The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course


Stunning jaguar arrives in Kent

One of the planet’s most iconic and vulnerable animals has moved to Kent, it has been announced this week.

A seventeen-month-old jaguar called Neron has relocated from Amsterdam to the Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden.

He will join over 50 exotic cats including Clouded leopards and Sumatran tigers, benefiting from the park’s tranquil surroundings.

Neron and another female jaguar will have Kent as its new home. The pair are under a breeding programme which hopes to see baby cubs in the future.

A spokesperson for the Big Cat Sanctuary said: “Neron has transferred to us as part of the European coordinated breeding program. He will be joined by a female Jaguar arriving with us soon in the hope he will sire cubs with her. Co-ordinated breeding is to maintain a healthy population in captivity that could ultimately supplement the wild population should it be deemed necessary.”

She added: “The Big Cat Sanctuary is a leading conservation organisation of wild cats in the UK.

“By securing a future for both big and small cats we are conserving and restoring the balance of the ecosystem in which predators play such a vital role.”

With just 15,000 left in the world, protecting endangered and threatened animals like the jaguar, and providing them with care and stability is vital with their population decreasing rapidly.

Neron will join Sumatran tiger, Puna
Credit: Mark Jones

Hugo Rainey, a conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, says jaguars need protecting: “Jaguars play critical roles in the structure and function of ecosystems in which they live, and are a vital component of healthy, functioning animal and plant communities.

“In spite of this, jaguar populations are seriously threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, competition with human hunters for wild prey, and killing for trophies.”

He added: “These threats have exerted substantial pressure on the species and continue to decrease overall numbers throughout most of the jaguar’s range.”

By breeding the two jaguars together, The Sanctuary will continue to provide a future for these endangered species.