Newborn jaguar shares birthday with Jaguars owner Shad Khan


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Jacksonville Jaguars have announced the birth of a new jaguar cub in time to kick off the 2013 football season.

Born July 18, and coincidentally sharing a birthday with Jaguars owner Shad Khan, the zoo's new cub is doing well and is looking forward to being drafted as the newest Jaguars teammate, officials said.

The cub completed his first wellness check Sunday at the zoo, conducted by the zoo's trained animal staff and Jaguars center Brad Meester, his wife, Jamie, and their six daughters. The male cub passed all physical exams including heart, lungs, temperature and abdominal check, officials said. He weighed in at just less than seven pounds.

"We are extremely proud of this iconic new addition to not only the Jacksonville Zoo, but to the Jacksonville community," said Tony Vecchio, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens executive director. "Jacksonville is a city that stands together, and this new cub will only strengthen our community further."

This is the 50th jaguar cub to be born at the Jacksonville Zoo. This birth is particularly important as the dam, Zassi, is a wild-born, imported jaguar from Guyana and is a new founder bloodline for the North American jaguar population. This is Zassi's second cub and she has proven to be an attentive, protective mother.

Jaguars have been part of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens' animal collection since at least 1958, with the first cub born in 1973.

"We are just thrilled that the cub and Mr. Khan share the same special day," said Deputy Director Dan Maloney. "We're hoping it's a great omen for the team, the city and the zoo."