A Jaguarundi Sighting…


    Running along Border Patrol trails in a wildlife refuge area near the Rio Grande, I came upon it. It was a blur at first, but as it scuffled through the cane and underbrush, I am sure of it. I saw the ever elusive jaguarundi.

    Elusive enough that researchers have no official estimate of their wild population in South Texas, these weasel-like cats once roamed the Sabal Palm jungle of the Rio Grande Valley. Now, however, the jaguarundi is fighting for its life. Along with the ocelot, of which there are only 100 left in the South Texas wild, the jaguarundi is one of the endangered animals which a border wall would irrevocably drive out of South Texas and into Mexico. The wall itself would cut off these cats of prey from their source of water and food, while the major disturbance and deforestation associated with a border wall would harm their fragile ecosystem. Animal rights groups, winter Texans, local residents, and Federal agencies have spent millions of dollars procuring wildlife refuge land near the river in hopes of saving numerous endangered species like the jaguarundi I saw darting away into the underbrush yesterday.


    The fate of the jaguarundi and other native flora and fauna has inspired many wildlife activist groups to oppose the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Recently, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club published a public statement stating their opposition to the REAL ID Act which waives important environmental laws (like the 19 waived in the Arizona portion of the border wall). Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife, petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case.

By granting one government official the absolute power to pick and choose which laws apply to border wall construction, the REAL ID Act proves itself to be both inherently dangerous and profoundly un-American. The issue here is not security vs. wildlife, but whether wildlife, sensitive environmental values and communities along the border will be given fair consideration in the decisions the government makes…We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will take up this case in order to protect the fundamental separation of powers principles enshrined in the United States Constitution. (http://www.notexasborderwall.blogspot.com/)

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope echoed the stance of Defenders of Wildlife, stating,

Laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act are part of America’s enduring legal framework, and no agency or public official should be allowed to ignore them…Our laws have provided Americans a voice in the decision-making process that affects their lives, their human rights and the protection of wildlife; our government must not exempt itself from obeying those laws. (http://www.notexasborderwall.blogspot.com/)

The Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife are just a couple of the many groups advocating for the fragile frontera region and campaigning against a border wall.

    It is vital that we oppose this wall on all levels – social, political, economic, financial, and environmental. The national outpouring of disbelief and justified indignation at an environmentally-destructive border wall must continue. I was incredibly fortunate to come across a jaguarundi on one of my many border runs, and I would like my children and my children’s children to be able to run these same gorgeous trails and see what I saw, a sleek jaguarundi scampering off through Sabal Palm trees and towards a beautiful Rio Bravo.

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15 Responses to “A Jaguarundi Sighting…”

  1. S Nicol Says:

    I would count that as payback for your efforts to protect their last remaining habitat.

  2. April is the Cruellest Month… « Smart Borders Says:

    […] vegetation cleared for visibility, mobility, and Border Patrol Access. Having just seen my first jaguarundi this past Saturday, I might be one of the last people to ever see them on American soil if this […]

  3. george zanone Says:

    Spotted positivley week of july 20, 2008 in arkansas south of memphis tn

  4. JTX Says:

    We have 3 adult witnesses that say they saw a Jaguarundi in the north Dallas, Texas, area. It was sighted in a semi rural area not to far from Lake Lavon. They described the animal as a long bodied cat, about 3 feet, with a very long tail. One if the witnesses did some research, knowing that they did not see a cougar. The amazingly long tail was repeatedly described. It was dusk and the truck lights caught it on the side of the narrow, rural road. They said that the animal, with one jump cleared the road, about 25 feet.

  5. A Secure Fence, a Loose Screen Door « Smart Borders Says:

    […] Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff waived over 30 environmental laws under the Real ID Act in his haste to erect a border wall along our southern boundary as per the Secure Fence Act of […]

  6. Shane Says:

    Possible spotted a jaguarundi in Ganado Tx, was coming in from camping at Mauritz boy scout camp (Webelos Winter camp) and saw what I thought was a dog but it moved like a cat. It was colored like a chocolate lab (closest description I can think of) It was crossing the road and by the time I got to it all I could see was the back half going into the brush. I was curious so when I got home I started researching and the jaguarundi was the closest thing to what I saw.

  7. james c hodges Says:

    i too seen a jaguarundi on dec 27 at 715 am in extreme western bowie count texas near the dably springs community–at first–i thought it was an otter

  8. Judy Hill Says:

    I, my husband, and two other people have seen jaguarundi here, in the mountains of Colorado.

  9. Nicole Crawford Says:

    Glad to know I am not mad – I saw one in July 2006 in the Bluffview area of North Dallas in a heavily wooded and brushy area in the middle of the afternoon. I watched it for a good 5 minutes while it was eating some kind of prey. My neighbor saw it too.

  10. Dave King Says:

    I have spotted two color phases of this animal along the Barker-Clodine Bike Path on the western edge of the Barker-Cypress Reservoir near Katy, TX. They may be the same animal…I don’t know… but the first sighting was last winter and the animal was dark gray…saw it again today and it was reddish in color.

    I believe their true range is broader than most references allow.

  11. Susan Grossman Says:

    The other night, our household was woken by the cat rocketing around from window to window, yowling. My husband looked out the window and yelled, because looking back at him was a chocolate-agouti catlike animal with a long neck, rounded ears, round face, and canary yellow eyes…and it was standing with all four feet on the ground looking in the window–which is about 2-1/2 feet from ground level. It was watching the hysterical house kitty with what my husband said looked like an expression of amusement, and then it just turned and left.

    When I showed him the photo from your website, he said, “Yes, that was the face in the window! Those eyes weren’t like any cat eyes I’ve ever seen.”

    Last night at 9 or so I was walking across the development and yelled inside my head, “Holy…what IS that thing?” upon seeing a creature that looked sort of like a cat, except that it was a good 2-1/2 feet long, had a long neck, small head, a proportionately long body, and a long heavy tail that it carried near the ground. It hitched at its shoulders when it walked, like a cougar. It paused, looked at me, and merely went on its way into the shadows.

    We saw it tonight, too, just after sunset; it is hard to see because it stays in the shadows.

    We live in an apartment development in northeast Austin off a main drag. But there is a lot of brush around the development, ample rodents around the garbage dumpsters, and rumors of a population of jaguarundi in the hill country that is 20 minutes away by car.

    I keep telling myself, “It’s just a domestic cat…a really, really, huge, strangely shaped domestic cat that sent the housecat into hysterics and is 2-1/2 feet high…” and then I say, “Nah, that was no kitty cat.” The only thing that fits its description is a juagarundi.

    Many other animals have adapted to exploiting human habitats…so I wonder.

    I hope I can get a better look at it, because whatever it is, this is clearly part of it habitually patrolled territory. I’ll be somewhat disappointed if it turns out to be just a monstrous domestic cat, although I’ll wonder about what genetic experiment produced the creature.

  12. Morgan F Abney Says:

    At present time out where i live close to Andice Texas i am convinced that i have a Jagarundi liveing here she has been showing up for the pst month I dont think she is very old but she seems to have taken up here as i have a self feeder out in my shed with a cat door and from the amount of food that i am putting out as i have a self feeder i know she is here and she is on the best terms with a nutered tom that i have enjoy watching her at night when she comes easeing up on my deck to eat out of morris food as i also put out 2 cans of fncy feast daily any comments as to what i should do around her would be appericqted as she is young and i dont want to scare her off

  13. Gregg Says:

    Live just out of Denton, in country, lot of trees, brush in places. Neighbor 1/2mile from us swears she has one that comes often to her yard. There are fox, coyote, turkey, bobcat, deer, and many other ‘normal’ N. Texas wildlife, and she feeds them all, so guess it’s possible. But I come from the school of ‘have to see it to believe it’. My 16 yr old son swears he saw a ‘mountain lion’, and we gave him a hard time about it, but maybe this is what he saw.

  14. Jim Rodgers Says:

    I have never seen the Jaguarundi, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguar, or Cougar and have only seen 3 Bobcats in my life here in Georgia. I have traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica to Photo wildlife. Even night hikes only turned up footprints. It would thrill me to no end and make my life to see these creature make a come back here in America. I know some folks may say, well you don’t have to deal with Cougar and Jaguars in Georgia, but if you look at the facts human and cows are not on the meal ticket. There has only been 16-18 documented human deaths North America from cougar attacks in the last 120 years and I have personally never heard of a documented Jaguar attack that end in human a death on a human in all of Central America. I am not saying it hasn’t ever happen or is not possible but it sure does not make headline news. More people are kill by, well you name it, than by large predators. Your true fear should be focused on your fellow Homo sapien, especially politicians. Bring back the large and small predators to help us with the deer, Armadillo, and Rat over population. Yes deer kill more people each year in each state than Cougars and Jaguars combined have in the last 120 years.

  15. Ruth Weems Says:

    I believe I have seen a gray Jaguarundi in Kerrville, Texas. He/she hangs around one of the tributaries from the Guadalupe River, where there are fewer people. My Tabby cat, (who is also a little longer than normal), talks to the Jaguarundi at night, from a window inside. They seem to communicate. I have also seen him around a colony of wild domestic cats in the area. However, he is much larger, fuzzier, and definately has the rounded ears, and looks in the dark to be grey and white. The few times I have seen him, it has been dark, with just a driveway light to see him.

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