Jaguars have not been found in Florida since Prehistoric times. When Spaniards first discovered Florida, the northern limit of the jaguars range extended into Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Further south, the jaguar was found throughout Mexico, Central and South America, all the way to northern Argentina. By the 1980s, the jaguars range was reduced by two-thirds in North and Central America and, within 75% of its present range, the jaguar has been reduced or greatly reduced in numbers. Although the jaguar has been virtually eliminated from the United States, photographs of a jaguar in Arizona were documented during 2002
While there may not be jaguars left in Florida, there are some on the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently decided to begin protecting their habitat. As oceansolutions notes here, “It was not until recently that a southwest U.S. breeding population was verified, thus opening the door for legal protection.”
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