|Updated: 7/31/2012 3:01 pm
||Published: 7/31/2012 2:59 pm
The Tulsa Zoo announced two new additions to the zoo family with the birth of two jaguar cubs.
The two male cubs were born on April 22, 2012 to the zoo’s 8-year-old female jaguar, Ixchel. Jaguar cubs have never been born at Tulsa Zoo. The two felines will be on exhibit for the first time this weekend in the Tropical American Rainforest exhibit.
Veterinarians say the two cubs have developed distinctly different personalities.
“One of the cubs is very curious and is the first to investigate a new person or object,” said Dr. Jennifer Kilburn, associate veterinarian at the Tulsa Zoo, “The other cub is very shy and tends to stay back until the excitement calms down. When the cubs are relaxed they are very playful with each other and especially with mom. Ixchel has been a fantastic mom, always aware of where the cubs are and keeps them in line!”
Not only is this an exciting birth for the Tulsa Zoo, but also for jaguar populations. The birth is the result of a recommended breeding by the Species Survival Plan, which monitors and recommends breeding among threatened and endangered species in accredited zoos across the nation. Currently, jaguars are classified as “near threatened” due to their declining numbers, which continue to be affected by human-induced habitat destruction.
Tulsa Zoo expects to keep the jaguar cubs until they become young adults, approximately two years old. The Species Survival Plan will then recommend future transfers for the cubs so that they can help maintain healthy jaguar populations in zoos.
The cubs and mom will be located in the Jaguar exhibit in the Tropical American Rain Forest. Though on exhibit, the cubs will still have access to their back dens at times and may be shy of humans and their new surroundings, so viewing could be potentially limited as they become acclimated to their exhibit.