TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A trail camera in Cochise County captured an image of a jaguar that scientists say has never been seen before.
According to a news release from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the jaguar was photographed on Nov. 16, 2016, in the Dos Cabezas Mountains 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Game and Fish scientists analyzed the photo, comparing the big cat's spot patterns to other jaguars sighted in Arizona. The sex of the jaguar could not be determined.
"Since 2012, an increase in trail camera monitoring of mountainous habitat in southern Arizona has provided increased documentation and a better understanding of jaguar presence and habitat preferences," Steve Spangle, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Arizona Field Supervisor, said in the release. "This supports the phenomenon that jaguars seeking territories outside of competitive breeding areas in Mexico continue to occasion Arizona."
A male jaguar was repeatedly documented in the Whetstone and Santa Rita mountains 2011-2015. Another male has been photographed twice in the Huachuca Mountains in December 2016 and January 2017.
The jaguar is protected in the U.S. as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
MOBILE USERS: More photos of Arizona's jaguars can be seen HERE.
Nation's only wild jaguar spotted south of Tucson (Feb. 3, 2016)
Benson hunter speaks out after encounter with jaguar (2011)
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