Jaguar gives birth to cub at Thai zoo

Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai Zoo has attained another milestone in its breeding projects for rare animals, after a 14-year-old jaguar gave birth to a cub. Zoo officials have not yet been able to identify the gender of the cub as its mother, “Nam Oy”, is still in a stressed and anxious condition and wary of people approaching.

She had been under close watch around the clock because any nuisance could make her aggressive and lead to her eating the cub, officials said.

Nam Oy was brought from her habitat in South America several years ago.

So far the big cat has given birth four times. The young jaguars born to Nam Oy were given to other zoos in Thailand.

There are currently four jaguars at Chiang Mai Zoo. Jaguars are considered an endangered species after heavy hunting for their skin, especially in the 1960s, led to a reduction in numbers.

They are heavier than leopards and their spots on the backs, called rosettes, uniquely have a spot in the centre.

In the wild, they dip their tails in rivers to attract hungry fish before catching them.

The zoo expects to allow people to see the cub in the next two months, and will ask children to give it a Thai name.

Head of public relations Rotsukon Juikamwong said the zoo has also been successful in breeding rare cranes.

An Eastern Sarus Crane, one of 15 Thai species near extinction, is brooding two eggs while an African Crown Crane has already given birth to two offspring.

Officials said the zoo has toughened precautionary measures against bird flu. All cars entering the zoo are sprayed with disinfectant and movement of all birds to and from the zoo is banned.

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