Press Room


Philanthropist Donna MacMillan Offered the Winning Bid to Name the Cub

Contact: Erin Scott
Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Manager
760-346-5694 x.2610

The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is excited to announce the name of the male jaguar cub, born January 26 to mother, Magia, and father, Memo. The name Mema (Mi-Mah) was chosen by The Living Desert’s long-time supporter Donna MacMillan.

The jaguar cub naming opportunity was a popular live auction item at The Living Desert’s 24th Annual Zoobilee Gala, held on March 4. Ms. MacMillan was the most generous bidder, securing the opportunity to name the cub.

“I’m so honored to have been able to name this beautiful cub. I chose the name ‘Mema’ because I felt it was important to combine his mother’s and father’s names,” said Donna MacMillan. “The Living Desert is a special place, and I’m proud to be involved with such an important conservation organization. And what a thrill it was to meet the cub in person!”

On Wednesday, March 22, Mema had his second well-baby exam by the veterinary team. The exam included his first round of vaccinations, as well as listening to his heart and lungs. The cub is healthy, progressing at the expected rate, and now weighs 11.9 pounds (5.4kg). He will continue to bond with mom behind the scenes for the next couple of weeks. Mema and Magia are expected to make their exhibit debut mid-April.

“We are extremely grateful for our generous supporters and are thrilled that Ms. MacMillan was able to name our newest jaguar cub,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “We are happy to see that Magia and Mema are doing so well, and we encourage everyone to continue to watch the live JagCam on our website.”

This is Magia’s second litter; the first, twin boys, Rico and Tesoro, were born April 27, 2014. Seven-year-old mom, Magia, came to the Living Desert in March 2011 from Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, TX; and six-year-old dad, Memo, came to The Living Desert in April 2013 from Parque Summit in Panama. Memo and Magia were brought together by a recommendation of the Species Survival Plan, an international cooperative conservation program, and this birth will help contribute to the future of the species.

Jaguars are the largest native cat to the Americas, and the only “roaring” cat in North America. Their present range extends from the Southwestern United States and Mexico into Central and South America. Currently listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as Near Threatened, their main threats are habitat loss and fragmentation of wild areas along with human persecution. Identified by their rosette style spots, jaguars are a solitary animal weighing between 100 to 250 pounds. The gestation period for jaguars lasts between 90-110 days, with the cubs staying with mom for up to two years.

Magia and Mema continue to remain off-exhibit; however, visitors to The Living Desert will see Memo on exhibit and receive cub updates during the daily 9:30 a.m. jaguar keeper chat. The JagCam is still live and viewing is available at

The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about upcoming events and activities, please call (760) 346-5694 or visit

About the Living Desert:

The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for guests that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.

Due to heavy storm erosion, our hiking trails will be closed until further notice. The Zoo is still open.