Jaguars are gone from the United States, except for a few in the border areas between the US and Mexico, where about 100 are estimated to remain. An additional 15,000 live in the wild in Central and South America. One million years ago they were also common in Europe.
Closely related to leopards, jaguars are stockier, with stronger canine teeth than other large cats. They kill their prey, including turtles and crocodiles, by crushing the skulls with their bite. Jaguars only rarely attack humans, but they like the cattle that humans keep on their ranches.
And so they are killed by cattle ranchers. They are also hunted for sport and for their fur coats.
Jaguars occupy a wide variety of habitats, but they prefer wet lowlands and tropical rainforests. The males need a large home range, and human development leading to habitat destruction and deforestation is also a factor in the jaguars’ decline.
One interesting fact I learned: black jaguars are a result of a mutation in the gene for coat colors.