The photo includes only the tail and a small portion of a hind quarter of the animal, making positive identification more difficult. Game and Fish is now consulting with outside experts about the photo, taken Sept. 23 and submitted by a sportsman, to better identify the species.
"We have definitively determined that it is either a jaguar or an ocelot, but we need to do further analysis of the animal's spot patterns and size to try to positively identify which species it is," said Game and Fish Nongame Branch Chief Eric Gardner.
Four of the last five confirmed jaguar sightings in Arizona have been reported by hunters, who all took responsible action to document the animal and report it to Game and Fish. Sportsmen also provided Game and Fish with two sets of trail camera photos of an ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains in 2012. These hunters have provided biologists with critical information that may not otherwise be known, information that will help increase the understanding of these species' existence in the borderland area.