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Brevard Zoo Home to New Jaguar Cubs

IMG_8976Brevard Zoo, in Florida, welcomed a pair of healthy Jaguar cubs on January 27th. The cubs were born to 11-year-old mom, ‘Masaya’, and 13-year-old dad, ‘Mulac’. 

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IMG_9159Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

The zoo’s new additions come with a few firsts for the zoo and the species. Mulac has never sired any cubs before, which means his genes were not represented in the Jaguar population. These cubs are very valuable, genetically, to Jaguars in captivity. Also, Brevard Zoo was able to install a camera in the den box. This enabled keepers to monitor Masaya as she gave birth, and they were able to see that the cubs were nursing. Masaya has shown herself to be a caring and attentive mother. 

It will still be approximately 3 weeks before the cubs venture out of the den, and it will be about two to three months before the pair will be out on exhibit. The sex of the cubs is not known, yet. Keepers will continue to monitor their growth by weighing them and using photo documentation.

Kerry Sweeney, Curator of Animals, said, “We are very excited with Masaya and Mulac’s new additions and look forward to them being out for guests to see.”

This is the fourth litter of cubs for Masaya. Her first cub, ‘Nindiri’, resides at the San Diego Zoo. ‘Phil’ and ‘Jean’ followed and now reside at the Chattanooga Zoo, and ‘Saban’, who just turned two, lives at the Jacksonville Zoo.

The last published Jaguar captive management plan (2010) noted there were 55 Jaguars (23 males; 32 females) at 26 zoological institutions. The target population size designated by the Felid Taxon Advisory Group, the group designated with overseeing captive felines in Association of Zoos and Aquariums facilities, is 120.

It is estimated that Jaguars have lost nearly 50% of their home range in the last 10 years. Since Jaguars do not live in large populations and are constantly on the move, it is difficult to ascertain reliable population data. Jaguars are found in the dense forests and swampy grasslands of Central and South America. Sexual maturity for these animals occurs at approximately three years of age, and litters of one to four young are common. Jaguars can live up to 20 years in captivity. 

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