Animal Spotlight 1 - The Jaguar
“Jaguar”. When you think of this animal, the presence of a magnificent predator likely comes to mind. One with large fangs, claws and spotted fur that hunts in the depths of the jungles. These incredible hunters are intrinsically complex and have a long history as colorful as their coat. That is why we have chosen the Jaguar as the first animal to sponsor in Tropical Tundra’s “Animal Spotlight”.
The term 'Jaguar' derives from the native word 'Yaguar,' meaning –
'He who kills with one leap.'
Early Jaguars first lived in North America and later migrated to Central and South America. They’re ferocious predators that absolutely dominate jungle forests, swamp lands and mountains. The infamous Panther are in fact Jaguars with a rare form of melanism that give them their famously bold black on black patterns.
Symbolism of the Jaguar
Jaguars were viewed as a symbol of God in early cultures of Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Guatemala. According to ancient legends, the Aztecs, Inca, and Mayans worshiped Jaguar as a symbol of strength. In the pantheon, the Jaguar God succeeded the Snake God in religious significance. At the Temple of the Jaguar in Chichen Itza, one had to walk under an embellishment of matching jaguars during his crowning ceremony.
In Mayan culture, the Jaguar was viewed as a leader of the underworld, symbolizing the night, sun, and darkness. There existed Mayan clergymen named Balam who presided only at essential events. Together with the Aztecs and Mayans, the Inca constructed temples to honor the Jaguar.
The Jaguar is an ecological symbol of aggressiveness, power, bravery and brutality. For others, the Jaguar indicates the ability to overcome all fear and to face the enemy with courage. Still, Jaguars are connected with a vision that signifies both their nocturnal abilities to see in the night and into the depths of the human heart. This mystical combination gives jaguars a reputation as a connection to divinity for predictions of future calamity.
Jaguars Are Important
Jaguars are tertiary predators and primary carnivores of their habitat, assuming a crucial role in managing populations of their prey. This helps maintain the balance in the food chain and supports the well-balanced ecosystem they inhabit.
Jaguars primarily hunt at night, using their effective night vision and razor sharp teeth to hunt prey and crush bones. Jaguars are known to devour over 85 different types of game, such as; tapir, peccaries, armadillos, deer, capybara, birds, snails, and even squirrels.
Not restricted to hunting on the ground, jaguars are perfect at catching turtles, fish, and young amphibians from the water. They can even hunt monkeys and other tree animals who reside in lower branches.
Sadly, jaguars continue to contest with humans for the majority of their prey. Sadly, Jaguars are frequently killed by mankind out of fear, to protect livestock and are poached for profits.
During mating season, a male and female jaguar mate an astronomical 100 times each day. Pregnancy lasts for about 14 weeks and when the female conceives they typically deliver two to four cubs. Cubs weigh the same as a loaf of bread during birth and at an incredible pace. At two years, males are 50% heavier in comparison to their female peers.
Jaguars are Under Constant Threat
The main danger to jaguars occurs through environmental habitat destruction and deforestation. An apocalyptic 150 acres of rainforest are lost each day by the hands of humans. Jaguars need rivers and lakes as a way of their livelihood and avert to open forests and grasslands not typically by choice. Human activities and habitation near such bodies of water in addition to deforestation have lessened jaguar habitats by almost one half, mainly residing in the Amazon Basin. This habitat destruction lowers the number of jaguars the territory can handle, especially when humans kill most Jaguar prey.
Protecting the Rainforest Means Protecting the Jaguar
Protecting the rainforests directly protects the species that call it home. If you love the this planet’s biodiversity and want to give back, please consider donating to Rainforest Trust directly or purchasing a tee with us! Every garment funds the protection of an entire acre of rainforest. Nature needs heroes now more than ever…