By Astrid Galvan / Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at 1:35pm
Updated: Thursday, February 4th, 2016 at 12:10am
TUCSON — The only known wild jaguar in the United States is seen roaming around a creek and other parts of a mountain range in southern Arizona in the first publicly released video of the giant cat.
“El Jefe” — Spanish for “the boss” — has been living in the Santa Rita Mountains about 25 miles south of downtown Tucson for over three years, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
El Jefe is about 7 years old and is one of only four or five jaguars that have been spotted in the U.S. in the last 20 years. He’s the only documented wild jaguar in the country.
“A lot of people have no idea that we have jaguars in the United States or that they belong here,” said Randy Serraglio of the Tucson-based environmental group. “In bringing this video, we hope to inspire people to care about these animals and support protection for their homes.”
Conservationists say El Jefe’s habitat is threatened by a proposed open-pit copper mine in the mountains. The proposed Rosemont Mine has been in the works for several years but is tied up in the permitting phase.