By Henry Hanks
(CNN) — Among the large cats roaming the Earth, the jaguar is the only one native to North and South America.
However, wild jaguars were not known for sure to be in the United States — until now.
One elusive wild jaguar has been captured in video in the Santa Rita Mountains just outside Tucson, Arizona.
“Studying these elusive cats anywhere is extremely difficult, but following the only known individual in the U.S. is especially challenging,” Chris Bugbee, a biologist with Conservation CATalyst, said in a news release by the Center for Biological Diversity, which placed the video on their Facebook page.
“We use our specially trained scat detection dog and spent three years tracking in rugged mountains, collecting data and refining camera sites; these videos represent the peak of our efforts.”
Remote sensor cameras were set up in these mountain ranges to look for endangered animals like this one.
“Just knowing that this amazing cat is right out there, just 25 miles from downtown Tucson, is a big thrill,” Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center, said in the news release.
El Jefe, as he is known in Tucson, has been photographed repeatedly over the past few years by remote sensor cameras in the Santa Ritas, the news release said. El Jefe means “the boss” in Spanish.
“El Jefe has been living more or less in our backyard for more than three years now. It’s our job to make sure that his home is protected and he can get what he needs to survive.”
™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.