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Wildlife biologist Jon McRoberts is roaming Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to research the habits and habitat of the elusive ocellated wild turkey. But an unexpected reward of his research is a rare glimpse at the other inhabitants of the jungle. -All photos are property of Jon McRoberts
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McRoberts set up trail cameras to monitor walk-in traps set for turkeys. They didn’t work well for that purpose, but the cameras revealed a rich hidden life of the jungle.
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“We got photos of at least three or four different jaguars in an area where even the locals had no idea there were jaguars,” says McRoberts, whose research is being sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
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“We got photos of ocelots and pumas, which are just like the mountain lions of the West, except these big cats live in dense jungle rainforests,” McRoberts says.
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Jaguars are typically solitary creatures and have home ranges that consist of several square miles, which makes this photo even more astonishing.
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Here is a juvenile female jaguar.
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A stable population of jaguars hasn’t been found in the U.S. since the early 1900s.
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Jaguars have an incredibly powerful bite. They have been known to chomp through turtle shells, and they often kill their prey by biting through its skull.
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Jaguars thrive in wet habitats. They regularly frequent swamps and flooded forests.
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Large male jaguars have weighed in at more than 250 pounds.
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Jaguars were an important aspect in ancient native American culture. Their name comes from “yaguar,” which means “he who kills with one leap.”
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Here’s a puma, also known as a mountain lion or cougar.
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These stealthy cats inhabit most of South America. They can also be found in the American West, and have been migrating back to the Midwest for years.
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Ocelots, which grow to about twice the size of a house cat, are mostly nocturnal. They prey on rabbits, iguanas, frogs, monkeys and birds.
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