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The tail is the shortest of any big cat, at 45 to 75 cm (18 to 30 in) in length.Further variations in size have been observed across regions and habitats, with size tending to increase from north to south.The inclusion of the United States in the list is based on occasional sightings in the southwest, particularly in Arizona, The jaguar is a protected species in the United States under the Endangered Species Act, which has stopped the shooting of the animal for its pelt.In 1996 and from 2004 on, hunting guides and wildlife officials in Arizona photographed and documented jaguars in the southern part of the state.
It is now locally extinct in El Salvador and Uruguay.The position of the remaining species varies between studies and is effectively unresolved.Based on morphological evidence, British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock concluded the jaguar is most closely related to the leopard. The fur is covered with rosettes for camouflage in the dappled light of its forest habitat.Though there are single cats now living within the western United States, the species has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century.It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List; and its numbers are declining. The jaguar is the biggest cat species in South America, and the second biggest in Central or North America after the cougar.