ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The ABQ BioPark is celebrating the birth of its first-ever ocelot kittens.
The zoo reports that on October 2, its 5-year-old ocelot “Lucy” gave birth to two healthy kittens, one male, and one female. The kittens’ father is a 2-and-a-half-year old ocelot named Dale, making both animals first-time parents.
On November 13, the kittens had their first exam and vaccinations with both weighing two pounds each. The zoo has yet to select names for the kittens.
The BioPark says that kittens are currently in the den being cared for by their mother while their father is on exhibit. At this time, the BioPark does not know when the kittens will be able to be seen by the public.
“This is an important milestone for the BioPark and we’re happy to report that mom and kittens are doing great,” said Mammal Curator Erin Flynn in a press release. “It’s a big deal for a first time mom to have two kittens and be taking such good care of them.”
Lucy came to the BioPark in June 2015 from the Abilene Zoo, while Dale arrived in April 2018 from the Greensville Zoo. Their breeding was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Ocelot Species Survival Plan.
The ABQ BioPark says that ocelots are notoriously difficult to get pregnant and in 2017 Lucy was artificially inseminated under the direction of the AZA Ocelot SSP group. Lucy did not get pregnant during that time, but according to Flynn, the process made her more receptive to breeding with Dale.
This birth is a success for the BioPark as Lucy’s pregnancy will be used to expand the breed’s management database for additional AZA institutions.