Maya the jaguar has been a Palm Beach Zoo guest favorite since her birth five years ago. With her diva-ish personality and stunning good looks, she has touched the hearts of not only her keepers but the thousands of guests that have seen her grow-up.
Join us this weekend, Saturday & Sunday, February 1 & 2, as we say goodbye to Maya. Like all growing children, they must eventually leave the nest and start families of their own. Maya will be leaving us to begin hers the week of February 3, 2014.
Maya, like many of the Zoo's animals, is part of a Species Survival Plan (see below for more details) and has received a breeding recommendation from the Jaguar SSP Studbook Keeper to be paired with a handsome male jaguar at the Los Angeles Zoo.
The first 100 children through the Zoo's gates on Saturday & Sunday, February 1 & 2 will receive a special jaguar-themed surprise from Maya herself.
Maya Exploring the Jaguar Habitat, Age 1
Photo Courtesy: Jupiter Camera Club
Maya Relaxing in the Sun, Age 5
Photo Courtesy: Keith Lovett
Species Survival Plan (SSP): The mission of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program is to help ensure the survival of threatened or endangered species. Some of the animals within our care are SSP animals and our organization takes this responsibility very seriously.
What is an SSP?: The Species Survival Plan, or SSP, is a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population, both genetically diverse and demographically stable. SSPs include other conservation activities including research, education, reintroduction, and field projects.
How are species selected?: Most SSP species are endangered or threatened in the wild and have the interest of professionals with time to dedicate toward their conservation. Also, SSP species are often "flagship species," well-known animals that arouse strong feelings for their preservation and protection of their habitat.
How does the SSP work?: Each SSP has a species coordinator responsible for managing day-to-day activities. Management committees of experts assist with conservation efforts, including population management, research, education, and reintroduction when feasible. Each institution holding an SSP animal has a representative who attends SSP meetings and coordinates SSP activities at the institution.
Studbooks: Studbooks are fundamental to the successful operation of SSPs as each contains the vital records of an entire captive population, including births, deaths, transfers, and lineage. A studbook enables the management group to develop a Master Plan that contains breeding recommendations based on genetics, demographics and species' biology. Studbooks are compiled and updated by "Studbook Keepers" with knowledge of the species and time to assist in its conservation.