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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announces Jaguar cub naming contest


The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Jacksonville Jaguars are excited to announce a naming contest for the Zoo's new baby Jaguar cub who shares his birthday with Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

"With all of Northeast Florida eagerly awaiting the start of the Jags season and the Zoo's 100-Year Anniversary Celebration, we felt this was the perfect opportunity to involve the entire community," said Tony Vecchio, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens executive director. "We look at this cub as more than a mascot for the Jags and for the Zoo. We'd like to think of him as the City of Jacksonville's mascot."

Based on the general feedback of name suggestions from Jaguars fans, people will have the option to vote on the following five names: Khan, Shad, Jaxson, Jax, and Pounce de Leon. Voting for the contest will run until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, September 3. Fans can cast their vote on the Jaguars' website at where voters can also find a complete list of rules and regulations.

In response to the cub's popularity with Jacksonville residents, the Zoo has installed a monitor to view live footage of the cub with mother Zassi in their den. This will allow guests the opportunity to get to know the cub and his personality before he is able to be seen on exhibit. This monitor is located in the Temple at Range of the Jaguar.

"The display screen set up in the Temple will provide our guests the same camera-view our keepers have to monitor the cub's initial development," said Sheryl Staaden, supervisor of mammals at Jacksonville Zoo. "This footage is not normally available to the public and is a great behind-the-scenes sneak preview!"

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection that consisted of one red deer fawn, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plants. It has won national acclaim for its South American Range of the Jaguar exhibit and has the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo is a non-profit organization and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  It is open year-round, seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas day and is located on Jacksonville's north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95.  For more information on the Zoo, visit

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