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Nico and Sama Jaguars at Diamante Eco Adventure Park

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The animals found in Diamante’s Animal sanctuary have either been rescued or donated by the Wild Life Minsitry of Costa Rica. One of the purposes of our Animal Sanctuary is to promote educational learning and the importance of wildlife conservation efforts. The animals that call Diamante “home” are here because they can’t be reintroduced into the wild. Our jaguars have an interesting background. Below learn about Nico and Sama, the jaguars at Diamante and their upbringing.

It all started with the parents

The father, Torito, transferred to La Paz Waterfall Gardens from the Nicaraguan zoo at the time they closed their doors. He was only two years old and has lived at La Paz for over 9 years.
Shakira, the mother, was rescued in Calero Island when she was a 7 month old cub. The Wild Life Ministry of Costa Rica found her in a very delicate condition. The family that had tried to keep her as a pet did so in deplorable conditions. She was secluded in a small room with no sunlight. Her diet consisted of small dog food and she was never allowed out of that room.
All these unnatural factors led her to have severe anemia, eye sight problems and worse of all, her development was compromised. At the time she was believed to be much younger, given that her size and weight did not match to a 7 month old cub. So it took a team of professionals to nurse her back to health and more than a year for a normal recovery.

Where to See Jaguars in Costa Rica - Diamante Eco Adventure Park's Nico and Sama

Torito at his habitat in La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Today she is still well under size for a normal female adult jaguar in Costa Rica. Also, there are still present signs of nervousness, and mistrust but health wise she is 100%.
Torito and Shakira do not share a habitat. Each one has their own habitat at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and the only time they shared one was during their mating.

Pregnancy and Birth

Shakira became pregnant after their first mating season. Many actions were taken to ensure that her pregnancy was a safe one. Her habitat was closed to the public and was conditioned to her needs. She had an uncomplicated pregnancy and a regular term for felines (3 to 4 months).
Cameras were set up to monitor her at all times and her birthing den was also conditioned to the future needs of her birthing and cubs. And on a February night, Shakira birthed 3 healthy cubs. Sama, Nico and Ashlita were born. Jaguars regularly give birth to one or two cubs, while three or four are rare numbers.
For the first month, Shakira only came out of her den to feed and do her needs. The cameras installed inside her den where the only source of knowledge that the cubs were being taken care of and healthy.
After a month, the team of veterinarians were able to go into the den to weigh the cubs, take blood and confirm that they were healthy. The team did not want to go in before the first month so that the cubs and Shakira could form a bond. At first, the team wasn’t sure that Shakira would develop maternal instincts due to her upbringing, but it was clearly not the case. Shakira was a great mother, always looking out for her cubs. After three months, the cubs were seen outside the den and Shakira showing them how to navigate their surroundings.

Where to See Jaguars in Costa Rica - Diamante Eco Adventure Park's Nico and Sama

First photo of Nico, Sama and Ashlita inside the den.

Living at La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Nico, Sama and Ashlita started to develop their different personalities since early on. Sama, being the oldest, has always been the most toughest, fearless, and strongest of the three. Nico is the middle cub and always looked out for Ashlita, the younger sister. Nico would always share the bones with Ashlita, while Sama would take his just for himself. Ashlita had always been a little more shy and fearful. Nico helped her navigate the earlier months of their lives. Also, Nico started developed his love for water very early. Today you can still find Nico taking swims in his pond at Diamante.
With age, came the decision to separate Shakira and Ashlita from Nico and Sama. The first reason was to avoid interbreeding between the cubs and the second, was to provide more space for them. Jaguars in the wild tend to roam on their own and it was necessary to give them more space.

Where to See Jaguars in Costa Rica - Diamante Eco Adventure Park's Nico and Sama

In order from left to right: Nico, Sama and Ashlita.

At the time of their birth, and to this day, there is no safe and reliable reintroduction training program for jaguars in Costa Rica. Also, because Shakira was not raised in the wild, she couldn’t transfer those necessary skills to survive in the wild to her cubs. This is the main reason that they remain in sanctuaries. Torito, Shakira and Ashlita still live at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. While Torito has his own habitat, Shakira and Ashlita share one and have a healthy relationship. On the other hand, Nico and Sama were transferred to Diamante Eco Adventure Park in 2017.

Living at Diamante Eco Adventure Park

Nico and Sama were transfered to Diamante’s Animal Sanctuary just before their second birthday. Their transfer was a smooth process and it set the path for a great relationship with their caretakers. Keeping their old routine also solidified their love for their habitat. This included keeping the same feeding hours among other routine chores. Their habitat was built specially for them, meaning it meets all their needs. Nico instantly loved the running water within the habitat and the pond located at the bottom; while Sama took more towards the higher platforms.

Where to See Jaguars in Costa Rica - Diamante Eco Adventure Park's Nico and Sama

Nico and Sama sleeping.

Here at Diamante Eco Adventure Park we have done everything to make their habitat the perfect “forever” home for them. They have an enrichment program that takes place every Tuesday and Saturday morning with the intent of promoting their well being. The goal of the program is to enhance coordination, agility, balance as well as provide a more advance mental stimulus.
Sama with the watermelon and Nico trying to get it.

Where to See Jaguars in Costa Rica - Diamante Eco Adventure Park's Nico and Sama

Nico hanging out in the water.

Where to See Jaguars in Costa Rica - Diamante Eco Adventure Park's Nico and Sama

Nico and Sama refreshing with an icecream.

Visit Diamante Eco Adventure Park

To visit Nico and Sama at our Animal Sanctuary in Costa Rica, these are the options of passes:

Discovery Pass ($42): Enter our Animal Sanctuary and meet our wildlife family: Lucy the sloth, Nico & Sama the jaguars, Balu the white faced monkey, King Julian our largest iguana, Ziggy, our new baby sloth and many more!

Adventure Pass ($118): Experience the full zip line along with a hanging bridge over the crocodiles! Finish the tour inside of our top of class animal sanctuary and enjoy our wildlife family. This pass also includes a buffet lunch at the Welcome Center and access to our jungle course, Cultural Experience tour and beach activities (stand up paddle board, snorkeling, kayak and hanging out at the hammocks).                                                                   

Cultural Experience Pass ($55): Combine our Animal Sanctuary tour along with a tour of our Traditional house and botanical garden for full immersion into Costa Rica wildlife and culture.