White Rhino Girl Born at Tel Aviv Safari

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On August 24, Keren Peles, a 6-year old White Rhinoceros at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan in Israel, gave birth for the first time. The healthy female calf has been named Kipenzi (beloved). It is a tradition, at the Safari, to give offspring monikers starting with the same letter as their mother’s name.

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4_0927_2015_08_28_011Photo credits: Tibor Jager

Keren Peles arrived at the Safari about three years ago from Pretoria, South Africa, for reproduction purposes, with the aim of introducing a new blood line into the Safari's White Rhino group. The happy father of the new calf is 35-year old Atari, who is said to have been quite smitten with Keren Peles from the moment they met.

The calf's vital signs appear strong, and she remains close to her mother in a grove of trees in the African area. To the zookeeper's joy, shortly after birth, the calf was seen on its legs and suckling.

The new calf is the 27th born in the Safari. The Safari's contribution to the zoo population of White Rhinos is considerable, and the hope remains that one day it will be possible to help the wild population in Africa whose numbers are steadily declining.

The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is the largest species of rhino and consists of two sub-species: southern and northern. The Safari belongs to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s reproduction program. 

More pics below the fold!

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Bronx Zoo Announces Birth of Porcupette

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A North American Porcupine was born at Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo

The young male was born on July 28 to mother, Alice, and father, Patrick.  This is the pair’s third offspring, and the family is currently on exhibit in the zoo’s newly renovated Children’s Zoo.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_1981_North American Porcupines and Porcupette_CZ_BZ_08 10 15Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS's Bronx Zoo

The North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is a large rodent whose most recognizable physical characteristic are its spiky quills. They can have as many as 30,000 quills covering their bodies. The quills are modified hairs that are sharp, barbed hollow spines. They are used primarily for defense but also serve to insulate the body during winter. Despite popular belief, porcupines cannot shoot their quills, but when threatened, the porcupine contracts the muscles near the skin which causes the quills to stand up and out. The quills have a tiny barb on the tip that, when hooked in flesh, pull the quill from the porcupine’s skin and painfully imbed in the predators skin.

Porcupines are herbivores and eat leaves, twigs, and green plants. In winter, they may also eat tree bark.

Female porcupines are solitary, except during the fall breeding season. They have a long gestation period that lasts for 202 days and typically give birth to just one offspring. Baby porcupines (porcupette) weigh about 450 grams at birth. At birth, the quills are very soft but begin to harden a few hours after birth. The quills continue to harden and grow as the baby matures.

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s Red Panda Cubs Surpass Milestones

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The Red Panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are one step closer to leaving their den. The two-month-old “Rookie Chicago Cubs”, Clark (male) and Addison (female), born June 26, were featured on ZooBorns back in early August.

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4_3Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park ZooThey recently had their second physical, and since their initial exam on July 10, Clark’s weight has doubled and Addison has roughly tripled in weight. Both cubs have surpassed milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and they have begun changing from their pale yellow fur into the iconic auburn coloration of the Red Panda.

“The Red Panda cubs continue to be healthy and curious of their surroundings. The cubs are often seen trying to explore outside of the den before quickly being scooped up by their mother Leafa,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “With this behavior, we anticipate the cubs will be ready to make their public debut within the next several weeks.”

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Giant Anteater Sticks to Mom Like Velcro

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Zoo Boise is happy to announce the birth of a Giant Anteater pup.  The baby was born July 6 and is now starting to venture outside with its mother, Gloria.  After a few weeks of privacy inside their barn, the two anteaters are starting to explore their outdoor exhibit for short periods of time and may be viewable to zoo visitors.  

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With the exception of mothers with offspring, anteaters are generally solitary animals.  Anteater Dad, McCauley, can be found in a separate exhibit next to Gloria and their pup. Keepers will verify the sex of the pup during its first veterinarian exam. After that, they will decide upon a name for the new anteater.

During their first year, giant anteater pups will spend much of their time riding on their mothers’ backs.  Born with a full coat of fur, the pup is able to blend in with its mother so that predators cannot easily see it.  The pup will stay with its mother until it is full-grown, between one and two years of age.

Also known as the Ant Bear, the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is one of four living species of anteaters and is classified with sloths in the order Pilosa. The species is mostly terrestrial, in contrast to other living anteaters and sloths, which are arboreal or semi arboreal.       

The Giant Anteater can be found in multiple habitats, including grassland and rainforest. It forages in open areas and rests in more forested habitats. It feeds primarily on ants and termites, using its fore claws to dig them up and its long, sticky tongue to collect them. They can eat up to 30,000 insects in one day! Though Giant Anteaters live in overlapping home ranges, they are mostly solitary.

The species is the largest of its family: 5.97 to 7.12 feet (182-217 cm) in length, weights up to 73 to 90 lbs. (33-41 kg) for males, and 60 to 86 lbs. (27-39 kg) for females. The Giant Anteater is recognizable by its elongated snout, bushy tail, long fore claws, and distinctively colored pelage.

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Rhino Calf ‘Crashes’ the Party at Cotswold Wildlife Park

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On August 18, Cotswold Wildlife Park, in the UK, had a rather unexpected arrival. Their Southern White Rhino, Nancy, gave birth to her second calf. Keepers knew Nancy was pregnant, but the actual time of birth came as a bit of a surprise and was a little earlier than expected.

Births in captivity are considered extremely rare, with only fourteen White Rhinos being born in European zoos in the last twelve months. Cotswold Wildlife Park was responsible for two out of the three recorded UK births. The new addition is the sixth member to join the ‘crash’ (the collective noun for a group of Rhinos).  

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4_Baby Rhino in paddock with Nancy (6)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

 Curator Jamie Craig commented: “After almost forty years of desperately trying to breed from our old group of Rhinos with no success, we are delighted to now have had three calves since 2013. The newest member of the crash was somewhat more of a surprise than we’d like, but at present, all seems to be going well.”

It’s been a remarkable few years for the Rhino family. In 2013, first-time parents, Monty and Nancy (both nine years old), delighted staff and visitors when they produced the first calf in the Park’s forty-three year history - a female named Astrid. Two years later, she has been joined by a baby brother, who is yet to be named. To add to the celebrations, earlier this year, another of the Park’s breeding females, Ruby, gave birth to a male calf, named Ian.

Southern White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum simum) are the largest of the five Rhino subspecies and range throughout the grassland of Southern Africa. They are currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List and have always been an important species at Cotswold Wildlife Park, which was founded by Mr. John Heyworth in 1970. His son Reggie Heyworth, Managing Director of Cotswold Wildlife Park, commented: “You wait forty years, then it seems like three come along at once!  This is such a happy event for the Park, and I have to pinch myself when I see six rhinos on the lawn.”

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Rare Horned Guans Hatch at Saint Louis Zoo

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The Saint Louis Zoo announced that two critically endangered Horned Guan chicks hatched at the Zoo on August 7—the first for the Zoo and only the second recorded breeding of the species in the United States. 

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Horned guan adult_David Merritt Saint Louis ZooPhoto Credits:  Ray Meibaum (1, 2, 3); David Merritt (4)

Because these are the first offspring for the inexperienced parents, the chicks are being hand-raised behind the scenes.

At two weeks old, the chicks weighed five ounces, stood about 8 inches tall and had fuzzy brown and black downy feathers. Their unique horns will start to develop at approximately 3 months of age. The horn begins with two bumps on the top of the head. These bumps gradually twist and grow together.

One of the rarest bird species in the world, the Horned Guan population in the wild is down to only 1,000 to 2,000 individuals in southeastern Mexico and Guatemala because their cloud forest habitat has been destroyed for logging, coffee plantations and other cash crops.

“This hatching is an important development in what has been a great effort to save this species; it was the result of many years of hard work,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President and Chief Executive Officer at the Saint Louis Zoo. “It took great attention to the welfare of the parents and enormous patience and persistence” from the zoo staff to achieve this milestone.

The parents of the two chicks are a male, age 12, who arrived at the zoo nine years ago and a female, 7, who arrived five years ago from the Cloud Forest Ambassadors Program at the Africam Safari Zoo in Puebla, Mexico, where they hatched. In 2007, the Saint Louis Zoo became the first accredited zoo in the nation to exhibit this species. Currently 56 Horned Guans are found in five institutions primarily in Mexico.  

Large and dramatic, the adult Horned Guan (seen in the bottom photo) has a unique two-inch-long red horn of bare skin extending from the top of its head. This horn is thought to be ornamental to attract a mate. This bird has a bright white chest laced with fine lines of black feathers and a body covered with a jet black plumage that shines an iridescent blue in the sun. They are about the size of a small turkey and are arboreal, rarely coming to the ground in their native mountain forests. Horned Guans are related to some of the most endangered birds in the world—Curassows, Guans and Chachalacas.

The Saint Louis Zoo began working intensively with other species of Guans in 1997, when it received a $25,000 Institute of Museum Services grant to investigate artificial insemination techniques in this highly endangered group of birds.  The zoo was also the location for the first ever hatching of a chick—a common Piping Guan—from the artificial insemination of a cracid species. Cracids are a family of game birds, like the Horned Guan, that are found predominantly throughout the Latin American tropics.

Since then, the zoo has worked with this endangered family of birds in Trinidad and Columbia and, in 2004, founded the WildCare Institute and the Center for Conservation of the Horned Guan. The Horned Guan Conservation Center staff has worked for a decade with its partners to conduct research on this elusive species. The complex dynamics of seed dispersal and habitat utilization are little understood.

The Center also is encouraging improved habitat management—advocating for increasing the protected area that is home to the Horned Guan and working to limit the factors that threaten vulnerable wildlife in this area. In addition, the Center has initiated an education program to teach local communities how to farm in more habitat-friendly ways and to strengthen community conservation participation.

“These programs, coupled with enforcement action, are expected to help reduce the threats caused by illegal timber removal and hunting,” said Center Director Michael Macek. “There is hope for this species thanks to efforts to reduce coffee plantations and to form additional reserves that can provide potential for eco-tourism, resulting in alternative economic opportunities for local communities.”

 


It's A Boy! Baby Giraffe Born At Auckland Zoo

11893970_10153106151701984_8230317602288156455_oEarly in the morning on August 21, a baby Rothschild’s Giraffe was born at New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo!

The male calf was born to mother Kiraka and father Zabulu.  This is the second calf for Kiraka and the first male calf to be born at the zoo since 2010.

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Photo Credit:  Auckland Zoo

For now, Kiraka and her calf are behind the scenes bonding, but the staff expects them to join the herd in the exhibit soon.

Baby Giraffes are born while the mother is standing, and fall six feet to the ground.  The fall breaks the umbilical cord and induces the newborn to take its first breath.  Mom immediately begins licking her baby, and the calf attempts to stand within the first hour of birth.  Shortly afterward, the calf will begin to nurse.  These instincts are important to a calf's survival in the wild.  If the calf can’t get up and move right away, it could fall prey to hungry hyenas or lions.

Once believed to be plentiful across Africa, Giraffes are now known to be in serious decline.  Of the nine subspecies of Giraffes, two are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – including the Rothschild’s Giraffe.  Threats come from loss and fragmentation of habitat.  Giraffes have already become extinct in seven African countries.   


Jaguar Birth Announced at Ellen Trout Zoo

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Ellen Trout Zoo, in Texas, recently announced the birth of a male Jaguar cub. The cub was born August 20 to 9-year-old mom, Seraphina, and 3-year-old dad, Kabah. The little boy has been named Balam (Mayan word for jaguar). 

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4_11950171_961046077296060_35610520625297344_oPhoto Credits: Ellen Trout Zoo

The new cub, which was born as part of the AZA Species Survival Plan, is an important new addition. The last Jaguar birth at Ellen Trout Zoo occurred in 1996 when a litter of three was born at the East Texas zoo.

Seraphina, unfortunately, was not nursing Balam after his birth. Keepers intervened and are now feeding and caring for him. The cub has been doing well under the Zoo Staff’s care and supervision. He weighed 1.6 pounds at birth and is now up to 2 pounds.

The Zoo has not stated when it will be possible to return Balam to the care of his mother. For now, their objective is to provide the attention he needs to ensure he thrives and develops properly.

The cub is not on public view, at the moment. Staff will post regular updates on the Zoo’s media pages, and they will announce when he makes his public debut.

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Lynx Trio Explores Highland Wildlife Park

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At almost three months old, the Northern Lynx triplets, at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland, spent their first few weeks huddled together in the warmth of various dens with their mother, but they are now bravely venturing out to explore their whole enclosure. 

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Born to mum, Dimma, and dad, Switch, on May 25, this is the fourth consecutive year the couple have had cubs. Una Richardson, Head Keeper for Carnivores at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, commented, “This is the fourth year in a row they have produced cubs - a real testament to the quality of the animal husbandry and the enclosure here. Dimma gave birth to her previous litters in the bushes at the front of the enclosure, which required us to rope-off the adjacent visitor path, but this year she has opted for the privacy and security of the nest boxes provided in the lynx house.”

Dimma, which means 'fog' in Swedish, was born on the 24 May 2010, at Boras Wild Animal Park, in Sweden, and she arrived at Highland Wildlife Park in February 2012. Switch was born May 2010, in Latvia, and came to the Park one month after Dimma

The cubs’ antics are generating quite a stir with keepers and visitors to the Park. Richardson remarked, “Watching the cubs play fighting with each other, running and tumbling about the enclosure, it’s easy to see why they are quickly becoming favorites with both staff and visitors, over the past few weeks. They have been putting on quite a show, especially at feeding time when they routinely play stalk and pounce on sections of meat as big as themselves.”

RZSS Highland Wildlife Park's Lynx are part of the European Zoo Association's coordinated breeding programme and, although the species is not endangered, it has become locally extinct in many areas across Europe, resulting in some sub-populations being considered “endangered” or even “critically endangered”. The Lynx occurred in the UK until possibly as late as the Middle Ages. Loss of habitat, reduced prey availability and illegal hunting are the biggest threats to wild Lynx populations. There have been a number of successful Lynx reintroduction projects within Europe, including in Switzerland and France.

Northern Lynx have a short, thick tail with a blunt black tip. They have distinctive dark tufts on their ears, which are thought to act a bit like antennae in helping to locate prey using their excellent hearing. The Lynx also has exceptional leaping ability, as it is an ambush predator

They also have a pale sandy-grey to rusty-red colored coat, with indistinct spots. In winter, the coat becomes much denser and the large, rounded feet help them travel over deep snow.

Northern lynx mate in late February to early March. They usually have 2 or 3 kittens, which stay with their mother until next breeding season.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Israel's Sand Cat Kittens Back by Popular Demand

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Since so many of you loved our story about Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan's Sand Cat kittens yesterday, we couldn't resist sharing new pictures we received this morning.  The more recent images show the kittens a bit older and with their eyes fully open! Enjoy!

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Photos by Tibor Jager

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