The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent, England, recently announced that a baby jaguar was born at the facility on April 6 and now wants help naming the new cub

By Vanessa Etienne
May 25, 2021 02:17 PM
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black jaguar cub
Credit: Alma Leaper

The Big Cat Sanctuary has added a stunning new member to its feline family!

On Monday, the organization announced the birth of a rare black female jaguar. The cub was born on April 6 to parents Keira and Neron in Smarden, Kent.

Keira, the baby cub's mother, was born at the Paradise Wildlife Park in 2017 before relocating to the Big Cat Sanctuary two years later. The sanctuary paired Keira with male jaguar Neron for breeding, and this new arrival is their first cub together.

"This gorgeous little girl was born at 11:10 am and has gone from strength to strength since," Briony Smith, a curator at The Big Cat Sanctuary, said in a release. " I cannot believe how quickly she is developing compared to other big cat cubs, and this seems to be normal for jaguars. She was born with her eyes open and walking strongly by 2 weeks old."

black jaguar cub
Credit: Cam Whitnall

According to IUCN Red List, jaguars are classified as "near threatened" in the wild due to the constant threat of negative human impact. The European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, which led to the birth of the Big Cat Sanctuary's new cub, is important to conservationists because the effort helps maintain genetic diversity in the overall jaguar population.

The sanctuary's newborn jaguar cub takes Neron's black colouration gene, a characteristic, which scientists refer to as "melanistic," that only appears in 10% of the wild jaguar population. The sanctuary says the baby big cat is healthy and full of energy.

black jaguar cub
Credit: Alma Leaper

"Now she is tearing around the dens and certainly making sure that Keira has her hands full," Smith added. "She has bags of attitude, especially when her mother decides it's bath time and is outgoing and very curious. It is an absolute pleasure to watch her grow and develop, and I can't wait for the public to be able to see her when she is allowed out to explore her enclosure."

As of now, the baby jaguar doesn't have a name. The Big Cat Sanctuary posted to social media on Tuesday asking followers to help choose a name for the cub. The top three name options are currently Killari, Inka, and Inti. To vote on a name, a donation of £5 must be made to the sanctuary, with proceeds going towards jaguar conservation in Costa Rica.

While the votes are being tallied, the Big Cat Sanctuary is referring to the cub as "baby." 

black jaguar cub
Credit: Alma Leaper

Those who vote for the winning name will be entered into a raffle to win a VIP tour of the English sanctuary, a chance to put the nameplate on the cub's enclosure, and a Jaguar I-pace car rental for a weekend. Voting will end on August 1. 

"Baby" has yet to make her public debut. The cub is staying in her behind-the-scenes enclosure to bond with mom. The sanctuary hopes the cub will be ready to explore her outdoor habitat when the sanctuary opens to the general public in August.