The jaguar, like a number of other feline species, is occasionally subject to melanism, which gives the cat a black fur coat. In some instances, a melanistic jaguar’s spots can still be seen, but much of its its tan fur will be obscured by higher-than-normal amounts of dark pigmentation, which is a result of an ancestral genetic mutation.
Since the jaguar is endangered, spotting a black jaguar is especially rare, with only an estimated 600 extant individuals in the wild. Black jaguars are often mistakenly lumped into the category of “black panther” with other melanistic big cats like the leopard, but they are a completely separate species.
Find out more about the black jaguar — watch the video!
One of the most pressing threats to the black jaguar’s continued existence is the destruction of its habitat. Find out what the Rainforest Site is doing to protect the black jaguar habitat and what you can do to help.