A female Jaguar cub born June 29 at the Tulsa Zoo has been named Babette by zoo staff.
Babette is still behind the scenes in a private den with her mother, Ixchel, where keepers observe the pair via remote cameras to ensure that the cub is nursing and developing properly.
Photo Credit: Jenna Schmidt/Tulsa Zoo
In the wild, Jaguar cubs remain in the den for several months and begin accompanying their mothers out of the den when they are about six months old. So far, Ixchel is proving to be an attentive mother, which is no surprise given that this is her third litter.
Babette is named after her father Bebeto, who died of age-related complications in April.
Jaguars’ predatory prowess is well known. These big cats have extremely powerful jaws, and typically kill their prey by biting through the skull into the brain.
Despite their formidable physical abilities, Jaguars are considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in their native range of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Jaguars prefer tropical rain forests, which are shrinking due to human activity. Experts estimate that only about 10,000 Jaguars remain in the wild.
There are about 100 Jaguars in North American zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The AZA oversees the Species Survival Plan, which manages the Jaguar population for optimum genetic diversity. Babette will be an important part of the breeding program when she reaches adulthood.