It is pretty easy to confuse the two as they look almost perfectly the same to the untrained eye, even though they are from entirely different continents.
While leopards, native to both Asia and Africa, have the widest distribution out of all big cats, jaguars are found exclusively in the tropical and subtropical rainforests of Central and South America. There are also differences in terms of physique and appearance, with leopards having a slimmer body and head as well as a longer tail compared to the more robust build of jaguars. Even their fur patterns are different; although both species have rosettes, jaguars have larger spots with dots inside them, whereas leopards have smaller and denser rosettes that completely lack central dots.
We have been home to North Chinese leopards ever since 2004, with a number of births over the years. This particular subspecies is critically endangered as there are less than 2500 individuals left in the wild and a European zoo population that currently totals 40. One of our most memorable zoo stories has to do with the female leopard cub born on July 15, 2009, who had a shelter dog named “Lujza” for a foster mother. This benefitted them both as, after the raising period, the cub was able to join the others in their enclosure and heroic Lujza found a new owner.
Debrecen Zoo and Amusement Park