New world wild cat reintroduction

Is it possible to reintroduce Jaguars, Ocelots, jaguarundis and Margays back to the Southeast United States to control invasive and overabundant populations?

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If the climatic conditions, topography and other major reasons like maintenance of habitat and food availability for these animals are available, then may be it could be possible to reintroduce them back to Southern United States.

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And if you can convince local residents and farmers.
We want to live, on the urban edge, with ‘nature’. But only the sanitised bits. (No baboons for Cape Town, leopards long since gone but we do still have caracal)


Is this a school project for you @Monsterkajiu19 ? Are you looking for study sources? If so, There may be some interesting papers on Britain’s rewilding efforts.

In the US, such animals might just end up being shot.


My guess - and I am FAR from an expert on felid ecology, mind you - is that the limiting factor in reintroductions of these species will be intensive human use of the landscape (which likely was why these species disappeared, if they were ever there).

Another really wild guess: If one defines successful reintroduction as the species reproducing and maintaining or perhaps increasing its numbers for a minimum period of time since reintroduction (at least a decade, preferably more), then one needs to find suitable areas of habitat that can support (here’s the wild guess part) a minimum of 20 breeding-age females. The habitats need to be large enough and connected enough that genetic flow is not impeded substantially. In other words, where are there large enough areas of suitable habitat in the southeast, areas without intensive, constant human use? (To my mind, public roads are intensive, but powerline corridors, for example, are not.)

If there are 20 breeding-age females, you’d also have, say (more wild guesses here), a minimum of 5 breeding-age males, plus 20 or more kittens and subadult animals. (Probably more kittens and subadults, actually, to account for the inevitable mortality.)

I just went to the Wikipedia page for Jaguar, here: Let me quote a useful bit from there:

“The home ranges of females vary from 15.3 km2 (5.9 sq mi) in the Pantanal to 53.6 km2 (20.7 sq mi) in the Amazon to 233.5 km2 (90.2 sq mi) in the Atlantic Forest. Male jaguar home ranges vary from 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi) in the Pantanal to 180.3 km2 (69.6 sq mi) in the Amazon to 591.4 km2 (228.3 sq mi) in the Atlantic Forest and 807.4 km2 (311.7 sq mi) in the Cerrado. Studies employing GPS telemetry in 2003 and 2004 found densities of only six to seven jaguars per 100 km2 in the Pantanal region, compared with 10 to 11 using traditional methods; this suggests the widely used sampling methods may inflate the actual numbers of individuals in a sampling area.”

In short, they need BIG areas. I would assume the smaller cats need smaller areas, but still, are there big enough areas of untouched habitat left? Look at how cougars are barely hanging on in southern Florida.

Also, consider the effects of other predators that may have moved in when the felids were extirpated. I’m thinking here of feral domestic cats and dogs, wild canids, and the like (boa constrictors, anyone?). What roles are they playing now that the larger felids used to play?

Enough of wild speculation on my part. My guess would be no, it’s not possible to successfully reintroduce these species, if only the political fallout would be extreme.


Consider how poorly that the reintroduction of the Red Wolves has gone… not that Red Wolves had trouble, but that people just really wanted to shoot coyotes so bad. Oh and that they also wanted to shoot the reintroduced Red Wolves too. (Like somehow hunting permits were issued by wildlife services despite them being on the endangered species list? What the heck.)


Use google and search on jaguar reintroduction in USA. Lots of recent discussion although in SW and not SE.

Sorry for the wait, It’s part of a theoretical dream nature preserve where it’ll be Southeastern grassland ecosytem with large herbivores and carnivores with fenced-in area of 710 square km eventully.

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But could that apply to the southeast u.s and maybe just jaguars and ocelots?

I don’t really have strong opinions on this but whatever happens with these introductions should be done with the opinions of the local people there taken into consideration and working alongside them. That would make any reintroduction most successful.

My dream nature preserve will be like American Prairie and Pleistocene Park, if their livestock like chickens and cattle were killed by predators, we could give them more.
here are the possible counties.

Pike County, Kentucky.

Breathitt County, Kentucky.

I can vaguely recall hearing of Margays before, long ago, but I’ve never heard of a Jaguarundi
What is that? Similar to Jaguars but bigger/smaller?

Sorry for the wait Monday brain, It’s part of a theoretical dream nature preserve where it’ll be Southeastern grassland ecosytem with large herbivores and carnivores with fenced-in area of 710 square km eventully so would it be possible to have a breeding population of 42-49 jaguars and what would the population size for ocelots so they could thrive just from that amount of land?


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There are efforts to reintroduce Jaguars to Arizona. Ocelots are still extant in Texas, they are gone from all other states which they historically occurred in. Maragays and Jaguarundis never had actual native populations in the US, only occasional wanderers, although there is an introduced population of Jaguarundis in Florida.


That’s a large issue when it comes to reintroduction. Sometimes, the public is heavily against it. If I recall correctly, the reintroduction of endangered timber rattlesnakes (of which there are only around 200 in the state) to Mount Zion Island in Massachusetts had to be stopped or put on hold due to public opposition. It’s sad that the public will support reintroduction of more “likeable” or “personable” animals but neglect others in need.


I suggest, rather than a separate thread for each species you think you would like to introduce, you research thorougly the biology of those species. Large mammals are well studied, and the published literature on them can tell you a lot more details than we can.

It seems to me that jaguars are unlikely to succeed in the southeast. If you think about it, cougars were in the southeast much more recently than jaguars – well within historic times – yet there are presently no viable cougar populations east of the Rocky Mountains. The problems preventing cougar reestablisment would have to be solved befote jaguars could have a chance.


I didn’t included them on the list because cougars (Unfortunately not florida panthers) are slowly migrating back to the eastern united states and they be the first predators. There used to be a now extinct subspecies called the Pleistocene jaguar (Panthera onca augusta) that used to be found throughout most of the lower 48 states during the last ice age. Starting would be started as a limited trial, to see if modern ones acclimatize successfully and would arkansas be a good place to put them?

In my opinion, Jaguars will be difficult because it is a big cat. The other 3 are probably possible as those are small cats. and there need to be some considerations whether the stock someone is getting are more true to that area. As subspecies can sometimes exist. Like for example, Jaguar, Lions, tigers have several subspecies. There are many tigers in captivity, but the genetic profile may be mixed or there is no proper record keeping. There are the abnormalities of the white tigers. Feral cats can do alarming damage to birds. and if areas have rare birds, then there need to be some considerations.

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Would either the Appalachian or the Ozarks part of the southeast u.s be good for jaguars and ocelots?

the Ozarks.