PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Zoo is celebrating the birth of a new baby.

“Cute as a button,” says Tammy Schmidt, curator of carnivores at the zoo, describing the new baby jaguar born Friday night at the zoo.

In global terms it’s a very exciting event, since the elusive jaguar is “near threatened” on the conservation list, about two steps below “endangered.”

It’s the first jaguar born at the zoo since 1972, and the first offspring to the zoo’s seven-year-old male jaguar, Jutai.

The cub’s 10-year-old mother, Kanga, is an experienced mom: she’s had three litters before.

“She’s not leaving its side,” notes Schmidt, using a generic pronoun for the cub because they don’t yet know the cub’s gender.  “If she gets up, typically, she carries it with her.   So we’re giving her that time to bond.”

The baby jag is small, about two pounds, and its eyes are still closed, so it will be completely dependent on mama for about three weeks.

Then, zoo vets will come in and perform a well-baby check and determine its gender.

Schmidt says the public should be able to get a look at the new baby jaguar by fall.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE