I am Jaguar, Panthera onca. Consider me the largest cat of the Americas.
My species once thrived as far north as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In the last decade you can find a few of us in the mountains of southern Arizona.
I wonder (I wander) if, like my ancestors, I can make a life here? The terrain of the Sonoran Desert sustains me. I travel back and forth, north and south, exploring the remote area. Can I return?
Can it work? Yes, it can. Will it work? That’s another question.
You want to know why I roar? I have, like you, a hyoid bone ↑ (highlighted in blue). I vibrate my larynx causing the twig-like hyoid bones to resonate. Cats purr, I roar.
My large powerful jaw, canines, and retracting claws allow me to get through thick reptilian skin and turtle shells. I eat birds, mammals and fish too. The Sonoran desert provides plenty of javelina, a favorite.
Upper claws – tendons and muscles relaxed. Lower claws – tendons and muscles tightened.
Because my jaws and cheeks are larger, they say my brain is smaller.
I am intelligent.
I am a carnivore, not a popular thing to be, I understand. I need meat to sustain a lean body and lean muscle.
I run long distance, though I admit I am not fast. I am powerful. I pounce prey, give a direct bite to the neck or the back of the skull. I’m quick, I suffocate. Remember, I have powerful jaw and canines.
Communication channels are visual, acoustic and chemical.
Perception channels are visual, tactile, acoustic and chemical
I am top predator. Though more important, I am a keystone species. I take on the critical role of maintaining structure and balance an eco system.
My status is NT, near threatened. Humans are my primary predator. They see me as a threat to livestock. They kill me for my fur and body parts. And they threaten my habitat.
I am Jaguar, Mixed media on Canvas, 35×45″
A border wall can affect all life in general, and will affect wild-life in particular.
If the wall goes up between the United States and Mexico, the jaguar cannot make a home where it’s ancestors once did.
#Panthera onca arizonensis
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