Spotting Jaguars in the Jungles of Guyana

December 19, 2011
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Guyana is tucked away in a lesser-known part of South America, and within it is a rarely glimpsed species of big cat — the jaguar.

Many people think they know plenty about the jaguar — a spotted cat that loosely resembles a leopard or cheetah. However, this elusive, South American feline may be known more for the luxury automobiles named after it than its actual qualities.

Jaguars are the largest of South America's big cats, and once roamed throughout the continent from its southern tip up to the U.S.-Mexico border. The species, though not yet threatened, has become slightly less common. Significant numbers of the cat are found only in remote areas of South and Central America like Guyana’s Iwokrama Rainforest, where guests on International Expeditions' Guyana tour spend two nights.

This rainforest, which covers a million acres, is becoming known internationally for its healthy jaguar population. The cats are regularly spotted in the jungle. If the actual cat isn't seen, it is likely that people venturing into the forest for nature travel will see claw marks on trees. This is how the independent felines mark their miles-wide territories.

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