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Jaguar cubs ace their final exams

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communication

Jaguar cubs Arizona, Inka and Kuwan. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

This week marked the final post-birth exam for the triplet jaguar cubs. These early in life check-ups are meant to ensure the cubs are gaining weight and hitting all of their developmental benchmarks, while also providing the opportunity to give vaccinations, draw blood samples for routine tests, and establish their health baselines.

With the cubs now four months old and weighing 25-28 pounds, completing these exams can be a challenge. The cubs first need to be transferred one by one to the zoo’s Animal Health hospital. Getting the cubs into their transfer crate requires their cooperation—something they aren’t always willing to give. Cats will be cats.

Arizona is readied for her exam. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Once a cub arrives at the hospital, it is anesthetized for the exam. This allows the zoo’s veterinary team to get in close to inspect the eyes, ears, paws, teeth and tongue of each animal.

Arizona has a full set of strong,healthy teeth. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

First up was first-born cub, Arizona. Zoo associate veterinarian, Dr. Kelly Helmick, listened to Arizona’s heartbeat: nice, good and steady, as she described it. Her lungs sounded strong and clear as well.

The zoo’s animal health and animal management teams take a closer look at Arizona. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

A feel of Arizona’s legs proved how strong the young cats already are, with the species’ distinguished muscular build already developing in the young animal.

All done with her exam, Arizona is returned to a crate where she’ll slowly wake up and eventually be transferred back to her exhibit. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Zookeepers watched over the exam like a graduation ceremony they were proud to attend. The cubs’ acing of their final post-birth exam means they are all healthy, growing and thriving under mom’s care at the zoo. With their vaccination series complete, the cubs can now be exam-free and won’t have to visit the vets again until their time is up for a regular, preventative wellness check-up like other animals at the zoo.

Back on exhibit, those muscular legs will keep getting stronger and stronger as they continue to climb all over, adventuring up, down and all around their exhibit. 

Putting those muscles to use climbing in the exhibit. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Those strong, full sets of teeth will get bigger and fiercer, tearing into larger and larger servings of chicken, mutton and beef as they put on more and more weight.

The usual suspects line up. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

And that stocky build will fill out, making them sturdy swimmers someday.

The cubs contemplate the pool in front of them. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Every day is a new day with these jaguar cubs, watching them grow and explore. Come see what’s new with them today! The cubs have access to their exhibit 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. See you out there!


Anonymous said…
Wonderful news!!! Great photos btw, Dennis!!
Katja R. said…
Gorgeous felines!