Jaguar or ocelot spotted near Tucson

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By Marceline Mcmacken By Marceline Mcmacken

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department is having a hard time figuring out if a photo shows the tail of a jaguar or an ocelot.

The photo was taken on Sept. 23. A sportsman snapped the picture while out and about in an area southeast of Tucson.

In the photo, you can only see the tail of the cat and part of its hindquarters. Game and Fish officials said they're pretty sure they can identify which cat species it is by analyzing the animal's spot patterns and size. 

Both the jaguar and ocelot are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Sightings of both of these species are important to biologists. By knowing where these cats are seen, it helps increase the understanding of the species' existence in borderland areas.

Arizona Game and Fish wants to remind folks that if they come across either species, to leave them alone. Also, they can report the sighting to Game and Fish by calling 1-800-352-0700. If a photo can be taken of the cats, that should be sent to Game and Fish, also.