Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, September 17, 2015

Contacts: Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504,
Patricia Acosta, Valencia Middle School Principal, (520) 248-0197,

Tucson Students Will Cast Votes to Help Name Only Known Jaguar in the U.S.

TUCSON, Ariz.— Students at Felizardo Valencia Middle School on Sept. 22 will hold an all-school assembly to cast their votes to name the Tucson-area jaguar, the only known jaguar in the United States. Students will also be choosing a name for the school’s jaguar mascot. The school is also providing its students with science units about the history and ecology of jaguars in the Southwest.

Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity is hosting a naming contest for the wild jaguar, which lives in the Santa Rita Mountains less than 30 miles from downtown Tucson. Anyone can vote online at The winning name will be revealed in October.

What: All-school assembly at Valencia Middle School to cast votes to name the Tucson jaguar, the only known jaguar in the United States.

When: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 3:15 p.m.-4:15pm

Where: Valencia Middle School amphitheater, 4400 W. Irvington Rd.

Visuals: Large, hand-made jaguar puppets and costumes, students casting their votes and participating in a jaguar obstacle course relay race, comments by school personnel and jaguar advocates, new photos of the Santa Ritas’ jaguar in the wild.

Interviews: Organizers and school representatives will be available for interviews.

Jaguars — the third-largest cats in the world after lions and tigers — once lived throughout the American Southwest and beyond, with historical reports on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the mountains of Southern California and as far east as Louisiana. Jaguars disappeared from their U.S. range over the past 150 years due to clearing of forests, draining of wetlands, being killed for their pelts and finally exterminated by government predator control programs to protect livestock. The last female jaguar in the U.S. was shot by a hunter in 1963 in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim. Although jaguars in Mexico, Central and South America are declining as well, dispersing male jaguars — most likely coming from a breeding population 130 miles south of the border — have periodically established ranges in the U.S. in recent decades.

A jaguar has been photographed by trail cameras more than 100 times in the Santa Rita Mountains over the past three years. It’s the first documented jaguar in the U.S. since the death of the famous jaguar Macho B in 2009.

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