A pugmark refers to the mark, track or footprint of an animal on the ground.
Invited to exhibit my jaguar at the i.d.e.a. Museum in February, they ask if I have touchable and tactile art samples for visitors to interact with. I don’t. But knowing I’d like the design, I create jaguar pugmarks. The sample also holds the smaller prints of another Sonoran desert cat – the mountain lion. The exhibits focus – the Sonoran Desert.
In our Arizona desert you can come across a mountain lion, but chances are you will never see a jaguar. But in the Dos Cabezas Mountains (about 60 miles north of the U.S. – Mexico border) you can (if luck and the stars are with you) wander across a jaguar pugmark.
The jaguar has a large pad with toes that fan out. Notice the oval-shaped toes taper, and one comes forward more than the others. The wide based pad is ‘M’ shaped. ( The smaller mountain lion prints appear similar). The big cat walks with claws retracted so you will not see them in the footprint.
Conservationists and researchers use footprints to study large animals in the wild, like the jaguar. Footprint size helps to identify individuals, but it is not an exact science.
Opens Friday, February 9 and runs through Sunday, May 27, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 8, 2018, 5-7 p.m.