The Return of the Jaguar in the Yucatán Peninsula
The return of the Jaguar has been noted in the Yucatan Peninsula since the time of the Chichén Itzá, the ancient site of which is located 20 km (12 mi) north-east of the city of Mérida. The first documentary mention of this animal was in the chronicles of the Spaniards which refers to a jaguar as being present at Chichén Itzá during the era of the Aztecs.
This animal was sighted and recorded by the first Spanish explorers, by way of the Yucatan peninsula, in 1692. In his report, Martínez de Campos writes that they encountered the jaguar near the mouth of the Yucatan River, near an Indian village. He reported that, during the night of 26 July 1692, they saw a “tall, robust and well-built black monster”. A photograph of this animal was published in 1868 in the journal of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.
This animal was sighted and recorded by the Spanish in other nearby localities, including in nearby Villahermosa and the Maya site of Yaxche, located on the road to Uxmal.
From 1869 to 1876 the animal was sighted numerous times in the nearby Yucatan and the reports of these encounters and observations were published in a series of papers in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science.
However, this was not the only place where the animal was sighted. Between 1872 and 1880, it was sighted in the nearby town of Tulum, between Acapulco and Cancún.
This animal was sighted and reported by the first Spaniards on the Caribbean coast of what became Mexico, after their withdrawal from this region during the 16th century. However, they remained in the vicinity in order to protect their cattle. The first written reference to it (in the journal of the author of the document) is from 1852. The first published report is from 1873, when it was observed in the region of Yucat