By Regina and Douglas Haggo
The Hamilton Spectator
(Nov 11, 2006)
If the U.S. Border Patrol builds an 1,100-kilometre barrier to stop illegal migrants entering from Mexico, the fence will also keep out some powerful four-legged visitors -- jaguars.
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the biggest, strongest feline native to the Americas. Jaguars once roamed much of the U.S. Southwest, but were hunted to extinction in the United States.
In the past 10 years, however, four male jaguars have been photographed in the rugged mountains of southern Arizona and New Mexico. They can be distinguished from one another because each has a unique pattern of black rosettes on his golden fur.
These jaguars return to Mexico to breed. Trip cameras set up to photograph the big cats are often smashed or removed by drug smugglers, who use the same routes to cross between the two countries.
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