Photos (not local): Jaguarundi, black jaguar, and melanistic jaguar with spots visible
By Miriam Raftery
January 22, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--A rash of sightings of large black wildcats have been reported in East County, most recently in Spring Valley. While thus far no one has captured photos of the animals, the growing number of sightings from seemingly credible sources—including an East County Magazine reporter, raises some intriguing questions.
- Are these cats escaped exotic pets, or could one or more black jaguars, believed extinct in California, or smaller jaguarundis have found their way back into our region?
- Both jaguars and jaguarundis are critically endangered in the U.S. If these rare cats are regaining a toehold in our region, is anything being done to protect them from being shot by ranchers, law enforcement, or wildlife officials who may be unaware of their protected status?
Most recently, on January 5, Southwestern College language and literature professor Dan Moody told ECM that his mother, Dee Moody saw a jet-black, large cat that weighted at least 60 pounds walk across an open field behind her Spring Valley house on January 4 -- in broad daylight.