Eng / Esp
Play Video Donate

06/26/18 - Jaguar Journey

An Epic Endeavor to Save the Jaguar Corridor

Sixteen years after he initiated a radical shift in jaguar conservation, Panthera’s Dr. Alan Rabinowitz is returning to jaguar country on a singular mission: to secure the path of the jaguar from Mexico to Argentina.

Over the next three years, Dr. Rabinowitz and Dr. Howard Quigley, head of Panthera’s Jaguar Program, will journey deep into jaguar range with Panthera’s scientists and partners. They’ll shine a light on the progress being made–and the challenges in places where jaguars are most at risk—and explore the powerful cultural connections to Latin America’s iconic cat.

In a race against time, they’ll seek to accelerate the decisive actions needed to save the jaguar and the incredible diversity of life that depends on its survival.

Patrick Meier

“The Jaguar Corridor exists today because the jaguar shaped it and owned it, overcoming all obstacles that stood in its way. Although human beings are relative latecomers to the story of the jaguar, they are the crucial determinant in what comes next for the species.”

Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, Panthera

The Jaguar Corridor

Almost two decades ago, Panthera co-founder Dr. Alan Rabinowitz catalyzed a profound shift in jaguar conservation. All jaguars, it had recently been discovered, shared the same DNA. That genetic integrity, preserved across thousands of miles, meant that jaguars were living and breeding and dispersing along a connected path throughout the entirety of their range. To save the jaguar, Dr. Rabinowitz proposed, would require ensuring their safe passage along that path, from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. Christening it the Jaguar Corridor, Dr. Rabinowitz set the stage for one of the most ambitious conservation efforts in the world.

The 5,000 mile Jaguar Corridor meanders through protected areas, as well as places where humans have also made their mark: citrus groves, cattle ranches, palm oil plantations, and even the Panama Canal. It is in these mostly unprotected corridors where jaguars encounter the most danger. Loss of habitat and natural prey, plus increased encounters with humans that are often deadly to the cats, can lead to the isolation of jaguar populations. Their gene pools become more shallow, diminishing their legendary resilience. From isolation, it’s a slippery slope to extinction.

Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative seeks to protect jaguars across their entire range. In partnership with governments, corporations, and local communities, Panthera is working to preserve the genetic integrity of the jaguar by protecting core jaguar populations and the vital connectivity that has sustained them for hundreds of thousands of years.

back to top

Know the jaguar




LATIN NAMEPanthera onca

VARIOUSLY KNOWN AS | jaguar, yaguareté, and el tigre


LIFE SPANUp to 16 years in the wild




The jaguar has fascinated human beings for millennia, an iconic symbol of wildness and raw power that inspires both worship and fear. Indeed, this mysterious, muscular creature is one of contradictions: comfortable on land and in water, at home in the arid shrublands of Mexico and the lush jungles of Brazil, unfazed by the snapping jaws of a caiman, but afraid of a donkey. A study in contrasts, like the distinctive black rosettes against its golden fur, the jaguar is both a deadly predator and increasingly vulnerable prey.

Relative to its weight, jaguars have the strongest bite force of all big cats, which they use to crush the head of their prey. In some regions, jaguars use these brawny chompers to bite through sea turtle shells

The jaguar has very broad feet with distinctly stubby and splayed digits.These paws are perfect for navigating muddy ground and act as swimming paddles.

Jaguars’ spots are known as rosettes. Like fingerprints, each jaguar has its own unique set of rosettes that scientists use to identify them.

Melanistic jaguars, or black jaguars, have a genetic mutation, but are the same species. They occur more in the lowland tropical forests of Brazil and Bolivia.

Jaguars are, for the most part, solitary creatures. Although their territories often overlap with other jaguars, they keep their distance through roars and spray marking. Although not common, males sometimes do clash over territory and over females.



Jaguars are found in 18 countries in Latin America, from Northern Mexico to Northern Argentina. While the rare individual has been spotted in the United States, there hasn’t been evidence of a breeding population in the U.S. in more than 50 years.


back to top


During the 1960s and 1970s, the jaguar was heavily hunted for its fur; as many as 18,000 jaguars were killed each year until 1973, when the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) brought the pelt trade to a near halt. Today, the biggest threats facing jaguars are still human-caused.

Habitat Conversion

The widespread conversion of land for ranching and commercial agriculture consumes the habitat used by jaguars and their prey, and fragments jaguar populations—making them vulnerable to isolation and ultimate extinction.

Cattle Conflict

With ranches dominating their habitat and natural prey scarce in these deforested landscapes, cattle become easy pickings for a hungry jaguar. The loss of livestock can prompt a rancher to kill a jaguar in retaliation, or even preventively to guard against future losses.

Human Activity

In developing areas, new roads and highways, dams, and other infrastructure pose an increasing danger to jaguars. Illegal mining pollutes jaguars’ water and food sources with dangerous chemical.

Emerging Threat: Poaching

Poaching of jaguars for their skins, claws, bones, and teeth is on the rise in some parts of Latin America. As wild tigers become increasingly scarce, hunters are targeting jaguars to feed the illegal trade in big cat parts coveted for use in traditional Asian medicines.

back to top

Calling All Jaguar Advocates

The Journey of the Jaguar is made possible thanks to the support of a group of remarkable individuals who share Panthera’s vision of a thriving Jaguar Corridor for generations to come. We hope that their commitment to jaguar conservation inspires more Jaguar Advocates to join the journey, wherever you live, in whatever way you can.

Visit the Get Involved page to see how you can help.

– $25,000 or more:
Michael Cline, Jane Fraser, Bokara Legendre, Edith McBean, and Pamela and Renke Thye

– $10,000-$24,999:
Sunny and Bradley Goldberg, Anita Keefe, Jennifer and George Lodge, and Paula Alyce Scully

– $5,000-$9,999:
Gay and Tony Barclay

back to top