The Living Desert's 4 year old jaguar Magia has given birth to two cubs. President and CEO Allen Monroe made the announcement Tuesday morning.
The cubs were born on April 26. They haven't been given names yet.
Officials said a darkened den was built in preparation for Magia's maternity. During maternity watch, only her two primary zookeepers were allowed to enter the holding area to give her food and water.
"It's extremely important that Magia feel safe. If she feels threatened, she may abandon or harm her cubs," Monroe said. "Since April 26th, Magia has been in her specially built den, only giving zookeepers quick glimpses of her cubs through a small peephole."
Due to the seclusion, zookeepers don't know the sex of the cubs at this time. Monroe said in the coming weeks, Magia will be temporarily moved out of the den so a zookeeper can quickly and safely enter to assess the weight and sex of the cubs.
A month after that, the cubs will be removed from the den for their medical examinations and vaccinations.
"We are being very cautious with this 'first time' mother and want to give her the time she needs before we allow staff near," said Monroe.
Officials said the name jaguar comes from the Native American word 'yaguar' which means "he who kills with one leap".
Jaguars are the largest carnivorous mammals in the Americas and the third largest feline species after the tiger and lion. Zookeepers said, unlike most big cats, jaguars love the water and often swim and bathe, as well as play and hunt in streams.
Magia and the father Memo were recently celebrated at a fundraising event at The Living Desert's annual Zoobilee Gala.
Jaguar Facts from The Living Desert:
- A baby jaguar is called a cub
- Litter size usually ranges between one and four cubs with two being the most common
- Baby jaguars weigh about one and a half to two pounds at birth
- Jaguar cubs are born blind and gain sight after two weeks
- Jaguar mothers will not tolerate the presence of males after birth due to the risk of infanticide (killing of offspring), which is also common in tigers
- Cubs are weaned at three months
- Jaguars have no formal breeding seasons
KESQ and CBS Local 2 will keep you updated on the progress of the jaguar cubs.