Which Zoo Animal Had the Best Week?

Orson, the San Diego Zoo's black jaguar, turns 20 years old.
San Diego Zoo

Each Saturday, we'll comb the week's celebrity pet news and declare which animal had the best week in the media. Feel free to shout out suggestions on our Facebook page!


Usually, it’s the baby animals who become a zoo's celebrities.

But this week, it was the birthday of an elder statesman at the San Diego Zoo that grabbed headlines.

Orson, a majestic black jaguar, celebrated his twentieth birthday on Sunday. That makes him a rarity: Only about 15 percent of jaguars in captivity reach the age of 20. By comparison, about 15 percent of Americans live to the age of 90, says the zoo

The big cat has slowed a little over time, but aside from a few gray hairs in his striking black coat, Orson’s still got it — and he knows it.

While many jaguars like to hide out in their habitats, “Orson has always preferred to plop himself front and center in his exhibit, where all can get an up close look at him,” said senior keeper Todd Speis, in a blog post. We can’t blame him.

His easygoing personality (for a jaguar) has made old Orson one of the most popular animals at the zoo — and we’re sure celebrating this milestone birthday means he had the best week.

Orson the jaguar is on the prowl in his San Diego Zoo enclosure.
San Diego Zoo
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