Jaguars at San Diego Zoo Receive 'Purr-Fect' Valentine's Day Gift

San Diego, California - The jaguar family at the San Diego Zoo received the 'purr-fect' gesture of love from their keepers this morning: an early Valentine's Day gift in the form of heart-shaped "bloodsicles. While most humans prefer chocolates or flowers on Valentine's Day, these feline carnivores prefer blood.

Mother Nindiri and her two 10-month-old cubs, Tikal and Maderas, shared the love as they licked, chewed and purred while savoring the delectable treats. Keepers froze blood, beef hearts and pieces of meat in heart-shaped pans to provide the special enrichment for the cats. Enrichment is important for the cats, as it keeps the animals stimulated and active, allowing them to show their natural behaviors.

Jaguars are the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest of the world's cats. Unfortunately, demand for the jaguar's beautiful rosette-covered fur is one of the reasons this species is endangered. In addition, loss of habitat and human-jaguar conflicts has reduced populations of jaguars throughout their range from North America through South America.

San Diego Zoo visitors can learn more about jaguars and other amazing cats during Discovery Days: Cool Cats, taking place at the Zoo on Friday, Feb. 15, through Monday, Feb. 18. Cools Cats offers up-close encounters with cats of all colors and sizes, from ocelots to cheetahs and more. For information visit http://www.sandiegozoo.org/coolcats/

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The Conservancy makes possible the wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part more than 35 countries. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

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