Can You Say Oncilla?


On January 14th, the Sao Paulo Zoo in Brazil welcomed a new resident, a male baby Oncilla named Poli. (It's pronounced AWN-sill-uh, by the way.) The cub’s mother, Luiza, is one of the last melanistic Oncilla remaining in captivity today. Melanism is a genetic mutation causing dark pigmentation, so rather than being spotted, Luiza’s coat is entirely black. Despite the mother’s mutation, Poli was born with the more common spotted fur pattern. 

Soon after the birth, Luiza rejected her baby, so Poli was bottle-fed by zoo staff. Now at four and a half months old, Poli is already fully weaned, healthy, and continues to grow strong. (These photos were taken on March 15th and May 21st). 




Photo Credits: Carlos Nader / Sao Paulo Zoo

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Two Firsts: Little Orphan Oncilla and the Mata Ciliar Organization

Oncilla Cub at Mata Cilliar

Today ZooBorns is proud to showcase our first Oncilla cub and first submission by Brazil's Mata Ciliar conservation organization. On August 16th, the Mata Ciliar Association received a call about an orphan Ocelot cub found near a controlled fire area (fire belt) in Brazil. Although the cub's mother most likely escaped the fire, she did not return for her cub. When staff arrived, they realized the cub was actually an Oncilla, a smaller relative of the Ocelot, and brought the cub back to their rehabilitation facility for hand-rearing. Only two months old, the cub is a healthy male. Staff named him Tost. Controlled burns for agricultural lands are one of the main causes of injured animals throughout Brazil. 

The Mata Ciliar Association operates the largest feline conservation center in Brazil and focuses on conservation of the eight native species of felines in the region. The center provides research, education and conservation support in Brazil and twenty other countries.

Oncilla Cub at Mata Cilliar 2

Oncilla Cub at Mata Cilliar 3