to breed. With the discontinuity of their habitat, breeding pairs are less likely to find each other. Each time a breeding period is missed, a female misses having kittens to increase the jaguar population. 7. Intervention. What is being done to save this animal from extinction? The Northern Jaguar Reserve, now at over 55,000 acres, is the result of major binational cooperation to help save jaguars in their northern range. Initiated in 2003, the growing reserve protects key habitat for the last breeding population of northern jaguars—offering hope for their recovery in the United States. Groundbreaking research being conducted on the reserve today will also help us better understand jaguar behavior and habitat requirements—information that’s helping experts pull together a stronger recovery plan.