On June 3, one tiny Jaguar cub was welcomed into the world by The Philadelphia Zoo. Kanga, the Zoo’s 10 year-old female, is the mother. The baby is the first offspring for Jutai, the Zoo’s 7-year-old male jaguar, who came to the Philadelphia Zoo in 2007 after being rescued as an orphan in Belize.
Jaguar cubs are essentially helpless, and in those early days Kanga was in constant physical contact with her cub from the moment it was born, caring for and feeding it. The first 72 hours of the cub’s life are the most critical and so the cub was monitored closely by the Zoo’s animal and veterinary staff via video (see below). When they finally were able to get close enough to determine the gender they learned it was a male. They've named him Lucha.
Below is how the keepers watched as Mom Kanga cared for tiny Lucha back in June. The video below just following shows Lucha taking his first steps outside into the habitat with his mother, just a few days ago.
“We’re very excited to welcome Kanga’s and Jutai’s new cub, the first jaguar born at the Philadelphia Zoo in over 30 years,” says Tammy Schmidt, Carnivore Curator. “We work with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This birth, Jutai’s first, is a significant contribution to the jaguar population in the U.S. We are cautiously optimistic and letting Kanga be the fantastic mother she is,” said Schmidt. The mission of the SSP Program is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability.
Jaguars are threatened in the wild due to habitat destruction, conflict with humans, and poaching. The Philadelphia Zoo supports wild jaguars by partnering with conservationists in Belize to protect jaguar habitat and rescue animals that need help.