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Elmwood Zoo’s Jaguar Cubs Have Names

The adorable cubs are almost ready to meet the public.

The Elmwood Park Zoo’s 3-month-old jaguar cubs have names — and a potential date for their public debut.


The insanely adorable cubs, one male and one female, are named Diego and Luna, thanks to members of the public. They made thousands of submissions for names, then zoo staff narrowed the choices to four and opened up a round of public voting that cost $1 per vote. The contest raised $1,341, which the zoo will donate to the Northern Jaguar Project, which works to help save the dwindling species, according to a zoo press release. The zoo will match the contributions, too.


In the voting, “Diego” beat out “Pablo,” “Fuego,” and “Cielo.” “Luna” topped “Maya,” “Zara,” and “Frida.”


The cubs are growing fast: Diego now weighs 15.5 pounds, and his sister 13 pounds. The zoo hopes they’ll meet the public when the “Trail of the Jaguar” exhibit opens. Members can get a preview of the exhibit starting April 27, and it opens to the public on May 5.


Diego and Luna were born January 24, and are the first jaguars to be born in 2017 at a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). That organization promotes breeding through its Species Survival Program (SSP), which oversees a genetically diverse population of 84 jaguars in over 40 AZA-accredited zoos in the United States.


They’re the cubs of Zean, the zoo’s male jaguar, and Inka, a female, and keepers were thrilled the the pair produced cubs on the very first try. The two “cousins” of these cubs were born to Inka’s sister and Zean’s brother at the San Antonio Zoo last fall.


Jaguars are considered “near threatened.” Defenders of Wildlife estimates there are only 15,000 remaining jaguars in the wild. Their natural habitat, which is now mostly in South America, is continually threatened due to deforesting efforts and other factors. The Northern Jaguar Project is working to save the tiny population of jaguars that move around the border of the U.S. and Mexico, and oversees an 86-square-mile reserve.

Mom Inka and the newborn cubs.


Photographs courtesy of the Elmwood Park Zoo. 




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