Extremely Rare Black Jaguar Caught on Camera in Costa Rica

In an event as rare as it is captivating, a black jaguar was caught on camera in a remote Costa Rican mountain range.

The melanistic jaguar, an elusive big cat that is almost mythical in its rarity, was captured via camera traps set up by wildlife photographer Tico Haroutiounian in Costa Rica’s Cordillera de Talamanca. The excitement was palpable as he shared the moment on Instagram with the caption: “EXTREMELY RARE FOOTAGE OF A BLACK JAGUAR IN THE WILD! AND IT HAPPENED JUST IN FRONT OF OUR CAMERA!!!! SHARE THIS NEWS TO THE WORLD!!! 🐆💥🖤‼️”


This is a real-life “black panther”, a term that’s often misunderstood. Contrary to popular belief, a black panther isn’t its own species; it refers to any dark-furred member of the Panthera genus, including jaguars and leopards.

Just like albino animals have a lack of melanin, melanistic animals have an excess, turning their fur a dark shade or even black. While these melanistic big cats still display their species’ typical patterns, the markings are much harder to discern due to the dark coloring.

en:User:Cburnett, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Capturing even a glimpse of a regular jaguar is a formidable challenge; spotting a black jaguar is nearly a once-in-a-lifetime event. According to Tico, it’s “one of the most insane and unique footage” captured since the inception of his conservation project.

The exact location of the jaguar was not revealed for its protection.

Female Jaguar. Photo:Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Through a network of strategically placed camera traps on “Jaguar Avenue,” a sanctuary vital for the survival of these majestic cats, Tico and his team are not just observing wildlife; they’re rewriting our understanding of it. Click here to learn more about Tico’s work and how you can support jaguar conservation.

NOTE: This article was assisted by an AI engine and was reviewed, verified, and revised by our editorial staff.