Monday, 11 May 2015

The arrival of Chincha the Jaguar

Chincha looking very sophisticated
It's always an exciting time when we welcome a new animal to Dartmoor Zoo, and the arrival of Chincha the Jaguar was no different!

After the very sad passing of Sovereign - Dartmoor Zoo's infamous escapee - everyone at the zoo was keen to ensure that his memory lived on, and that we continued to support the incredibly important conservation of the Jaguar.

Jaguars are classified as Near Threatened, and can still be found in the wild in the southern parts of the Americas, where their numbers are unfortunately in decline. Their decrease in numbers is mainly due to the loss and fragmentation of their habitat, as well as a significant number being killed by humans. 

As an animal protected by the CITES agreement (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which was drawn up to ensure that international trade in plants and animals doesn't threaten their survival, trade in Jaguars or their parts is prohibited, but they are seen as a threat by some farmers and ranchers who take matters into their own hands.

In an effort to improve numbers there are breeding programmes in place at various zoos in conjunction with education and release projects. Chincha will hopefully become part of one of these programmes in the future as we work towards becoming a member of EAZA - the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

Chincha is a 2 and a half year old male and came to us from Le Parc Des Felins in France. After much planning he finally arrived with us on 22nd April. You can see a video of the arrival here:

He was understandably a little bit shy for the first week or so as he got used to his new surroundings, but he's well over that now and he's been very adventurous as he explores his enclosure. Although Jaguars are built for swimming, Sovereign hated the water, but Chincha loves it and was testing out the pool for the first time when we captured the below footage:
So, we are all thrilled to welcome Chincha and are extremely excited about what the future will hold for him. 

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