The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest feline in America and the only living representative of the Panthera genus on the continent. It is mainly nocturnal, but can be active early in the morning. The jaguar is an excellent swimmer and has been seen in large rivers and also on land. Its long fangs and claws allow it to attack large animals, even two or three times heavier than its own weight. The jaguar is an opportunistic predator, capable of killing almost any prey it encounters. The female calves one to four young per litter after a gestation period that takes between three and four months. The life expectancy of jaguars is up to 10 years in the wild and up to 22 years in captivity.


The western populations of Ecuador appear as Critically Endangered (CR) and those of the East as Endangered (EN), according to the Red List of the country. On the IUCN list, it is listed as a Near Threatened (NT) species. Although the jaguar population is still abundant worldwide, there are many parts of its life area where it is in danger of extinction and others where it has completely disappeared. The jaguar is threatened by the loss and fragmentation of the habitat, the people-fauna conflict and the overfishing of the species on which it feeds (mainly peccaries, deers, and cabiparas).