This is awful. It’s been reported that the world’s first jaguar cub born through artificial insemination has been eaten by her mother two days after birth although there is some confusion over the cub’s death.
The jaguar cub was born in San Paulo, Brazil in February 2019. We are told (Daily Mail) that her mother, Bianca ate her own kitten at a veterinary facility and despite this incredibly sad incident the scientists behind this work are happy with the results of their work. They feel it was successful and will benefit conservation going forward. Unfortunately these programs fight a rearguard action. They are playing catch up; far better to prevent the loss of wild cat species in the first place.
Scientists hailed their work as a landmark scientific breakthrough. And then disaster. The scientists say that their work increases the conservation prospects of wild cats.
The female kitten was born healthy and vigorous and initially Bianca showed excellent maternal care for her newborn. The cub died after two days.
Samuel Nunes a spokesperson said: ‘Unfortunately after two days the cub died. We don’t know why and cannot say if it was killed by the mother because it was not seen on the monitors on the second day…’
This somewhat contradicts the title and the reports I have read.
The scientist could not conduct a necropsy (autopsy) because the baby had been consumed by her mother.
The project is called the Mata Ciliar project. It’s been going on since 2017. It was developed in partnership with scientists at the Centre for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) based at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens in the United States.
Bianca was one of five females chosen to participate in the project because she was in good health and suitable for reproduction.
The birth was captured on CCTV showing the doting mother caring for her newborn who snuggles up to her to feed.
Comment: the story rather peculiar because of the contradictory information and the lack of a visual record of the death. I find this difficult to understand. Did the cub die for some other reason? A reason connected with the work of the scientists. And if not why did Bianca eat her cub? There is nothing in my reference books which help me to explain it. The scientists who did the insemination don’t know either.