Culture / Newsy

Houston Zoo’s Baby Jaguars are Already Stealing Hearts

Beyond Cute Cubs Could Convert Even an Animal Hater

BY // 11.09.17
photography Stephanie Adams

Hello, Fritz and Emma, the cutest little (soon to be big) cats you’ve ever seen. The adorbs four-month-old jaguar cubs made their public debut at Houston Zoo on Thursday with the cameras rolling. And hearts are melting across the city.

The babies were born to first-time parents Maya and Tesoro on July 20. Since that time they have been quietly behind the scenes bonding with Maya.

As of today, the precious duo can be observed romping through their zoo habitat with their mom on most mornings. In the event that they are feeling a bit shy or simply prefer privacy, the cubs have access to their night house and realistic caves.

The last time jaguars were born at the Houston Zoo was 12 years ago, so there is much jubilation on the animal-lovers and conservationist fronts. The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the jaguar as “near-threatened” as their numbers continue to decline. That loss is credited in large part to the loss of habitat.

The Houston Zoo is working to protect jaguars in the wild by supporting conservation partners in Brazil. The big cats’ natural habitat covers Central and South America with some venturing as far north as Mexico and the southwestern U.S.

Animal conservation is one of the mainstays of the Zoo’s mission. Partners in the effort to save animals and their habitats include Mozambique, Africa, where Houston Zoo has invested in long-term conservation projects that protect lions. That program has seen an increase of 300 more lions in the area.

Work with conservation partners in Rwanda, Africa, has seen the number of gorillas grow by 110. And the Houston Zoo’s recent Conservation Gala raised close to $1 million for lemur conservation programs in Madagascar.

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