Jaguar Dad Will Get to Name His Little Boy

Woodland Park Zoo's three jaguar cubs
Jamie Delk / Woodland Park Zoo
The male cub, center, will get his name from his dad on Friday.

A new dad in Seattle will get a special treat for Father’s Day: the chance to name his firstborn son in a ceremony that involves all of his favorite foods.

The 14-year-old jaguar, named Junior, became dad to a trio of cubs at the Woodland Park Zoo in March. The two girls and one boy were born to mom Nayla, 7.

On Friday, Junior will choose Cruz, Tlaloc or Kuwan for his son’s name. The monikers, selected by zookeepers, will be paired with piñatas filled with his favorite meats: chicken and ground turkey.

The cub’s two sisters will be named privately.

Veterinarians only recently got their hands on the triplets for the first time — and quickly determined that they were a “rowdy group.” Nayla is doing such a good job raising her little ones that keepers couldn’t get them out of her protective care for a good look at them until May 24.

The healthy cubs weighed in at about 10 pounds each at their first official exam. But their size is where their similarities end.

The animal care staff said the firstborn cub, a female, is the smallest of her siblings but tends to be the leader of the three. She has an “independent and adventurous nature,” says keeper Jamie Delk.

The male was the second to be born, and was the largest at the time. The staff can easily tell him apart due to his vocal outbursts, but this mama’s boy is also easily startled and shy around his keepers.

The third born, another female, likes to romp around with her brother, and often trails after her sister.

The cubs are learning to play with enrichment items including paper-towel rolls, boxes and small balls. “Their agility shows us they’re gaining more and more coordination each day,” says Delk.

Although they have access to both an indoor and outdoor play area, the cubs won’t make their official public debut until the summer — after their keepers have baby-proofed their exhibit.

Woodland Park Zoo fierce jaguar cub
Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo
One of the cubs shows off a fierce side.

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