El Santo was donated to Animal Ark by Project Survival’s Cat Haven to help raise awareness of the plight of the jaguar. Originally, Santo was intended for another facility but they could not take him, so another home was sought. Project Survival is a non-profit organization that exists to support wild cat awareness, research, and conservation. The jaguar is the largest cat of the Americas. Historically, it ranged from the southwestern US to the tip of South America. Today, there are occasional sightings of jaguars in the region surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly in Arizona.
The average life span of a jaguar in the wild is 12 to 15 years. Capable of reaching weights of 250 lbs, the jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion. The jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrains, and, like the tiger, enjoys swimming. Sadly, the jaguar is a near threatened species and listed as endangered in the U.S. Its numbers are rapidly declining. Addressing livestock management and land use issues is a high priority for conservation in jaguar range areas.