Jaguar cub Valerio plays in the snow for the first time!

Let a one year old play for the first time in the snow, and just about anything can happen! And so it did, when one year old jaguar cub Valerio and his mom Nindiri, woke up to 8 tons of fresh, glistening snow blanketing their San Diego Zoo habitat.  They stepped outside, first gingerly, then almost joyfully, as they explored, climbed, even licked and lapped the cold stuff. 

Keep in mind, jaguars are native to warmer climates in North and South America, so, the snow was as welcome an enrichment activity, as it would have been to children who have never seen, or felt snow!

The largest cat in the Western Hemisphere, jaguars are endangered, with only about 10,000 left in the wild. Demand for its beautiful rosette pattern fur is one reason; another, is the loss of habitat which results in human-jaguar conflict.

San Diego Zoo Global partners with the Wildlands Network and Latin American conservationists to study, monitor and protect jaguars. Zoo visitors can visit Valerio and mom Nindiri, along with their next door lion mates, M’bari and Etosha in their habitats at the Zoo’s Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey.

For now, enjoy these wonderful images courtesy of the San Diego Zoo.

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