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Meet Banks — the new baby jaguar at the Jacksonville zoo

Banks, the new cub at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, was born April 7, 2023.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Banks, the new cub at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, was born April 7, 2023.

The new baby Jaguar at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has a name: Banks.

The 12-week-old cub got his name in a public "Name that Jag" contest, in partnership with the Jaguars Foundation.

"Banks" alludes to the St. Johns River and also the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, TIAA Bank Field. The name garnered 2,185 votes, or 30% of the total cast.

The other top suggestions:

  • Zuco, a combination of the cub’s paternal grandparents’ names, Zassi and Tuco, 2,174 votes.
  • Duwey, a play on Duval County and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ rally cry “DUUUVAL!”, 2,164 votes.
  • Tobai, short for “Ah Tabai,” which is the Mayan god of the hunt and protector of animals, 816 votes.

The zoo received 700 submissions and almost $11,500 in the contest. Fans could submit a name only if they donated to the jaguars' care. The zoo says it costs over $10,000 to provide annual medical exams and food for the animals.

The Jaguars Foundation agreed to match up to $10,000 in donations, bringing the total raised to $21,494.

“Banks has captivated our community’s attention since he was born, and the success of this contest is a testament to Jacksonville’s passion for jaguars, both on and off the field,” Nikki Smith, the zoo's chief philanthropy and community engagement officer, said in a news release. “We are beyond grateful for the support and generosity the cub and zoo have received throughout the naming process, and we look forward to introducing him to his fans later this summer.”

Banks was born April 7 and continues to bond behind the scenes with first-time mother Babette, who just celebrated her seventh birthday on June 29.

The public can watch Babette and Banks on video at the Zoo’s Range of the Jaguar exhibit.

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.