Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology
Jungle lion
Proposed scientific names
Other names Rock jaguar
Country reported Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
First reported 1965
Prominent investigators Karl Shuker

Jungle lions are a type of cryptid big cat reported from rainforests and cloud forests in South America,[1] around the fringes of the Amazon, in Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.[2]

List of jungle lions

  • "Rock jaguar" (Yanomami): Venezuela
  • "Ecuadorian lion" (Shuar): Ecuador
  • "Jungle lion": Yanachaga National Park, Peru


Helena Valero, who was kidnapped as a child in Venezuela by Yanomami Indians, who subsequently raised her, reported seeing a maned cat called a "rock jaguar" in the narrative of her life, Yanoama (1965).[2]

It was morning that day and we had seen among the rocks, as if in a window, a jaguar's head. It was a kind of jaguar which I did not know. [...] It was a brown jaguar and it had long hair on its head: it was the rock jaguar.

Peru-based cryptozoologist Peter Hocking heard several stories of a "jungle lion" in the cloud forests of that country, but gave them little credit until receiving reports from rangers at Yanachaga National Park, alongside an account of a dead specimen. According to Hocking's description...[3]

This cryptid is reported to be large, the size of an African lion, with long hair around its neck, but shorter than that of the African lion. Its color is said to be entirely reddish-brown. Rangers have reported seeing this felid in the Park, and one of my native helpers claimed to have once examined a dead specimen killed outside the Park, near Shiringamazu.

Spanish cryptozoologist Ángel Morant was later told of a maned "lion" by the Shuar people of Ecuador's Upano Valley, but could not find any alleged eyewitnesses. However, an Ecuadorean woman later contacted Morant, claiming to have seen one in the mountains near Santo Domingo, west of the Andes, several years before.[2]


Regarding the Venezuelan rock jaguar, although Valero called it a jaguar (Panthera onca), Karl Shuker argues that it is more likely to have been some other species of big cat, brown-coated and maned, as yet unidentified.[2]

Notes and references

  1. Shuker, Karl P. N. "A Supplement to Dr Bernard Heuvelmans' Checklist of Cryptozoological Animals," Fortean Studies 5 (1998)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Shuker, Karl P. N. (2020) Mystery Cats of the World Revisited: Blue Tigers, King Cheetahs, Black Cougars, Spotted Lions, and More, Anomalist Books, ISBN 978-1949501179
  3. Hocking, Peter J. "Further Investigation into Unknown Peruvian Mammals", Cryptozoology, No. 12 (1998)