Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications
A set of new spots and striping has appeared at the zoo with the birth of an ocelot! A single kitten, seen here at 3 weeks old, was born on January 15 to 10-year-old mother Bella and 15-year-old father Brazil.
At this early stage, keepers want to minimize disturbance and physical contact outside of quick health check-ups to give the new family time to naturally bond. So for now, the mother and kitten are off public view in a dark birthing den and keepers are monitoring their progress via infrared camera. Here’s a peek at some of the black and white footage from baby’s first few weeks:
Where’s dad? Like in the wild, mother ocelots care for their young alone. Brazil is keeping his distance and can be seen on exhibit in the award-winning Tropical Rain Forest. Curator Mark Myers tells us that Bella, an experienced mother, has been providing excellent round-the-clock and protective maternal care. The kitten is nursing regularly and has a healthy, round belly.
Part of the Ocelot Species Survival Plan, this birth is significant to help sustain genetic diversity for this endangered species. In the wild, the endangered ocelots continue to lose ground with their ever-shrinking habitat and the black market pet trade. At Woodland Park Zoo, the ocelot kitten will play a very important role as an animal ambassador to help connect visitors to the wonder of these beautiful animals and inspire them to take action for their protection.
It will likely be at least another month and a half before the kitten and her mother go on public view. Until then, we’ll post updates as they come in. Be sure to subscribe to our blog feed to keep up with the story or follow along on Facebook.
Want to help support Woodland Park Zoo and the care of our animals? Text WPZ to 20222 to donate $5 to the zoo today. Messaging and data rates may apply. For details visit www.zoo.org/text2give.
Photos by Jamie Delk/Woodland Park Zoo. Video produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.