Image captured has been identified as a jaguar - CBS 5 - KPHO

Image captured has been identified as a jaguar

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TUCSON, AZ (CBS5) -

An image captured in the southeast Tucson area in late September by a hunter's trail camera has been identified as a jaguar.

The image captured only shows a tail and a small portion of a hind quarter. Multiple Arizona Game and Fish biologists, plus external experts from the community, analyzed the image and determined the image depicts a jaguar.

The spot pattern found on the tail, the animal's size when photographed and the surrounding area are what biologists used to help make the determination that it was a jaguar.

Sportsmen have become an important resource for biologists to help identify and learn more about large carnivores, especially those that belong to the cat family like jaguar and ocelot. Arizona Game and Fish report four of the last five confirmed sightings of jaguars in the state have been reported by hunters.

In addition to the jaguar sightings, hunters have also provided two sets of camera trail shots of an ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains this year.

Jaguars have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1973, however they were not protected in United States until 1997. That is the year they were confirmed to be in Arizona and New Mexico.

Arizona Game and Fish ask if you encounter a jaguar or ocelot to report the sighting, with any available photos, to the Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700. 

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