A pair of jaguar cubs were born in San Diego Zoo in California on Thursday. The brother and sister, who havenâ€™t been named, were delivered on April 26 and are currently being kept out of public view.
According to the zoo reps, the cubs will be soon moved to a specially-built cave with their mother Nindiri so that visitors to the zoo will be able to see how they are getting on.
Senior keeper Nicole Johnston is thrilled with the new arrivals: “We are very excited about this, we’re ecstatic. We haven’t had babies here in 30 years.”
The siblings are very small at the moment, but adult jaguars are the third largest of the world’s cats and the siblings can be expected to weigh up to 250 pounds in later life, says ITN.
The arrival of the cubs is a rarity for the zoo, explains senior keeper Nicole: Â “Here at the San Diego Zoo, our female jaguar just gave birth on April 26 to two cubs. We’re very excited about this, we’re ecstatic. We haven’t had babies here in 30 years.”
Although these two siblings may look adorable, jaguars can range from 70 to 249 pounds, writes The Telegraph. “So right now the jaguar babies are not visible to the public, they’re inside with mom,â€ť Johnston said.
â€śThe first step with these guys, they’re growing by leaps and bounds and they’re so active, is we’re going to give them access in Elephant Odyssey to the front cave area, so they’ll be viewable behind the glass in that cave as long as mom allows them to wander out in to that area.â€ť
She went on: â€śIn the next few months we’re hoping to be able to have them on the big exhibit where they’re going to have all these things to play with and a pool to swim in. It’s going to be pretty amazing.”
Jaguars are considered to be the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest of the world’s cats. The South American native word for jaguar, yaguara, means “animal that kills in a single bound.”
The siblings have started to take after their parents. The male cub seems to be lackadaisical like their father, Guapo, and the female has shown the characteristic vigor of their mother, Nindiri.
Jaguars are an endangered species closely related to some other big cats, including leopards, tigers and lions. Native to Central and South America, their numbers are in decline, largely due to loss of their natural habitat.
â€śDemand for the jaguar’s beautiful rosette-covered fur is one of the reasons this species is endangered. In addition, loss of habitat and the human-animal conflict have reduced populations of jaguars throughout their range from North America through South America,â€ť the paper reads.
As A-Z Animals explains, â€śThe Jaguar was once found from the tip of South America right up to and beyond, the Mexico-USA border but hunting for their fur and habitat loss has led to drastic declines in population numbers.â€ť
â€śThey are today very, very rarely seen in the USA and are considered endangered throughout much of their natural range, although the Jaguar is listed by the IUCN Red List as an animal that is Threatened in it’s surrounding environment.”
“Although the exact population number is unknown, there are an estimated 15,000 Jaguar individuals left roaming the rainforest today.â€ť