There’s a new furry face at the Reid Park Zoo, one with an intense stare and a caramel-tan coat featuring black rosettes.
Bella, a 10-year-old jaguar from the Akron Zoo in Ohio, recently took up residence in Tucson.
“Bella is a curious cat and has investigated everything in her surroundings. She has become comfortable quickly, resting on her back and rolling around playfully, as cats big and small do,” said Sue Tygielski, director of zoo operations, in a statement.
Bella was born in Ohio, and was selected by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan to move to Tucson.
Like many people who move to Arizona from out-of-state, allergies were a factor in this jaguar's move, according to the zoo. Bella has skin allergies, and the hope is that Tucson’s climate will be more comfortable for her. Bella will also serve as an ambassador for her species, raising awareness about the challenges that jaguars are facing in the wild.
Guests can look for Bella in the Zoo's South America loop during visits to the Zoo. As Bella adjusts to her new home, she may spend time between her habitat and behind-the-scenes in her night house.
Bella replaces Simone, a 23-year-old jaguar who passed away in July. Simone was the oldest jaguar at an AZA-accredited zoo, and lived nearly all of her life at Reid Park Zoo. She arrived in Tucson from another zoo when she was just 7 months old. Median life expectancy for jaguars is 18.
Simone was euthanized Friday, July 5 due to age-related health issues. Simone’s sister Nikita passed away in 2017, also due to age-related health concerns.