Two jaguars in their natural habitat

International Jaguar Day

International Jaguar Day is observed around the world on November 29th.

Read on to find out more about jaguars, what threats they face, and what you can do to help.

What do jaguars look like?

The third biggest cat in the world after tigers and lions, the jaguar can reach almost 2.5 meters in length and weigh up to 113kg, a bulk required for hunting large prey, although it is worth noting they can differ greatly in size across different regions. Jaguars have a leopard like appearance with fur that is tan or orange in colour, and spots called “rosettes” often featuring a complex pattern of central dots.

Where do jaguars live?

Jaguars are the only big cat to live in the America’s (they were worshipped as Gods in ancient cultures), mostly found in rainforest and tropical wetlands. According to National Geographic, the jaguar once colonised a vast area from central Argentina up to the southwest of the US but they have lost over half this territory since the 1880’s. Now mainly found in the Amazon Basin and the Pantanal in much smaller numbers. WWF estimates Brazil may hold around half the remaining population of jaguars.

What do jaguars eat?

Keen swimmers, jaguars hunt fish, turtles, and even caiman! These carnivorous cats have a diet rich in meat too, with prey including deer, capybaras, and even South America’s largest animal the tapir. Jaguars are nocturnal as well as diurnal, meaning they are capable of night-time and daytime hunting, often travelling over six miles in search of a meal.

About jaguar families

Female jaguars usually have litters of two cubs (but can sometimes birth four). Jaguar cubs are born blind so are totally dependent on their mother. They remain with her for around two years while she fiercely protects them from predators, even their father, until they are ready to fend for themselves.

What are the threats to jaguars?

The jaguar is at an extinction status of ‘near threatened’ and according to Wildlife Conservation Society they face threats mostly from humans including:

  • deforestation for large-scale agriculture such a factory food farms and cattle ranches
  • the building of dams that negatively impact the ecosystem the jaguar depends on to survive
  • hunting of jaguars by farmers protecting their livestock
  • cruel illegal poachers looking to profit from skin, paws, teeth, and other parts for use in traditional Asian medicine

How can I celebrate International Jaguar Day?

As an world-wide event, International Jaguar Day is observed in many different ways. It doesn't matter where you live, or whether you’re an individual or business, you can celebrate by:

  • Awareness & educational events such as conferences & workshops
  • Fundraising events such as concerts, sponsored walks, bake sales or gala balls
  • School events to educate the younger generation early on by using jaguar-related competitions, concerts & films
  • Workshops educating on topics of culling and poaching
  • Media interviews to raise awareness of International Jaguar Day and its mission
  • Peaceful protest marches
  • No matter your nationality, religion, or faith, you can be involved with this important day.

Find out about more animal awareness days here

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Watch Jaguar Spirit to learn more about jaguars

We’ve produced the new short documentary, Jaguar Spirit. This film is a personal journey uncovering how Bolivia became the centre of the illegal jaguar trade.

Watch Jaguar Spirit now:

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