Two jaguar cubs are getting lots of attention at Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County Zoo — and not just because they’re adorable.
The spotted brothers, born November 13, are introducing new genes to the endangered species’s captive population because, unlike most zoo babies, their father was born in the wild.
Stacey Johnson, coordinator of the jaguar species survival plan for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, said it is rare for zoos to have animals born in the wild.
Having genes from wild animals will help the jaguar population stay healthy “over the next 100 years,” Johnson said.
The cubs, about the size of house cats, are still too small for their multilevel exhibit, so they aren’t yet on display. But fans can catch glimpses of the curious cubs and their mother on the zoo’s live webcam. Zoo officials plan to put the cubs on display by February.
Their father, Pat, was captured in Central America after being deemed a problem jaguar for attacking cattle.