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Little Rock Zoo in mourning after loss of black jaguar

The Little Rock Zoo has announced the death of their almost 22-year-old black jaguar on Monday. Cactus Jack had been living at the zoo since 2001.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Zoo announced the death of their almost 22-year-old black jaguar on Monday. 

Cactus Jack was a zoo icon, who was known by staff and guests alike for over twenty years. He first arrived at the Little Rock Zoo in April of 2001 and quickly grew to be loved by all. 

He was known for being a very sweet jaguar and had a beautiful black color variation that can only be found in about 11 percent of jaguars. 

When speaking about the special bond and joy that Cactus Jack brought to the zoo staff, Kate Neal, one of his keepers said, 

“Some lucky keepers get the opportunity to work with an animal with whom they share a special bond. An animal who not only impacts the trajectory of their career but shapes who they are as a person. Cactus was that animal for me. I am heartbroken to say goodbye but so thankful for every moment I had with him and every intangible gift he gave."

During the past couple of weeks, Cactus Jack had begun to show signs of decline and began to rapidly decline within the last few days.

After doing a full assessment, the staff at the zoo made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him. 

His 22nd birthday would have been on Saturday, July 23. He will be fondly remembered by many people within the Little Rock community. 

If you want to learn more about Cactus Jack, contact jmatlock@littlerock.gov

Credit: Little Rock Zoo

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