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Three ! More! Cubs! Jaguar triplets born over weekend

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Still image captured from internal monitoring cam on Monday, March 25, three days after birth. 

The zoo welcomed three cubs to the count on Friday, marking the first jaguar birth at the zoo in nearly two decades! In the last few months, the zoo seems to be bursting with babies. Can we get a cub count?

In November, we celebrated the birth of four rambunctious lions in over 20 years at the zoo. In December, mama sloth bear, Tasha, surprised us with not one but two newborns. And Friday evening, the rare birth of jaguar triplets sent the cub count soaring. In just six months, the zoo has welcomed nine cubs from three animal species! The three new cubs are celebrated as the latest members of the zoo’s newest generation.

Zookeepers are using an internal monitoring cam to keep an eye on mom and jaguar cubs inside their behind-the-scenes maternity den. Catch a glimpse of what we can see on the cam in the video below.

Video taken from the internal monitoring cam on the morning of March 25, 2013.

This is the first successful birth for our jaguar pair, 7-year-old Nayla and 14-year-old father Junior, after having given birth to a stillborn cub in August. Jaguar births are rare, and this birth in particular is worthy of great celebration not only for Woodland Park Zoo, but for zoos across the country. Nayla and Junior became mates after a recommendation from the Jaguar Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP pairs animals in North American zoos based on each animal’s genetic representation and demographic parameters of the population. If you’ve ever witnessed Junior and Nayla cuddling up to one another in Jaguar Cove, you can attest they make a great match! Because Junior’s parents were wild-born and this is the first birth for both parents, the infusion of their genes will be very significant for the Jaguar SSP.

This video brings us back to the earliest days when Nayla and Junior first met. Produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Like many felines, jaguars are born with their eyes closed but they begin to open them within two weeks. Cubs weigh about 25-29 ounces at birth, and receive all necessary nutrients by nursing from mom. Our animal management and veterinary staff will take a closer look at the cubs’ health and overall development in a few weeks during a routine wellness exam. The sexes of the three cubs are unknown at this time.

Nayla and the new trio will live off view in their earliest weeks, but we’ll continue to post to the blog health updates, cub photos and news on their development. Zoo visitors can still spot Junior napping on the rocks in our award-winning Jaguar Cove, though!

More scenes from the internal monitoring cam inside the maternity den. Taken the morning of March 25, 2013.

Jaguars are listed as “near threatened” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat loss and fragmentation of wild areas, hunting by ranchers, and loss of wild prey due to overhunting by humans—which fuels human-jaguar conflict—are major threats facing the jaguar. While the jaguar has been eradicated from more than 40% of its historical range, it still exists in 18 countries in Latin America, from Argentina to Mexico. The jaguar is the third largest cat in the feline family after tigers and lions, and the largest feline in the Western Hemisphere.

Since its creation in 2003, Woodland Park Zoo’s Jaguar Conservation Fund each year supports several field conservation projects dedicated to preserving wild jaguars and their habitat. The Fund has made awards to 33 projects in eight Central and South American countries for a total investment of $102,806. Currently, the zoo supports three projects in Mexico, Guatemala, and Paraguay-Bolivia that all aim to reduce conflict between people and jaguars. The goal of the projects is to find ways for both people and predators to share Earth’s ecosystems.

Trust us, this won’t be the last time you hear about our new litter of jaguars. Check back soon for more cub photos, videos and health updates!


Anonymous said…
How exciting!
Anonymous said…
Can't believe how quickly they are able to commando crawl! Congratulations. I know how hard you guys worked to make this happen.
Unknown said…
yay! Can't wait to visit the zoo and see them!!! Please let us know when they're ready to play with the public!
Anonymous said…
When can we vote to name them cuz i got so good ideas