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Tiger Cubs New to Yaguar Zoo

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The mountains, a shade of blue in the distance, loom over the grassland. A tigress coddles her cubs and a giraffe kicks lazily at the dry earth. But it's not Africa. These scenes unfold each day just 45 minutes outside of Oaxaca's Historic Center at Yaguar Zoo. The parque zoologico bakes under the open sun of the Oaxaca Valley, giving the impression of a natural habitat. Within the confines of the facility, shielded by a fence of cacti, roam lions, tigers, bears, a puma, a coyote, jaguars, buffalos, a lynx, a hyena, an emu, a crocodile, zebras, and many more animals, passively displaying their grace and their sheen.

Started 11 years ago as a private venture, Yaguar Zoo has expanded to 70 animals of 40 different species, and is still accepting donations of exotic animals. Its location, a short trip east from the popular archaeological sites in Yagul and Mitla, make for a convenient day trip, and the on-site palapa huts provide a place to picnic under the gaze of the nearby Arabian camels. Three young tiger cubs, born at the beginning of April, are the latest attractions to the zoo.

"The cubs' mother is Bengal, and the father is Siberian," said Felipe Ramirez, the zoo's veterinarian. "Two females and a male were born healthy, and for now they'll remain under the protection of their mother, named Jackie." As Siberian tigers are an endangered species, the zoo is hoping to produce purebred cubs in the future.

Yaguar Zoo contains a large ring of displays and changing ecosystems, enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Spending a few minutes in front of each exhibition, it's easy to quickly learn the personalities and quirks of each animal: the nervous felines, macho lions, dainty giraffes and downright churlish camels.

The zoo is open from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost 65 pesos for adults and 50 for children, though group rates are available.

Yaguar Zoo is located at the Carretera Internacional, Km 5, Local A, San Sebastian Tutla. For more information, visit www.yaguarxoo.com.mx

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