UPDATE: Jaguar Cub Gets His "Swagger"


A Jaguar cub born August 20 is thriving under the care of zoo keepers at Texas’s Ellen Trout Zoo.  The male cub, named Balam (the Mayan word for Jaguar), was removed from his mother’s care shortly after his birth because his mother was not nursing him.



11064722_967876099946391_1943007038755722702_nPhoto Credit:  Ellen Trout Zoo

You first read about Balam on ZooBorns here.  Now three weeks old, Balam is gaining weight – he currently weighs nearly four pounds – and is developing normally.  Balam’s keeper’s say he is becoming more coordinated, more active, and is increasingly aware of his surroundings, and although he still trips over his feet, Balam is developing his own Jaguar "swagger."

Jaguars are native to Central and South America, where they inhabit rain forests and wetlands, often living near rivers.  As the top predators in their ecosystem, Jaguars are dependent on sufficient prey levels to sustain themselves.  Jaguars populations are shrinking rapidly as forests are destroyed and converted to agricultural use.  These magnificent cats once ranged into the southwestern United States as recently as the early 20th century, but hunting and isolation from Central American populations put an end to a viable Jaguar population in the US.

See more photos of Balam below.

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Jaguar Birth Announced at Ellen Trout Zoo


Ellen Trout Zoo, in Texas, recently announced the birth of a male Jaguar cub. The cub was born August 20 to 9-year-old mom, Seraphina, and 3-year-old dad, Kabah. The little boy has been named Balam (Mayan word for jaguar). 



4_11950171_961046077296060_35610520625297344_oPhoto Credits: Ellen Trout Zoo

The new cub, which was born as part of the AZA Species Survival Plan, is an important new addition. The last Jaguar birth at Ellen Trout Zoo occurred in 1996 when a litter of three was born at the East Texas zoo.

Seraphina, unfortunately, was not nursing Balam after his birth. Keepers intervened and are now feeding and caring for him. The cub has been doing well under the Zoo Staff’s care and supervision. He weighed 1.6 pounds at birth and is now up to 2 pounds.

The Zoo has not stated when it will be possible to return Balam to the care of his mother. For now, their objective is to provide the attention he needs to ensure he thrives and develops properly.

The cub is not on public view, at the moment. Staff will post regular updates on the Zoo’s media pages, and they will announce when he makes his public debut.

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San Diego Zoo’s Jaguar Cub Needs a Name

1_SanDiegoJaguarCub_byDebbieBealsZooBorns has been following the San Diego Zoo’s Jaguar cub since he was born, to mom ‘Nindiri’, on March 12th.  Our features, “Jaguar Cub Debuts at San Diego Zoo” and “Jaguar Cub Is a Handful…and Mouthful”, were filled with adorable pics and are testimony to why the cub has become so popular.



4_SanDiegoJaguarCub_byNancieCunninghamCaseyPhotos: Debbie Beals(1); Penny Hyde(2); Mike Wilson (3,5); Nancie Cunningham Casey (4); Neil Solomon (6)

The Zoo is asking for help in selecting a name for the amazing little cub. They have compiled a list of seven names and are encouraging fans and zoo supporters to cast their vote.

San Diego Zoo has set up a page, just for voting! Follow this link: or check out the Zoo’s facebook page for more info and updates:

The Jaguar is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. It is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and it is the largest big cat in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar’s present range extends from the Southwestern United States, Mexico, across much of Central America, south to Paraguay and into northern Argentina.

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Jaguar Cub Is a Handful…and Mouthful

SDZooJaguar_3_Nancie Cunningham Casey

San Diego Zoo’s photogenic Jaguar cub is proving himself to be quite the handful…and mouthful. 

SDZooJaguar_2_Debbie Beals

SDZooJaguar_4_Darlene McAfee

SDZooJaguar_1_Ion MoePhoto Credits: Nancy Cunningham Casey (Image 1); Debbie Beals (2); Darlene McAfee (3); Ion Moe (4)

ZooBorns introduced you to the yet-to-be-named-cub last week, with a series of adorable photos. He was born March 12th to mother, ‘Nindiri’, and he has been putting her mom-skills to the test.

The Jaguar is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. It is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and it is the largest big cat in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar’s present range extends from the Southwestern United States, Mexico, across much of Central America, south to Paraguay and into northern Argentina.

Unlike many other cats, Jaguars do not avoid water. They are known to be quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, turtles, or caimans. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as deer, peccaries, capybaras, and tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.

Most Jaguars are tan or orange, with distinctive black spots, dubbed "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some Jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.

Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.

Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father. Young Jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.

The Jaguar is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. The loss of parts of its range, including its virtual elimination from its historic North American areas, and the increasing fragmentation of the remaining range have contributed to this status. Jaguars are still hunted for their attractive fur. Ranchers also kill them because the cats sometimes prey upon their livestock.

Jaguar Cub Debuts at San Diego Zoo

A three-week-old Jaguar cub made his first public appearance this weekend at the San Diego Zoo.

Born on March 12 to Nindiri, the male cub has just begun to explore the world outside his den.  The cub, who has not yet been named, is Nindiri’s third cub and weighs just under five pounds.

Photo Credit:  Ken Bohn

The cub’s eyes are now open and he’s becoming steadier on his paws, so the zoo staff feels he is ready to safely explore the different terrain outside his den.  So far, he has navigated through piles of hay and investigated a rock – both important steps in his development.

Jaguars are the largest cats in all the Americas and are powerful predators, able to kill prey in a single strike.  Their jaws are extremely powerful, enabling them to pierce the skulls of their prey with just one bite. 

Though they are widely distributed from Mexico to Argentina (plus a very small population in southern Arizona in the United States), Jaguars are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Primary threats include loss of habitat, illegal hunting, and persecution by farmers and ranchers.  

Brevard Zoo Home to New Jaguar Cubs

IMG_8976Brevard Zoo, in Florida, welcomed a pair of healthy Jaguar cubs on January 27th. The cubs were born to 11-year-old mom, ‘Masaya’, and 13-year-old dad, ‘Mulac’. 



IMG_9159Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

The zoo’s new additions come with a few firsts for the zoo and the species. Mulac has never sired any cubs before, which means his genes were not represented in the Jaguar population. These cubs are very valuable, genetically, to Jaguars in captivity. Also, Brevard Zoo was able to install a camera in the den box. This enabled keepers to monitor Masaya as she gave birth, and they were able to see that the cubs were nursing. Masaya has shown herself to be a caring and attentive mother. 

It will still be approximately 3 weeks before the cubs venture out of the den, and it will be about two to three months before the pair will be out on exhibit. The sex of the cubs is not known, yet. Keepers will continue to monitor their growth by weighing them and using photo documentation.

Kerry Sweeney, Curator of Animals, said, “We are very excited with Masaya and Mulac’s new additions and look forward to them being out for guests to see.”

This is the fourth litter of cubs for Masaya. Her first cub, ‘Nindiri’, resides at the San Diego Zoo. ‘Phil’ and ‘Jean’ followed and now reside at the Chattanooga Zoo, and ‘Saban’, who just turned two, lives at the Jacksonville Zoo.

The last published Jaguar captive management plan (2010) noted there were 55 Jaguars (23 males; 32 females) at 26 zoological institutions. The target population size designated by the Felid Taxon Advisory Group, the group designated with overseeing captive felines in Association of Zoos and Aquariums facilities, is 120.

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Tulsa Zoo Celebrates its Third Jaguar Cub Birth

Jaguar Cub

The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Jaguar cub, marking the third Jaguar birth at the zoo. This new addition was born on March 26 to mom, Ixchel, and dad, Bebeto. This is the second successful birth for the Jaguar pair, and another important contribution to Jaguar populations.

This birth was in conjunction with the Jaguar SSP, or the Species Survival Plan®, which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos across the nation. Native to the tropical rainforests of Mexico, Central and South America, Jaguars are considered near threatened due to habitat loss. There are currently more than 100 Jaguars in North American-accredited (AZA) zoos, while it is estimated that 10,000 Jaguars currently exist in the wild.

Jaguar Cub 2

Jaguar cub 2 - Cam

Jags 2 - CamPhoto credits 1 and 2: Dr. Jen Kilburn 

While the cub is doing well, its sibling did not survive the birthing process. The cub appeared to be stillborn as animal health staff closely watched the internal monitoring camera.

Staff continues to closely monitor Ixchel and her cub from remote cameras to ensure proper development and nursing. The cub’s first 30 days are critical, so both mom and cub will remain in a private, off-exhibit den in the Tropical American Rainforest.

Jaguar Cub Bonds with Mom at Fort Worth Zoo

1 jaguar

Yesterday, Fort Worth Zoo in Texas announced the birth of the zoo’s newest resident: a female Jaguar cub. The healthy cub, named Sasha, was born July 16 and weighed 2 pounds (.9 kg). Sasha immediately began nursing and bonding with 4-year-old mother Xochi (zo-she). Xochi is a very protective mother; after giving birth, she cared for her cub in a private, off-exhibit area, mimicking natural Jaguar behavior in the wild. The 2-month-old cub now weighs 13.75 pounds (6.23 kg) and can be seen exploring her habitat in the Brush County area of the zoo's Texas Wild! exhibit. 

Typically, Jaguars give birth to a litter of one to four cubs after a gestation period of 95 to 110 days. Cubs nurse for about six months and are usually introduced to meat at around three months old. Cubs are born with heavily spotted, dense, wooly fur, which transforms into adult coloration by seven months old. A Jaguar’s specially marked coats acts as camouflage, making it almost invisible in its desert or forest surroundings. Jaguars can grow to be six feet long (excluding tail) and weigh between 100 to 250 pounds (45 to 113 kg). 

2 jaguar

3 jaguar
Photo credits: Fort Worth Zoo

See a video of the cub playing with mom:

The Fort Worth Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Jaguar Species Survival Plan (SSP), a breeding program that maintains a healthy, self-sustaining population of vulnerable animals to help prevent their extinction. Sasha is the eighth Jaguar born in an AZA zoo this year, and is the sixth Jaguar cub born since the Texas Wild! exhibit opened in 2001.

In the wild, a Jaguar cub is dependent on its mother for protection from predators, for food and guidance until it is about 2 years old. Sasha will stay at the Fort Worth Zoo for the next 12 to 18 months and then be moved to another AZA zoo to help maintain genetic diversity within the species.

“The Fort Worth Zoo has had a very successful history breeding Jaguars,” said Ron Surratt, Fort Worth Zoo director of animal collections. “Our participation in the Jaguar SSP has helped ensure guests will be able to enjoy Jaguars for years to come as we continue to contribute to the survival of the species.”


The Jaguar is the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere (third largest in the world behind Lions and Tigers) and represents the only 'big cat' found in the New World. A Near Threatened species, the Jaguar is historically native to the southern United States. Due to habitat alteration, the Jaguar can now be found from the U.S./Mexico border south into Central America.



Feisty Baby Jaguar Visits the Vet at Krefeld Zoo


On May 17, this little Jaguar cub came into the world, born to Krefeld Zoo’s breeding pair Bess and Porgy. This is the second offspring for the parents in their time at the zoo. It was a difficult birth, but mother and cub got to do the necessary bonding for the first week of his life. At that juncture, Bess suffered from an inflammation of the uterus, and had to be treated under general anesthesia for the condition. Fortunately, she made a full recovery, reunited with her cub, and has been doing a great job of caring for her baby ever since.

At his recent health check, keepers had their hands full trying to subdue the little fella. He’s a feisty one! The cub has grown to weigh about 8.8 pounds (4 kilos), so he should start to venture out into the habitat sometime next week.  A camera has been installed in the birthing box so zoo visitors can watch Mom and cub on a TV screen in front of their exhibit, while the pair remains behind the scenes. 

Cub yowl

Cub hiss

Cub CU
Photo Credit: Hella Hallmann/ Krefeld Zoo

Jaguars, the largest cats in the Americas, are threatened in the wild by massive conversions of their natural habitats for human economic interests, being shot or poisoned by livestock owners, and the depletion of the cat's natural prey due to overhunting. There are several organizations whose work is devoted to helping on all of these fronts, to preserve this beautiful species.

See more photos after the fold:

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Woodland Park Zoo's Trio of Jaguar Cubs Full of Personality


On March 22, these three Jaguar cubs were born at the Woodland Park Zoo to parents Junior and Nayla. First-time mother Nayla demonstrated natural maternal care and instincts, protecting the cubs so much that keepers couldn’t get their hands on the cubs for their first vet check until late last week! Once they did, it was determined that the triplets are healthy and that there are two girls and one boy, all exhibiting very different personalities.

The first born was a girl, the smallest of the cubs - but that does not stop her from being the most independent of the three. She also tends to lead her siblings in their mischief and play. The second born was a male who is also the largest cub. He is the shyest around keepers and a mama's boy, sticking close to mom's side, and yet he's the most vocal of the three. 

Jaguar births are rare, and as a “Near Threatened” species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar triplets are a major milestone for Woodland Park Zoo’s jaguar conservation efforts. Third born is the other female, who regularly follows her older sister and playfully roughhouses with her big brother. 

Jag duo


Photo Credits: Photo 1: Jamie Delk/Woodland Park Zoo, Photos 2-5: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo's blog, which you can read HERE, states, "Keep in mind, habitat loss and fragmentation of wild areas, hunting by ranchers, and loss of wild prey due to overhunting by humans are major threats facing jaguars in the wild. Each year, Woodland Park Zoo’s Jaguar Conservation Fund supports field conservation projects dedicated to preserving wild jaguars and their habitat. The fund has given awards to 19 projects in 12 North, Central and South American countries for a total investment of $113,806. Currently, the zoo supports three projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua that all aim to find ways for both people and predators to share Earth’s ecosystems."

Look for more pictures of the cubs after the fold. Before that, watch this series of three videos from the zoo's closed circuit cameras, which allow Mom the privacy to nurture and bond with her cubs. The first is the video announces the cubs' birth:

The cubs at three days old:

The most recent video of mom nursing and playing with her babies.

See more pictures after the fold:

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