Well, that was a fine how do you do. The first jaguar cub ever born via artificial insemination was killed and eaten by its mother only a few days after it was born.
Apparently, mommy felt there was something unnatural about the whole thing and took a bite out of science.
The cub was born via the efforts of the environmental organization Mata Ciliar in Jundiaí, Sao Paulo state, Brazil. It was hailed as a scientific breakthrough.
Apparently, the mommy jaguar drafted for this “breakthrough” did not feel all that honored to be part of the project.
Of course, jaguars are endangered, so the artificial birth was part of an effort to save the species.
According to the New York Post:
Vets inseminated Bianca by using laparoscopic artificial insemination developed by CREW researchers, a method used in previous work with other species of wild cats.
“The jaguar is the last of the seven species of large-sized felines to undergo artificial insemination (AI),” said Dr. Bill Swanson, a researcher at CREW.
“The birth of this cub is an important historical landmark. It invigorates the possibility of the use of assisted reproduction as a management tool that increases the genetic variability of (captive and wild) populations and the conservation of these endangered iconic cats.”
Still, the scientists say that the killing of the cub is not uncommon.
“But the unexpected death of the baby, while gruesome, is not uncommon, both in captivity and in nature, especially in the case of carnivores,” scientists said.
This all makes you wonder… if these scientists are aware that this often happens in captivity… why the heck didn’t they make moves to make sure it didn’t happen?
Still, now that they have seen that it can be successful, maybe a larger program can add more little jaguars to the forests?
Just don’t leave the project up to the jaguar mothers.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.