A Jaguar cub born August 20 is thriving under the care of zoo keepers at Texas’s Ellen Trout Zoo. The male cub, named Balam (the Mayan word for Jaguar), was removed from his mother’s care shortly after his birth because his mother was not nursing him.
You first read about Balam on ZooBorns here. Now three weeks old, Balam is gaining weight – he currently weighs nearly four pounds – and is developing normally. Balam’s keeper’s say he is becoming more coordinated, more active, and is increasingly aware of his surroundings, and although he still trips over his feet, Balam is developing his own Jaguar "swagger."
Jaguars are native to Central and South America, where they inhabit rain forests and wetlands, often living near rivers. As the top predators in their ecosystem, Jaguars are dependent on sufficient prey levels to sustain themselves. Jaguars populations are shrinking rapidly as forests are destroyed and converted to agricultural use. These magnificent cats once ranged into the southwestern United States as recently as the early 20th century, but hunting and isolation from Central American populations put an end to a viable Jaguar population in the US.
See more photos of Balam below.