That adorable little spotted jaguar has grown up to be an impressive big cat, looking as big as his mom now. Valerio will be 10 months old tomorrow, and the once tiny playful cub is now an equally playful, 86 pound boy. He and his mom, Nindiri, still have a close relationship. Their bond is evident in the affection they show each other, and in the fun they have teasing, chasing, and wrestling. Valerio has always seemed like an outgoing and sociable cat, responsive to his keepers during training, greeting the visitors when a tour arrives, and even playing with kids on the other side of the window. Nindiri works well with the keepers, but has a ferocious reputation to protect, so her affection for people is rare. But Nindiri’s hidden sweetness comes out in the way she loves her son - teaching him patiently, willing to give up her food for him, and playing with him like a frisky kitten - not just in response to his pounces, but often stirring up trouble herself by enticing him to chase. I know the time will come when it’s time for Nindiri to cut the apron strings, and let Valerio know it’s time for him to be independent. But until that time comes, I’m enjoying every moment of their special bond.
Keywords:Big Cat, Cub, Jaguar, San Diego Zoo