The Big Cat Sanctuary are proud to announce the latest addition to the cat family! On 6th April 2021 our resident jaguars Keira and Neron became parents to a rare black female jaguar cub.
So far, our little cub has been doing brilliantly. She is a stunning black jaguar and is often seen cuddling up and playing with mum, Keira. Whilst Keira takes a break from parenting, the Keeping Team ‘baby-sit’ and carry out necessary health checks such as weighing as well as familiarisation time.
Keira was born in 2017 at our sister charity Paradise Wildlife Park and came to the Sanctuary as part of the International Breeding Programme in 2019. Keira was then paired with Neron and have been the most adorable couple ever since. Their beautiful cub has taken Neron’s colouration gene of appearing black, which is a characteristic only affecting 10% of the wild jaguar population. Scientists refer to this colouration as ‘melanistic’.
At the moment we are currently referring to the cub as ‘baby’ as she will be named by our supporters in due course. We are hosting a competition where our supporters can choose the name of the jaguar cub, while raising funds for the charity. This launches on 25th May and will run through to the 1st August.
Briony Smith, Curator at The Big Cat Sanctuary, comments: “We are over the moon to welcome this little jaguar girl to our Big Cat Sanctuary family. We had been monitoring Keira, the mother, closely for many weeks both in person and on the CCTV we had set up in her den. There was no doubt that she was pregnant, all we could do was wait with excitement for the big day.
On the morning of April 6th, we could see that Keira was unsettled and agitated and we knew that she had begun to go into labour. This gorgeous little girl was born at 11.10 am and has gone from strength to strength since. 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.
Now she is tearing around the dens and certainly making sure that Keira has her hands full. 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.”
The birth is part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. Jaguars are classed as ‘near threatened’ in the wild due to constant threats from negative human impacts. It’s vital therefore that there’s a sustainable population of Jaguars in captivity - every addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is incredibly important.
Please welcome our beautiful baby jaguar to the Sanctuary. As she grows stronger by the day, we are optimistic that she will be outside by the August Open Days! For the time being she will be sharing a home with mother and father until she outgrows the family group.