Thursday 6 November 2014

Jaguar cub dies at Milwaukee County Zoo (US) - Cub killed by a 2-year-old male jaguar

Jaguar cub dies at Milwaukee County Zoo

The cub, named Anahish, was killed Thursday morning. The zoo says an interior door in the big cat building was inadvertently left open, allowing a 2-year-old male jaguar to enter the area and attack the cub.

Anahish was born Aug. 14 along with a male litter mate named Francisco.

Officials say the cubs’ mother, Stella, is showing signs of agitation. For now, Stella and Francisco will not be on exhibit.

An animal autopsy will be conducted at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. The zoo is investigating.

Monday 3 November 2014

Milwaukee County Zoo sends jaguar to meet mate in San Antonio - B'Lam was a 'problem' jaguar in Belize

Milwaukee County Zoo sends jaguar to meet mate in San Antonio 

Before entering, B'Lam is crouched down to get a look inside his shipping crate. Zookeepers spend several days getting the cub used to his crate to prevent having to sedate than animal before flying to his new home.

Mike De Sisti  - Before entering, B'Lam is crouched down to get a look inside his shipping crate. Zookeepers spend several days getting the cub used to his crate to prevent having to sedate than animal before flying to his new home.

3 November 2014  Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

If B'alam were on eHarmony or, his dating profile might look like this:
Single, spotted male, seeking companionship. Loves destroying toys, hanging out on his favorite log and dining out on dead rats.

Instead of Tinder or OKCupid, B'alam is relying on the matchmakers in charge of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan Program, which sent him last week from his home at the Milwaukee County Zoo to the San Antonio Zoo.

His potential mate, a year-old female named Arizona, is coming from the zoo in Seattle.
San Antonio zookeepers are hopeful that the pair of jaguars will take a shine to each other and someday, maybe in a year or so, they'll be blessed with babies.

When B'alam, which means jaguar in Mayan, and his brother Zean were born to Pat and Stella at the Milwaukee County Zoo last year, zookeepers knew the family would eventually get broken up.
Just like in the wild. Had the brothers been born in the wild, their mother would have kicked them out to fend for themselves months ago, not long after she finished nursing and before she became ready to breed again.

Their births and those of other animals in the Species Survival Plan Program at AZA-accredited facilities are carefully monitored for breeding.

A variety of factors are considered in ranking animals on the lists, including age, gender, geographic location, parentage, behavior and genetics.

"It's definitely a blend of art and science," said Stacey Johnson, coordinator of the jaguar Species Survival Plan since 2006.

Decades ago a large number of animals in zoos were captured in the wild. But most zoos no longer do that, instead breeding their captive animals and swapping with other facilities.
While that's more humane than plucking creatures from their native habitat, it also means the pool of genetics is not as diverse as it is in the wild.

Enter the Species Survival Plan, which was started in 1981 to concentrate on endangered animals whose best chance to survive might be captive breeding programs.
The plan helps maintain healthy and genetically diverse populations of more than 150 species among AZA-accredited facilities.

In some cases, the last few surviving examples of a species are in zoos.
"It allows us to rescue species on the verge of extinction. There's a growing number of species of wildlife that would be gone if it hadn't been for zoos intervening, sometimes at the last minute," said Johnson, director of collections at San Diego Zoo Global.

Zoos do not buy or sell animals, but the zoo acquiring the animal pays for transportation.
While Stella was born in captivity, Pat came from the wild. He was a "problem" jaguar in Belize. But instead of killing him, authorities in that Central American country took him to a local zoo and eventually transferred him to Milwaukee.

Because Pat's genetics are from the wild, his offspring are higher up on the list of desirable jaguars at American zoos.

There are 111 jaguars in 46 accredited facilities participating in the jaguar Species Survival Plan, including 58 females.

Of that total, six were recently at the Milwaukee County Zoo, including Pat and Stella, their first litter of B'alam and Zean, and their second litter of a female and male born in the summer.
Under the plan, B'alam was chosen to go to San Antonio while Zean will head to the Elmwood Park Zoo near Philadelphia. Zean will be paired with a female jaguar from Seattle named Inka.
Milwaukee's female and male cubs born this summer, which haven't been named yet, will likely go to other zoos next year.

Both zoos are pumped to get jaguar cubs.
"I can't say enough how thrilled we are," said Anita Santiago, mammals department supervisor in San Antonio.

The San Antonio Zoo had a breeding jaguar pair several years ago, but the couple did not produce offspring. Its most recent jaguar, a 9-year-old female named Maya, is not a good candidate for breeding and was sent to a zoo in Albuquerque to make room for B'alam and his new mate.

Elmwood Park Zoo loves jaguars so much it made the cat a part of the zoo's logo. The zoo is raising $4 million for a new jaguar exhibit expected to be finished in 11/2 to 2 years.

The previous Elmwood Park jaguar couple, which did not successfully breed, died recently.
"It was a huge blow to our zoo. They were easily the most beloved animals here," said Shaun Rogers, Elmwood Park Zoo marketing director.

Moving to a new home is not easy — especially for jaguars. Just getting them into their moving crate is a challenge. Which is why Milwaukee zookeepers Amanda Ista and Jessica Munson started getting B'alam, the first to go, ready a few weeks ago.

No tranquilizers will be used during the journey to their new homes because zookeepers don't know how or when they will wake up.
So instead zookeepers gradually introduced B'alam to his crate to get him accustomed to it, first by leaving both doors open, then just one door open, then placing pieces of chicken inside and finally a nice treat — a dead rat — to induce the hungry and curious feline to go inside.

"The public always asks us, 'Aren't you sorry to see them go?'" Munson said. "We have to do what's best for the animals."
Ista added: "It's like health care workers. You have to keep some separation, but sometimes you do get close to an animal."

Because there are no direct flights from Milwaukee to San Antonio, B'alam was taken by truck to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and flown in the cargo hold to Houston, where he was picked up and driven to San Antonio.

Though Milwaukee is losing two of its jaguar cubs, the zoo frequently gets animals from other facilities.
Currently on the Milwaukee County Zoo wish list: an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, a Chilean flamingo, an African spoonbill and a red kangaroo.