How many jaguars are left in the world 2022?

There are two very sad facts to report in answering the question in the title. Firstly, there are websites and videos which greatly misrepresent the world population size of the jaguar. For example, there’s a video on YouTube which says that there are almost 200,000 Jaguars in 19 countries including America. The video is complete rubbish and it is dangerous because it gives the impression that there is a large jaguar population in the world and believe me there is not. I have reported it to the administrators. The jaguar population is tiny and fragmented.

Another website states that there are 15,000 jaguars in the world, in the wild. This, too, is inaccurate in my view because the world experts on the conservation of the species do not feel confident enough to provide a number at all. They say that the current population trend is decreasing but under the heading “NUMBER OF MATURE INDIVIDUALS” it is blank. There’s nothing.

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How do jaguars adapt to the rainforest? Eons of evolution. Photo in public domain.
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I’m referring to the IUCN Red List. This is an organisation charged with knowing all about the conservation of the species. They have to know the number of animals left in the world before they can assess whether a species is threatened with extinction or not. That is their primary duty. They provide a badge to each animal which classifies it in terms of threats to survival. They classify the jaguar as Near Threatened. This surprises me because they don’t know how many there are!

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) state on their website that: “They’re so elusive that we don’t know exactly how many are left in the wild – but we do know their numbers are dropping.”

They, too, do not have the confidence to even provide an estimate as to the number in the wild.

Most sites that I visited do not provide an estimate as to numbers. One site: Our Endangered World, states that the estimated numbers left in the wild are 8000 to 16,000 ‘though uncertain’. I think that is a big overestimate. They are guessing and they do not provide any supporting evidence or reference for those figures.

I am convinced that no matter how long I research this matter I will not find an authoritative and reliable figure for the number of jaguars left in the world, in the wild, as at 2022 because HUMANKIND DOES NOT KNOW.

jaguars in water
Jaguars like water and go fishing. Photo: Alan.

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The best book on the wild cat species, Wild Cats of the World (2002) by the Sunquists states that as at the date of publication of the book, optimistically, there were 2,500-3,500 jaguars in Venezuela. They thought that there were an estimated 3,500 jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal but this was downgraded to around 1,000 by another expert. In Guatemala they thought that there were an estimated 500-800. The jaguar was and presumably still is considered to be extinct in Chile, El Salvador and Uruguay and approaching extinction in Argentina, Costa Rica and Panama. Those are the best figures we have but they are 20 years old. Please be very cynical about the figures that you see on the Internet because the experts do not know.

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