Endangered jaguar gives birth at Wildlife World

"Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park is located at 16501 W. Northern Avenue, Litchfield Park (at the southeast corner of State Route 303 and Northern Avenue)."

After making international headlines, a Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park jaguar is back in the spotlight.

Endangered jaguar Sara gave birth to a healthy cub earlier this month. Wildlife World Zoo’s newest member shares its mother’s melanistic coloration — black with black spots.

When Sara made headlines, she was into her second trimester. Thereafter, Wildlife World’s animal care team decided to move Sara off exhibit, where her and her unborn cub’s health, comfort and well-being could be better monitored by staff. Sara’s cub is receiving around-the-clock care by the experienced Wildlife World hand-raising team and veterinarians. The youngster enjoys bottles of formula several times a day, and over the next few weeks she will begin the transition to include meat in her diet.

Sara will continue to spend 15 hours a day in her two-story habitat at Wildlife World Zoo and will return to full time once modifications are complete. The exhibit’s climbing wall, perches, waterfall, pool and foliage were constructed specifically to duplicate the natural habitat for jaguars. The exhibit features an enclosed ledge that allows the cats to climb up and over zoo visitors, giving guests and animals a truly unique view of each other. This unique design has now become very popular in zoos over the past decade but was first featured at Wildlife World in 1985.

The jaguar species has an extensive range throughout Central and South America and were once found throughout the southwest, including Arizona. Male jaguars can reach up to about 200 pounds and are known to have the strongest bite of any feline species. Their stocky build allows them to climb with ease in their preferred rainforest habitat to stalk and ambush prey. While most jaguars are yellow with black spots, a sizable fraction of the population is melanistic.

Similar to many large predators across the globe, jaguars face an uncertain future due to poaching and deforestation resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation. Many are killed as a result of increasing human-animal conflicts over space and resources.

Wildlife World’s keepers and veterinarians have raised dozens of species of wild and endangered animals over the past 34 years, ensuring maximized genetic diversity in the zoological population with their breeding programs. With more than 600 species and 6,000 animals on display, there are regularly new arrivals at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park.

Other babies on display include warthogs; black-backed jackals; colobus and spider monkeys; young capybara; and several hoofed animal species like baby goats in the petting zoo; and other youngsters throughout the 100-acre park.

This spring, Wildlife World was named “the Best Zoo in Arizona” by Reader’s Digest Magazine.

As a USDA-licensed, private institution, accredited by the Zoological Association of America and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park receives zero taxpayer funding. No tax dollars have ever been spent to build or operate Wildlife World in its 35-year history.

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park is located at 16501 W. Northern Avenue, Litchfield Park (at the southeast corner of State Route 303 and Northern Avenue). It is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays. Zoo exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 4:30 p.m.). Aquarium exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission includes access to the zoo, aquarium and safari park.

For more info call 623-935-WILD (9453) or visit the zoo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @zoowildlife or its website at wildlifeworld.com