A New Addition to M&T Bank Rainforest Falls!
The Buffalo Zoo is always excited when one of our animals gives birth. Our keepers become incredibly attached to our animals and feel like proud parents themselves when a new animal is born here at the Zoo. More importantly, the Buffalo Zoo is proud to participate in many Species Survival Plans (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which helps promote the survivability of species through planned breeding. So when our keepers of our popular habitat Rainforest Falls announced that ocelot Ayla was pregnant, it was a win-win situation.
The ocelot kitten (later named Nico) was born on November 17, 2016 to second-time parents Ayla (6) and Pedro (12). For the first several weeks Nico spent time bonding with mom off exhibit. During this period Ayla showed strong maternal instincts and took good care of little Nico. This was not the first time Ayla had been a mother; Ayla and Pedro’s first kitten was born in 2013, so Ayla is getting pretty good at the whole mom thing.
Over the past few weeks Nico has developed his own unique personality. He is very curious and enjoys exploring surroundings. He can be seen following mom and rolling around playing with the leaves and branches of his new home.
Listed as Least Concerned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the ocelot population is doing well throughout South America. However, in the United States, the ocelot used to be found throughout Texas and east to Arkansas and Louisiana. Due to hunting and habitat loss, it is now very rare in this country. In fact, researchers believe that there may be as few as 100 ocelots living in the United States today. Nico’s birth marks a significant contribution to the conservation of its species.
The Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m., so please come and visit Nico and his mother, Ayla, inside M&T Bank Rainforest Falls!