|By BILL DIPAOLO
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH — The baby jaguar thriving at the Palm Beach Zoo is a girl.
The cub, which weighed about a pound and a half when it was born Oct. 28, should be available for public viewing around Christmas.
The cub remains unnamed, and zoo officials may hold a contest to name the baby jaguar, Lovett said.
In the meantime, zoo officials are keeping a watchful eye on the now 4.9-pound cat, which Keith Lovett, the zoo’s director of living collections, said is a boost to the endangered species.
“This is great news for jaguars. Their numbers are plummeting worldwide because of habitat loss. It also brings prestige to our zoo’s breeding program,” said Lovett.
The cub’s mother, Nabalam, has had two previous litters. The first was a litter of two, and both cubs are now in other zoos. The second litter was also a litter of two. One is now in another zoo. The other, a female named Izel, remains at the Palm Beach Zoo.
Jaguars are especially tough to breed because the males and females can’t be kept together all the time.
“We have to clock the female’s reproductive cycle. When it’s right, we put the male and female together. It’s not as easy as it seems,” said Lovett.
Female jaguars usually have three or four kittens in a litter.
This latest cub was larger than normal, Lovett said.
“We do examinations twice a week,” he said. “She’s making steady progress. She has a good mother who is very attentive.”
Zoo officials waited to remove the cub from the mother before doing a medical exam to determine the cub’s sex.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org