Tag Archives: Smithsonian Magazine/El Jefe



This particular jaguar has become somewhat famous as detailed in Smithsonian Magazine, October 2016. Though likely born in the Mexican State of Sonora, he roams the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. He even has a name, El Jefe, and is a most gorgeous jaguar covered in rosettes arranged in a unique pattern. Young males range into new territory and hence the crossing into Arizona.

At one time jaguars roamed throughout this region in southern Arizona, known as the “Sky Island mountain ranges, each range separated from others by desert and grasslands. In this area the Apaches under Cochise and Geronimo once held the land, and shared it with grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions, jaguars and ocelots.

Some wildlife specialists believe Arizona can expect more jaguars to migrate north. El Jefe found plenty to eat in this area and has grown to a big adult male in his prime. Open pit mining and or a border wall will not make life easy for this wildlife.

A Canadian mining company plans to build a gigantic open-pit copper mine in this territory. If the project becomes a reality this mine would be the third-largest copper mine in the U.S. And so at present El Jefe could hold up a project worth jobs and money for the local economy. No such conflict is simple.

This intensely interesting article from Smithsonian details interesting information into the wildlife research in this area of the Santa Rita Mountains with heights of 9000 plus feet. The writer also documents a dog known as Mayke, a 65 pound Belgian Malinois, born in Germany, and now trained to track jaguar scat to assist biologists in learning the movements of the jaguar. It also documents the complicated issues of jaguar and habitat vs. the disfiguring landscape of mining. Such a mine as the one planned for this area, a mile wide and a half mile deep dynamited out of the foothills can generate anywhere from 55-88 round trip shipments a day of ore and dump more than a billion tons of toxic mine waste against the mountains in piles 600-800 feet high.

Find the article at www.smithsonianmag.com/…/return-great-American-jaguar
Or try goggling El Jefe Was Here, or American jaguar. Hopefully you’ll find a fascinating video of El Jefe on the move. Or check your library for this issue of Smithsonian Magazine.