Jaguar Cub has Fort Worth Zoo Seeing Spots
October 03, 2013
Jaguar birth marks conservation achievement
FORT WORTH, Texas – Fort Worth Zoo officials today announced the birth of the Zoo’s newest resident, a female jaguar cub. This is the sixth jaguar cub born since Texas Wild! opened in 2001 and represents exciting progress for the near threatened species.
The healthy cub, named Sasha, was born July 16 and weighed 2 pounds. 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 and can be seen exploring her exhibit in the Brush County area of Texas Wild!.
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 around 3 months old. Cubs are born with heavily spotted, dense, wooly fur, which transforms into adult coloration by 7 months old. A jaguar’s specially marked coats acts as camouflage, making it almost invisible in its desert/forest surroundings. Jaguars can grow to be 6 feet long (excluding tail) and weigh between 100 to 250 pounds.
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.
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. 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.
The nationally acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo has been ranked the No. 5 zoo in the nation by USA Travel Guide and the No. 1 attraction in the DFW Metroplex by Zagat survey. The Zoo is home to more than 500 animal species and a world-famous reptile collection, housed in the brand new Museum of Living Art (MOLA). The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than 1 million visitors a year.
For further information, contact:
Alexis Wilson, Communications Director