She was born in late September but this weekend, the public will get its first chance to see Amara live and up close. The ocelot kitten will make its public debut on the same day the zoo raises awareness of rainforest conservation.
Amara was born to parents Ayla and Pedro and was bred at the encouragement of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Buffalo Zoo is a participant in the Association's Species Survival Plan. Ocelots are most commonly found in Central and South America, though it's believed about 100 or so live in parts including Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. They are rarely seen domestically, zoo officials say, due to hunting and habitat eradication.
The public will have its first chance Saturday to see Amara. She resides in the Zoo's Rainforest exhibit house. Buffalo Zoo spokesperson Christina Dobosiewicz explained why the ocelot's handlers waited to unveil their latest addition.
"What we try to do with all our animals is allow for the parents, for nature to take its course," he said. "She's staying in there with mom right now. When mom feels it's appropriate to bring her out, or the kitten feels comfortable going out on its own, it's going to do that."
Amara is the third ocelot kitten born at the Buffalo Zoo. Nico, which was born two years ago, was moved to another zoo on a breeding recommendation. Dobosiewicz explained these cats live alone in the wild and typically separate from their mothers after about eight months.
Amara's public debut Saturday coincides with the Zoo's Rainforest Day.
"It's one of our monthly themed events that we have here," Dobosiewicz said. "It's all geared toward raising conservation of rainforest initiatives. We're going to have a bunch of keeper talks, a bunch of animal feeds. We're going to have things for people to purchase, paintings that the animals have painted, and all that money is geared towards rainforest conservation."