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Rare black jaguar seized at Merida airport

Young feline getting care at zoo while authorities track illegal traders

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A rare, black jaguar is housed safely at a zoo after being seized at the airport. Photo: Sipse

Merida, Yucatan — Federal authorities took possession of an endangered jaguar that was being smuggled at the Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport.

The black, five-month-old feline is in the custody of the Federal Procurator for Environmental Protection (Profepa).

The confiscation created a buzz on social networks Tuesday afternoon.

The jaguar is an endangered species, listed in the federal government’s official NOM-059-Semarnat-2010, which tracks Mexico’s at-risk flora and fauna.

The Panthera onca is also included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Therefore, international trade of this species is a crime.

Black jaguars are extremely rare, and valuable on the aptly named black market. It is illegal to trade them internationally.

Its customs documentation, which cited a fictitious wildlife conservation organization in Tamaulipas, did not match data found in a microchip implanted under its skin.

The cat, which was transported in an Aeromexico cargo hold, is now housed for safekeeping at the Centenario zoo in Merida.

The most common jaguar is reddish yellow with black spots. They are not considered separate species.

The first black jaguar spotted was in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental. The sighting was recorded in 2004.

The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas.

Sources: Diario de Yucatan, Sipse, Wikipedia

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