Jaguars are awesome creatures. Anyone who has read my book Fighters & Writers knows of my personal interest in them. In the essay “Ink” I liken the cats to boxers, specifically comparing their fierce aggression to heavyweight Joe Frazier’s relentless ringmanship. A fascinating story in the October 2011 Smithsonian also makes the feline/fighter connection. Journalist Sharon Guynup describes a team of researchers in Brazil examining a tranquilized jaguar:
It takes five men to heft the cat onto a scale: He weighs 203 pounds. They measure his length, girth, tail and skull. He bears evidence of fighting, probably battling another male over territory. [Veterinarian Joares] May dabs salve on half-healed cuts covering the cat’s massive head and paws. He’s also missing half an ear. The team nicknames him “Holyfield,” after Evander Holyfield, the boxer who lost a portion of his ear to Mike Tyson’s teeth in 1997; certainly the jaguar’s compact, muscular body radiates the power of a prizefighter.
Regarding the much-needed conservation efforts Guynup chronicles, one of her sources reflects, “the jaguar really has a fighting chance.” Sounds about right.