NORRISTOWN Elmwood Park Zoo is moving forward after the deaths of its two jaguars by bringing in two new spotted beauties that officials hope will become mates.
Inka, a 1-year-old female, went to Norristown from a zoo in Seattle. Zean, a 2-year-old male, is from the Milwaukee County Zoo.
In a year or two, when Inka and Zean reach sexual maturity, zoo officials hope, they will form a breeding pair. They were sent to Norristown as part of a species survival project of the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The previous jaguar pair, Anasazi and Cali, did not breed but were close companions for more than a decade. Anasazi died in March 2013 at 19, and Cali died in July 2014 at 18.
Construction is expected to begin soon on a multimillion-dollar exhibit to house the jaguars, and add new wild cats such as ocelots and jaguarundis, zoo officials said.
In the meantime, officials will be monitoring how Inka and Zean interact with Anasazi and Cali's old exhibit.
"As we get to know their personalities, we'll be able to design features in their new exhibit that they'll particularly favor," said curator David Wood.