Humans are the main threat to the jaguar. A jaguar seldom, if ever, attacks humans unless it is cornered. Humans hunt the jaguar for sport, for its spotted hide, and to protect their domestic stock. The jaguar is endangered because it is hunted for its fur, and farmers kill the jaguar because it killed their cattle. Jaguars are reputed to be so destructive of cattle and horses that the larger Mexican ranches retain a 'tiger hunter' to kill them or at least drive them away. Poaching jaguars by hunting is still a problem, as there is a great demand for their coats. Today, there is still poaching, but not nearly as common as before. During the sixties and seventies, around 18,000 jaguars were killed every year for their beautiful coat. Formerly prized furs, such as those from the leopard, cheetah, or jaguar, may no longer be hunted in the countries where they are indigenous, and many other countries forbid their importation. The Federal Endangerment Species Act prohibits the importation and sale of these furs in the United States. In addition, special laws that protect certain North American species are enforced in the United States and in Canada, and wildlife refuges have been set up for the purpose of protecting the jaguar. The jaguar is a beautiful and graceful animal; it needs protection and conservation measures so they don't become extinct.
Jaguars are found on the American continents; they live in Texas, in the Cerro Colorado Mountains in Arizona, the southern part of California, and New Mexico, in the United States, and are found in rain forests in Central and South America. The largest known population exists in the Amazon rain forests. Black jaguars live in South America. Jaguars are also found in Africa and Asia. Until the 1900s, they also roamed the Yukon, southern United States to Uruguay, and Iceland.
The number of jaguars has declined over the last 100 years mainly because humans have slashed and burned many of their homelands in Central and South America; new cities are being built, and the forests and grasslands are being cleared. The destruction of the jaguar's habitat from logging and cattle ranching as well as having to compete with humans for food has brought a large decease in its population. One of the problems experienced by the jaguars is when the grasses that help hide them are dying because of smog problems. More jaguars are killed as the demand for their fur increases. In hunting, the jaguar is usually chased by dogs until it runs up a tree or until it is cornered on the ground; then it is shot. The Bororo Indians of Mato Grosso, Brazil hunt them with spears. When a jaguar is cornered on the ground, the hunter gets it to rush him, and then catches it on his spear as it leaps at him.
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