J is for Jaguar
One of the most beautiful, golden cats has to be the jaguar. Here is a brilliant photo by Diriye Amey on Flikr, of a jaguar in the wild at Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa.
She moves as smooth
as shadow clouds
and leaves the ground
her skin is light
and glides her bones,
her eyes sun bright;
she prowls alone
in and out
she takes a
throws a leap
of teeth and claws,
and bites through
of her kill.
© Liz Brownlee
Jaguars are the largest cat in South America, and are now mainly confined to the Amazon basin. Formerly they used to roam as far north as the US/Mexico border.
They have the most beautiful coats – golden light marked with black rosettes.
Unlike most other cats they are good swimmers and often frequent river banks to ambush prey going to drink, and using stealth they also tackle creatures like crocodiles and caymen. They drop from trees and stalk prey through the forest – but in each case they kill by pouncing from behind, crushing neck vertebrae and skulls with one powerful bite.
They see six times as well as us in the dark due to a reflective area in the back of their eyes.
Female jaguars usually have two babies, but can have up to four – she defends them fiercely, even from the male, as male jaguars are prone to killing young.
Jaguars are falling prey to fragmentation of their habitat and are still hunted for their exquisite pelt.
Their name derives from the South African word ‘yajuar’ which means he who kills with one leap.
They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This video was taken when the President and CEO of the WWF was visiting the Tapajós River in Brazil’s Juruena National Park. By complete coincidence he was in a boat crossing the river when he and the crew spotted one of the world’s rarest cats – a pure black jaguar.
Photo © Diriye Amey
Poem © Liz Brownlee
Information from Wiki.
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