Returning Jaguars

Case ID:

Scientists at the UA Conservation Genetics Lab created the documentary “Returning Jaguars” for viewers to learn about the Southern Arizona jaguar as well as topics such as regional land management and conservation that impacts the jaguars. The documentary describes methods of jaguar detection motion cameras, scat sampling, and hair sampling. The camera tracking method for jaguars and ocelots uses cameras deployed at 140 sites over 16 mountain ranges, and the success of this method makes it a model for other research programs tracking large mammals. Given the large number of cameras and large detection area, collaboration with local residents and multiple government agencies is vital. This documentary serves to educate both the general public and residents with affected land about the program, its impact, and its importance.

In Southern Arizona over the last 15 years, solitary male jaguars—typically one at any given time—have migrated from Northern Mexico into Southern Arizona and New Mexico. Controversial lawsuits and federal actions for habitat designation for this endangered species has raised concerns in the ranching community that operates on—and in some cases owns—the land within these boundaries. Although habitat designation fuels the perception that the ranching livelihood is under threat, it’s unlikely that the designation in itself will have any impact on the ranching operations within jaguar critical habitat. Instead, the protection of these large, unfragmented open spaces is mutually critical for both the jaguar and the ranchers.

The National Park Service describes different wildlife monitoring programs, such as at Point Reyes National Seashore. In Canada, wildlife sensor and alert systems have been set up to reduce the number of collisions with large animals such as moose. Google has funded the Wildlife Crime Technology Project to combat poaching using an umbrella of technology tools.

Arizona agencies and organization that may be interested in the documentary include Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Fish & Game, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association, Arizona Dude Ranch Association, and Border Patrol.


  • Nature documentary
  • Camera work


  • Better coverage
  • Wildlife tracking
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Jay Martin
Licensing Associate, Software and Copyright
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
A Departmental Work