Waco, Texas - Cameron Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a baby ocelot kitten. The kitten, a male named Aztec, is the first infant born to Cameron Park Zoo ocelots, Maya and Gustavo and is truly a miracle baby. Maya is 14 years old, an age which is considered somewhat past the prime age for successfully producing offspring in ocelots. Ocelots reach sexual maturity at 2-21/2 years of age and their life expectancy is 7-10 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.
November 1, 2012 Cameron Park Zoo welcomed a team of veterinary specialists from the Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Wildlife (CREW), from the Cincinnati Zoo that performed a reproductive assessment on Maya. Even though she was past what would be considered her breeding prime, Maya was still cycling and the assessment showed that there could be a slight chance of a successful pregnancy. The team, along with Cameron Park Zoo veterinarian, Terry Hurst, collected semen from the male ocelot, Gustavo, and perform an AI procedure on Maya. Unfortunately the AI procedure was not successful, and the assumption was that because of her age and the condition of her ovaries, Maya would not be able to be impregnated.
On May 31, 2013 Maya was not feeling well and was left in her night house. Later that morning Zoo staff members were surprised and excited to find a baby ocelot had just been born. Maya was given a nest box and hay for bedding her infant and then left alone to allow her time to bond. Apparently, Gustavo and Maya decided to have their baby “the old fashioned way” and Maya has proven to be a healthy and attentive mother. Cameron Park Zoo officials will announce when Aztec can make his public debut in the exhibit yard.
Mother: Maya, born June 2, 1999
Father: Gustavo, born July 19, 2007
Kitten: Aztec, born May 31, 2013