Brevard Zoo welcomed a pair of healthy jaguar cubs on Tuesday, January 27. The cubs were born to 11-year-old mom, Masaya, and 13-year-old dad, Mulac. The sex of both cubs is not known at this time.
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, the Zoo was able to install a camera in the den box. This enabled keepers to monitor Masaya as she gave birth and were able to see that the cubs were nursing. Masaya is an excellent mother and seeing her care so well for her cubs has confirmed those beliefs.
It will still be approximately 3 weeks before the cubs venture out of the den on their own and two to three months before the pair will be out on exhibit. Keepers will continue to monitor the cubs’ growth by weighing them and using photo documentation.
“We are very excited with Masaya and Mulac’s new additions and look forward to them being out for guests to see,” said Kerry Sweeney, Curator of Animals.
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 2, 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 percent of their home range in the last 10 years. And, 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. Known for swimming and climbing, Jaguars are carnivores and hunt deer, monkeys, tapirs, capybara, turtles and fish. 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.