In the UK, in the Big Cat Sanctuary, a Kent facility where large endangered cats are bred, a rare black jaguar cub was born, which has touched everyone, but which once again shows how these beautiful animals shouldn't live locked up in captivity, but live in their natural habitat.
The area where the jaguar lives extended from the south of the United States to northern Patagonia, thus including Central America and part of South America; today, however, it has disappeared in a large part of its ancient range, and today it survives mainly in the Amazon basin.
Jaguars mostly live in dense forests preferably near lowland rivers, where there is more shelter and greater abundance of prey. However, these animals can also live in more arid habitats: in Argentina, for example, they live in more open land, hiding in reeds or in thickets.
In the southern United States (where jaguars have always been rare) they have been seen in rugged mountainous areas, covered by forests, about 2500 m above sea level: jaguars can also be found in the mountains in Colombia.
A very frequent individual variant in certain areas is given by the black jaguars which, like the black panthers, are actually of a very dark brown color, so the rosettes are barely distinguishable. Melanism in animals is perhaps the effect of a hereditary factor, similar to that which gives red hair to certain people and which appears occasionally in certain human families.
The jaguars of each region tend to be more or less closely related, and to resemble each other much more than the jaguars of other regions. It seems that a few years ago black jaguars were particularly frequent in some areas of Costa Rica.
It may seem surprising that these specimens, like the black panthers, are so frequent: probably the dark color helps the animal blend better in its shady environment, favoring the permanence of this character