FORT WORTH, Texas -- A female jaguar cub has the Fort Worth Zoo seeing spots.
The cub, Sasha, was born July 16 to mother Xochi, weighing two pounds. According to the zoo Xochi is a very protective mother and cared for her cub in a private, off-exhibit area, mimicking natural jaguar behavior in the wild.
Now two months old, Sasha weighs 13.75 pounds and can be seen exploring her exhibit.
Sasha is the sixth jaguar cub born since the Texas Wild! exhibit opened in 2001.
The zoo says in the wild a jaguar cub is dependent on its mother for protection from predators, for food and guidance until it is about two years old. Sasha will stay at the Fort Worth Zoo for the next 12 to 18 months and then be moved to another zoo to help maintain genetic diversity within the species.
The jaguar is the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere (third largest in the world behind lions and tigers) and represents the only “big cat” found in the New World. The jaguar is historically native to the southern United States. Due to habitat alteration, the jaguar can now be found from the U.S./Mexico border south into Central America.