THE police received a tip-off.
While a jaguar cub remains quarantined at the Emperor Valley Zoo, there has been rumours ever since of a large jaguar being loose in Palo Seco, Trinidad.
A Palo Seco resident claims he was attacked by the animal and allegedly got only scrap marks on his back. Large paw prints were found in an undisclosed area, but officials could not confirm what animal made them. There are claims a Jaguar attacked a dog. However, officials have not confirmed the existence of a Jaguar roaming the area. In fact, the authorities have called off the search.
Lots of people, including me, seem to not know much about Jaguars. I took this opportunity to do some research on the net and found some interesting information to share with readers:
- Jaguars are apex predators, meaning they have no natural predators. Only humans kill them. Its’ bite is about 3 times more powerful than a lion’s. A lion’s bite force is approximately 650 psi (pounds per square inch). A Jaguar’s bite force is an incredible 1500 psi!
- The jaguar’s bite is so powerful, it can crack open the shell of large turtles and the bone of large crocodiles. And yes, their diet includes crocodiles, meaning they hunt in the water as well as on land. And they apparently really enjoy hunting in the water, as they said to be excellent swimmers.
- The jaguar’s diet is very diverse: they are recorded to eat 85 species of animals including mammals such as cattle, deer and tapir, but also reptiles (crocodiles etc.) and even fish.
- Other wild cats such as lions are known for chasing prey to catch and kill them, but not Jaguars. Their preferred method is to use their camouflage to stalk their prey and ambush it. They kill with a single pounce and inflict a single lethal bite. It is said no animal stands much of a chance against its deadly bite.
- The jaguar’s powerful jaw has sharp pointed canines. And they have an unusual way of killing its prey: after pouncing, it bites the back of the skull to inflict injury on the prey’s brain, usually a lethal one. They reportedly start eating their prey at the chest area, with the heart and lungs being preferred. It is surmised this is the most nutritious part of the prey for jaguars. Jaguars are so strong; they can climb up trees with its prey to feast on it. The dangerous and illegal wildlife trade in T&T hit a new low on May 3. That is the day a jaguar cub, 33 exotic birds and three caimans were reportedly rescued from an abandoned campsite in Diego Martin.
- Like dogs, jaguars mark out their territory with urine. But also claw marks. While they are commonly found in forested areas and low-lying wetlands, they are said to prefer wetter areas near water and flood plains, as this may have the food that they prefer eating.
- The lifespan of a jaguar can be approximately 16 years in the wild.
- Some researchers claim jaguars prefer hunting at dusk and at dawn, some say they prefer hunting at night. They apparently have better night vision than day vision. But jaguars are noted to hunt both in day and night. It mostly depends on what prey they are hunting.
- Jaguars don’t like being in captivity, such as zoos.
- Jaguars are supposedly least likely to kill people, unless they are cornered or wounded. Due to loss of territory to deforestation etc., scientists note much human-jaguar conflicts to be centred upon attacks on pet dogs.
It is clear a jaguar is a dangerous animal. Researchers say they serve a very important purpose to keep wildlife populations under control. But since 2002, they have been classified as a near-threatened species, meaning they are getting really close to be an endangered species. Jaguars are deserving of great respect and awe. Even ancient civilisations in Central and South America looked upon jaguars as God-like, mystical and revered.
If there is a jaguar roaming somewhere out there, I pray it is safely captured and returned to its native habitat to live out the rest of its life. Be safe T&T!
Copyright © 2023 Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E. is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator.
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