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Amazon Jaguar

Amazon Rainforest Jaguar

Along with puma, jaguar (Panthera onca) are among the only large land-living predators in the Neo Tropics. Jaguar are one of the big 3 animals to see on South American wildlife tours along with Tapir and Giant Otter.

Compared to the other large cat in South America, Puma (Puma concolor), Jaguar take larger prey, but both cats are very adaptable. Both jaguar and puma follow trails through the forest and are often caught on camera traps set up for research on these magnificent animals. Jaguar are also sometimes seen by lucky Amazon tourists as the cats sun themselves on logs of a morning.

Amazon Jaguar – Tahuayo Reserve

Jaguar in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Iquitos, Peru

  • Jaguar at the ARC
  • 7 am
  • February 2013
  • Sharpen Claws

Here is a jaguar photographed from a camera trap in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Iquitos, Peru. The Amazon Research Center associated with the Tahuayo Lodge set up the cameras to study the reserve’s biodiversity. So far they have recorded a diversity of life like brocket deer, paca, tapir, puma and an abundance of jaguar. This photo was taken on the 2nd February 2013 at 7am. Also in the photo are jaguar claw marks. Jaguar like to sharpen their claws on hard rainforest trees you can see in the bottom left of the photo. The tree was located just behind the Amazon Research Center within the reserve.

  • amazon jungle tours

    Eight Days

    Tahuayo Lodge Iquitos, Peru

    The Tahuayo Lodge is associated with an Amazon Research Center where you can visit an extensive trail network for observing a high diversity of Amazon Jungle monkeys. In fact, the Tahuayo Reserve was founded to protect a rare primate named the Uakari. With your Private guide (as standard), you will take Amazon jungle tours in the Tahuayo and you can choose from the greatest number of itinerary options in Amazonia.

    Private Guide, Zipline, Primate Research Grid

Jaguar Paw Print

Jaguar Paw print near the Tambopata Research Center, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

  • Paw Print
  • Patrol Beaches
  • Eat Turtles

Here is a female jaguar’s paw print on sand in the Tambopata National Reserve from Puerto Maldonado, south Peru. Female jaguar paw prints are about 2/3 the size of the larger male’s. Although unlikely at this beach, which is deep inland, jaguar are known to routinely prey on turtles as they move on to or off of the beaches to lay their eggs. Jaguar are even known to kill and eat the large leather back turtles, the only land animal known to kill these well armored creatures. Even the puma, the only other large predator in the Neo Tropics, hasn’t the bite power to tackle this difficult food item.

Jaguar in Tambopata

Jaguar near the Tambopata Research Center, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

  • Jaguar at the TRC
  • Commonly Encountered
  • Tambopata River
  • Research Center
  • Refugio Amazonas

Jaguar are commonly encountered along tributaries of the Tambopata River near Puerto Maldonado, Peru, just outside the Tambopata National Reserve. This jaguar was photographed enroute to the Tambopata Research Center, a remote Amazon Rainforest tourist lodge. At the lodge, you can see the largest macaw clay lick in the Amazon Rainforest where hundreds of colorful macaws gather to eat clay. Clay licks are also visited by mammals like tapir and the pig-like peccary. Some studies have shown jaguar have a preference for peccary over other prey and clay licks present a location to ambush these forest pigs. The Refugio Amazonas is another good location to stand a chance of seeing jaguar wild.

  • tambopata research center, puerto maldonado

    Seven Days:

    Tambopata Research Center Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    One of the Amazon’s most remote lodges, you will share the lodge with researchers investigating one of the largest macaw clay-licks in the rainforest. Hundreds of colorful macaw parrots gather at the lick providing you with fantastic wildlife displays. Monkeys and other wildlife are often visible from the lodge as you relax after exploring five different Amazon habitats and activities from jungle mountain biking and kayaking to aiding in macaw research.

    Remote Location, Macaw Clay Lick
  • refugio amazonas jungle lodge, puerto maldonado

    Five Days:

    Refugio Amazonas Lodge Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    If you’re looking for child friendly Amazon tours, this lodge has the only children’s trail in the entire Amazon Rainforest making it ideal for a family adventure. We will tour Lake Condenado and climb the Canopy Tower to view animals of the vast Tambopata National Reserve, and after jungle walks, you can relax in the wellness center with aromatherapy treatments or a massage.

    Children’s Trail, Wellness Center

Jaguar Feeding

Jaguar are opportunistic and are known to feed on 85 different animals including tapir, peccary, lizards, and turtles. In Central America, they even eat the well known avocados (native to Mexico) as their oily flesh is attractive to the cats, which actively seek them out. Weirdly, jaguar are now one of the only animals that disperses wild avocado as their original dispersal mammal went extinct long ago.

Jaguar History

Contrary to what you might think, jaguar were a North American mammal before South America joined the continent after the rise of the Isthmus of Panama. Jaguar fossils have been found in North America from around 1.5 million years ago during the mid-pleistocene showing that jaguar once roamed across both North and South America. Fossils were found as far north as Nebraska, Washington and Maryland. Now the northern boundary is set around Arizona and Texas. Fossils are older in North America and considerably outnumber those in South America by 73 to 18. The theory is that jaguar were driven south by the dominant and larger cat, the American lion (Panthera leo atrox).

Jaguar Threats

Jaguar were heavily hunted in the 1900s for their skins. Every year during this time, estimates show 15,000 jaguar in the Brazilian Amazon were killed for the skin trade, especially during the 1960s. It was this decimation that saw jaguar protected in Brazil and internationally. Like the vast majority of all life on Earth, the greatest threat to their survival is habitat loss. By 2008, the destruction to the Amazon Rainforest was equal to the size of Turkey (733,321 km2) and has been increasing ever since. The fate of the jaguar, like much of the planet’s wildlife, is tied to the fate of the Amazon Rainforest.

Ash - Author & Travel AdvisorAbout the Author: Ash Card has a BSc in Biology, an MSc in Zoology & a love of nature, travel & conservation. In nature, he enjoys the small dramas that are being played out all around us, such as a parasitic wasp hunting its prey while we walk passed unaware.


Related Pages
1. Tahuayo Lodge Amazon Tour
2. Best Time To Visit The Amazon
3. Biodiversity Loss
4. How To Help Conservation
5. Amazon Rainforest Birds

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