A very special arrival! On April 6, a black female jaguar was born at England's Big Cat Sanctuary. And while the birth of any animal is an exciting time, this one was a bigger deal than most since black fur is a rarity, making up just 10 percent of the population.
While mom Keira has the typical color characteristics, it's the cub's father, Neron, who possesses the black coloration gene.
At the moment, the cub is being called "baby," but the organization is holding a fundraising vote to give her an official name. The three choices for her moniker are Inka, Into or Killari — but if you want to give your input, you're asked to donate £5 ($7). The vote will close on August 1, with the sanctuary donating 25 percent of all proceeds to jaguar conservation in Costa Rica.
Those who vote for the winning name will be entered into a raffle to win a VIP tour of the sanctuary, a chance to put the nameplate on the cub’s enclosure and a Jaguar I-pace car rental for a weekend. Voters can make their selection by clicking here.
Scroll down to see photos of the adorable cub!
Mommy and me!
"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," shared curator Briony Smith. "There was no doubt that she was pregnant, all we could do was wait with excitement for the big day."
Smith revealed the little girl was born at 11:10 in the morning 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," she added.
Check out the proud parents!
The sanctuary stated that 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," their website reads. "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."
Such beautiful eyes!
"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," Smith shared of the cub. "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 sanctuary is hopeful that she'll be ready to explore her outdoor habitat when the sanctuary opens to the public in August.