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Jaguar in Tiergarten Schönbrunn
  • The genus Panthera probably evolved in Asia between six and ten million years ago. Its immediate ancestor was Panthera onca augusta, which was larger than the contemporary jaguar.[1]
  • Though there are single cats now living within the Western United States, the species has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century.
  • Overall, the jaguar is the largest native cat species of the New World and the third largest in the world.
  • It ranges across a variety of forested and open terrains, but its preferred habitat is tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, swamps and wooded regions.
  • The jaguar enjoys swimming and is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain. As a keystone species it plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating prey populations.
  • While international trade in jaguars or their body parts is prohibited, the cat is still frequently killed, particularly in conflicts with ranchers and farmers in South America.
  • Given its historical distribution, the jaguar has featured prominently in the mythology of numerous indigenous American cultures, including those of the Maya and Aztec.