One of the most powerful and striking of all the big cats, the jaguar (Panthera onca) is the only living member of the genus Panthera native to the Americas. The jaguar is the largest native cat species of the New World and the third largest cat in the world.
The jaguar’s present range extends from the Southwestern United States and Mexico in North America, across much of Central America, and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina in South America. Though there are single cats now living within the Western United States, the species has largely been wiped out from the United States since the early 20th century. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers are declining.
The jaguar enjoys swimming and is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain. The jaguar is a keystone, flagship, and umbrella species, and an apex predator that plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating prey populations.