My son and daughter love to race around the house pretending they are Dora & Diego, from the popular Nick Jr. television cartoons, playing along with a stuffed animal in their adventures they imagine to be one of the show’s sidekicks called Baby Jaguar. In fact, I believe they talk more about Baby Jaguar when they are playing than Diego, Dora, or any other aspect of the show…well maybe accept Swiper the swiping fox as I often hear them saying “Swiper no Swiping” as they go about exploring the wild jungle of our living room. So they were really excited to have the chance to see two real life baby jaguars!
They don’t have any jaguars on display at our local zoo, but in November two cubs were born at the Milwaukee County Zoo and we've been able to catch glimpses of them by a live webcam feed that has been posted. My kids were so excited to see the jaguar cubs that have unofficially been named Gaps & Dots due to the markings on their heads by the zoo staff caring for them, that my monitor is covered with finger print smudges from them pointing the cubs out to me. Here’s a link if you’d like to check out Dots and Gaps for yourself:
These two jaguar cubs are also very important to the species because their father was captured in the wild and brought to the zoo because he was deemed a nuisance for attacking cattle and so these births introduce a new gene pool to the captive population that will help promote healthy breeding in future generations. Jaguars are the third largest “big cat” behind the lion and tiger and is the largest feline native to North & South America. Wild jaguars can be found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. Unfortunately, they are a threatened species with declining numbers. For more information on wild jaguars and how you can help in the effort to protect them, visit the conservation group PANTHERA: http://www.panthera.org/species/jaguar
The Milwaukee County Zoo has also posted a nice video with more information about Gaps and Dots that is interesting to watch: