A rare black jaguar has arrived at Chester Zoo in England as part of a special conservation program to protect the “remarkable” species from extinction.
Stunning footage show the two-year-old female jaguar, named Inka, prowling her new enclosure after being moved from The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent.
Zookeepers said Inka was carefully selected as a fitting companion for Chester’s resident male jaguar, Napo.
It is hoped the arrival will help to put a spotlight on the species and support a special program working towards protecting their future.
Scientists believe jaguars may soon become vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss across the Americas, illegal hunting and conflict with humans.
They are currently listed as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Dave Hall, team manager of carnivores at Chester Zoo, said: “Inka is a strikingly beautiful, bold and confident young jaguar and she’s quickly taken to her new surroundings.
“The union between her and Napo, the resident male here in Chester, has been carefully orchestrated by carnivore experts from here and The Big Cat Sanctuary and the coordinators of a program that’s working in partnership to ensure a genetically viable population of jaguars across Europe.
“We hope the two of them will go to form a strong and meaningful bond, and the early signs are positive.
“Like Napo, Inka is a wonderful ambassador for her species.
Rare black jaguar Inka arrives at Chester Zoo. (Chester Zoo via SWNS)
“Jaguars are remarkable animals and the two of them together will help us to raise more much-needed awareness of the survival challenges that they face in the wild, the work that’s already being done by zoos, our partners and the local conservationists and communities to protect the ecosystems that jaguars live in, and help us to inspire further action for their conservation.”
Chester Zoo conservationists say they are working with governments around the world to minimize deforestation.
It also supports a European-wide program working to ensure a genetically healthy insurance population of jaguars within the continent’s major zoos.
Paul Bamford, regional field programs manager for the Americas at Chester Zoo, added: “Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are reducing jaguar populations across their range.
“According to the IUCN, close to 70 percent of deforestation in Latin America is driven by industrial agriculture, primarily for soy, oil palm and cattle production.
“Many of these products are exported to countries such as the UK, and therefore, our shopping habits can have a significant impact on global biodiversity loss.
“In our role as consumers, we are unwittingly contributing to the destruction of nature on our planet.
“At Chester Zoo we are working to influence policy, both in the UK and internationally, to address this.
“We are supporting efforts to improve production standards and legislation so that deforestation is minimized, or eliminated for good, and wildlife can live safely alongside productive areas.
“The goal is to create a deforestation-free economy, in which countries are able to meet their development needs sustainably.
“If we can break the link between habitat loss and production, then we have the opportunity secure a future for people and wildlife.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker