Surprise Baby Ocelot Born at Texas Zoo

Sheri Hemrick

Staff members at the Cameron Park Zoo in Texas were in for a surprise when Maya, a 14-year-old ocelot, gave birth to a male kitten in May.

Just last November, the zoo had brought in veterinary specialists from the Cincinnati Zoo to do a reproductive assessment on the aging dwarf leopard. Although Maya was past her breeding prime, the doctors thought there was some chance she could become pregnant, and tried to artificially inseminate her with sperm from her partner, 6-year-old Gustavo.

It didn’t work, and the team assumed Maya was too old to become pregnant. Then, on the morning of May 31, Maya didn’t seem to be feeling well, and was left in her night house. When her keepers went to check on her, they were shocked to discover someone else in there with her: a baby ocelot!

The zoo says that Maya and Gustavo must have decided to conceive the baby boy, named Aztec, “the old fashioned way.”

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