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Princess Eugenie visits Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden

A Kent wildlife sanctuary got a special 20th anniversary visit from one of The Queen's granddaughters.

The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden celebrated the milestone earlier this month with Princess Eugenie, who opened a Jaguar Breeding Centre while there.

HRH Princess Eugenie opened the big Cat Sanctuary's jaguar breeding centre earlier this month
HRH Princess Eugenie opened the big Cat Sanctuary's jaguar breeding centre earlier this month

The royal - who is a patron of the charity - got to see Neron and Keira, a jaguar couple who are part of the European Breeding Programme for Endangered Species.

HRH Princess Eugenie said: “I am so proud to be Patron of such an incredible organisation. With conservation at the forefront of our minds it’s important to continue such valuable work.

"Thank you to all for keeping everything running smoothly and this project launching in the midst of what is a very difficult time. I hope that on my next visit there will be expectation for cubs to come!”

The facility she opened could help that expectation to come true.

The new centre has expertly designed separation pens so in the event of a birth, Keira can be settled away to give birth in peace and allow the newborn some space to grow into a healthy

cub.

Keira and Neron are the sanctuary's highest hopes for a breeding pair of jaguars
Keira and Neron are the sanctuary's highest hopes for a breeding pair of jaguars

This is also handy for when keepers need to separate Neron and Keira for health checks or feeding - all contributing to their welfare.

Following the special day, the sanctuary's trustees said: “It was an absolute honour to welcome the princess and we are so glad she enjoyed her time hand feeding our gorgeous jaguars as well.”

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