Maya, a young jaguar at the Dreher Park Zoo. The Jaguar, Panthera onca, is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus. It is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest and most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar’s present range extends from Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a known and possibly breeding population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 1900s.

This spotted cat most closely resembles the leopard physically, although it is usually larger and of sturdier build and its behavioral and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the tiger. While dense rainforest is its preferred habitat, the jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrain. It is strongly associated with the presence of water and is notable, along with the tiger, as a feline that enjoys swimming. The jaguar is a largely solitary, stalk-and-ambush predator, and is opportunistic in prey selection. It is also an apex and keystone predator, playing an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of prey species. The jaguar has developed an exceptionally powerful bite, even relative to the other big cats. This allows it to pierce the shells of armoured reptiles and to employ an unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of prey between the ears to deliver a fatal blow to the brain.

The jaguar is a near threatened species and its numbers are declining. Threats include habitat loss and fragmentation. While international trade in jaguars or their parts is prohibited, the cat is still regularly killed by humans, particularly in conflicts with ranchers and farmers in South America. Although reduced, its range remains large; given its historical distribution, the jaguar has featured prominently in the mythology of numerous indigenous American cultures, including that of the Maya and Aztec.

Dreher Park Zoo, Palm Beach, FL

Proceeds from the sale of this image will be donated to the US Fish & Wildlife Service to help with their conservation efforts.

Nikon D70s
70-300mm @ 300mm
F8, 1/640
ISO 500
8/24/09 – 594/154


beach, port, florida, palm, nature, animals, wildlife, zoo, cats, saint, jaguar, charity, spots, maya, donna, lucie, adamski

All photos © 2014 Donna Adamski and may not be used, copied, reproduced, modified, transmitted, stored, printed, downloaded, or transferred in any way or form without written consent. Any exploitation of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without express written permission is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. My images do NOT belong to the public domain.

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  • Bea Godbee
    Bea Godbeeabout 5 years ago

    OHHHHHHHHHHH, what a splendidly beautiful “kitty”!!! Gorgeous capture Donna of this lovely jaguar! Instant fav!!!—-Hugzzzzzzzzz—-Bea :D))XXXXXXX

  • She’s a beauty and I got lots of photos of her!! She loved her little pond! Thanks so much my friend and for the favoring :) Hugzzz

    – Donna Adamski

  • Rosemaree
    Rosemareeabout 5 years ago

    Very mice capture Donna.. Love the tongue action…

  • LOL. It was unexpected, but at the right moment of shutter click! Thanks a bunch Rosemaree :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • jujubean
    jujubeanabout 5 years ago

    Outstanding Donna! Love the crop and the tongue lapping up the water.

  • Thanks Juju and for the favoring. I just wanted to go in there with her and play!! :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • Anne Gitto
    Anne Gittoabout 5 years ago

    Wow, to up close & personal, but beautiful.

  • LOL! She was behind the glass…darn it!! Thanks so much Anne :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyabout 5 years ago

    Fantastic capture, Donna…

  • Thanks so much. She’s a beauty and I have a few photos of her!! :)

    – Donna Adamski

    HEATHSEabout 5 years ago

    Such a natural shot!

  • Thank you so much Sandra :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • sundawg7
    sundawg7about 5 years ago

    Awesome capture Donna, and a whole hearted fave…and a half. You couldn’t have caught this any better. Hugzzz, Ron

  • She was a great subject to photograph…got a few!! Thanks so much Ron and for adding this to your favorites :) Hugzzz

    – Donna Adamski

  • Franco De Luca Calce
    Franco De Luca...about 5 years ago

    Wonderful capture!

  • Thank you very mucn Franco :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • Scott  d'Almeida
    Scott d'Almeidaover 4 years ago

    great work,

  • Thanks so much Scott! :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • CJTill
    CJTillover 4 years ago

    Awesome work Donna.

  • Thanks Colin. It was a bit of trouble to find a really clean spot on the glass!! :)

    – Donna Adamski

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