Milwaukee County Zoo Celebrates Red Panda Birth

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The Milwaukee County Zoo recently announced the birth of their first Red Panda cub! The yet unnamed female was born June 6, and she now shares a birthday with her father, Dash.

The cub was born to first time mother, “Dr. Erin Curry” (also known as Dr. E.). Mom is 3-years-old and is originally from the Cincinnati Zoo. First time father, Dash, is 6-years-old and originally from the Granby Zoo in Quebec, Canada.

Because the youngster is still getting acclimated to her new surroundings, animal care staff is allowing her plenty of time to become comfortable and bond with mom before her introduction to visitors. It’s the Zoo’s hope she will make her public debut in the next few weeks.

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Red Panda Baby 08-2018-3438 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

In the wild, Red Pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red Pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching and trapping. With an estimated adult population of less than 2,500 and an approximate mortality rate of 86 percent, every Red Panda birth is very important.

Red Pandas are solitary animals, only interacting during mating season. Youngsters develop at a slow rate, spending the first year or more with mom. Blind for the first

21 to 31 days after birth, mothers keep cubs hidden in nests for the first two to three months. Mothers then teach the cubs how to climb and hunt.

Red Pandas rely on bamboo for most of their diet, specifically the most tender, young shoots and leaves. But, they are only able to extract one-fourth of the nutrients from the bamboo. They can spend up to 13 hours a day searching for and eating bamboo. During the summer months, they supplement their diet with fruit and insects. Cubs stop nursing around 13 to 22 weeks old.

Adult Red Pandas weigh up to 14 pounds and are around 2 feet-long, but their tails add extra length of up to 18-inches! This new addition weighed 166 grams at 3 days old and could fit in the palms of her keeper’s hands! She is now about 2,538 grams (5 pounds) and keepers say it takes both hands to pick her up.

Red Pandas are easily identifiable by their reddish-brown color, white face markings and speckling of black around their ears and legs. They begin to get this adult coloration around 50 days old, which acts as a camouflage. The fur covering their bodies also covers the pads on their feet. This helps Red Pandas keep the heat in their bodies during the cold winter months.

Zookeepers report that the new cub is doing very well, and first-time mother, Dr. E, is doing a great job raising her first cub. Details of her debut will be coming soon!


Second Giant Anteater Birth for Beardsley Zoo

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For the second time in the facility’s history, a Giant Anteater has been born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Arriving on the evening of July 30, the little male is now nine pounds and was born after a 175-day gestation period.

Proud parents are second time dad, EO, and third time mom, Pana. The pair was brought to Connecticut’s only Zoo with the hopes of successful breeding, which occurred for the first time in 2016. Mother and baby are currently in seclusion most of the day, with brief forays into the outdoor habitat for fresh air and sunshine.

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3_first day outside Photo Credits: Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

“Our fingers were crossed that our Giant Anteaters would repeat having another youngster, and we couldn’t be happier that the breeding was successful a second time,” explained Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. “We encourage everyone to follow the baby’s growth and progress on our Facebook and Instagram pages until the baby is a bit larger.”

Mochilla, the pair’s first offspring, is now in residence at Alexandria Zoo in Louisiana.

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Endangered Crowned Lemur Holds Tight to Mum

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A Crowned Lemur, born at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, was recently photographed holding tight to mum, Mabanja. The one-month-old baby will cling to its mother’s back for around four months before becoming more independent.

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4_Crowned Lemur2Photo Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) 

Crowned Lemurs (Eulemur coronatus) are native to Madagascar. Its diet consists mainly of flowers, fruits, and leaves. Females have a gray body with an orange crown, and males are a darker reddish brown, crowned with black and orange.

They typically give birth late September to early October, after a gestation period of 125 days. They have a life span of approximately 20 years.

The Crowned Lemur is a primate that is primarily diurnal but also has periods of feeding activity at night.

They are currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List due to habitat destruction for cultivation, logging and forest fires.

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Twin Red Pandas Born at Virginia Zoo

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The Virginia Zoo welcomed two male Red Panda cubs in June. Born to two-year-old mom Masu and three-year-old dad Timur, the cubs were born at the Zoo’s Animal Wellness Campus. Red Panda cubs weigh approximately five ounces at birth, but each cub now weighs just over one pound.

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Virginia Zoo Photo 3Photo Credit: Virginia Zoo

Red Panda cubs are particularly vulnerable during their first month of life, and zoo staff members intervene with the cubs as little as possible.

“We wanted to give Masu the best chance possible to successfully birth and raise healthy cubs,” said Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the Zoo’s Veterinarian. “We decided to move Masu to the Wellness Campus while she was still pregnant to give her the privacy and space she needed with as few disturbances and distractions as possible,” Dr. Clabbers added. Red Panda experts have found this species has better success when the mothers are able to give birth and provide the initial few months of care of their cubs off exhibit.

First-time mom Masu gave birth in an indoor, climate-controlled den where she has been nursing and bonding with her cubs in a quiet environment. The den is off view to the public and is monitored by staff. As Masu gets more comfortable allowing people to be near her cubs and the boys can safely navigate the trees and other exhibit features, the three will make their way to the original Red Panda exhibit off the main pathway.

The cubs have not yet been named.

“This is a significant birth for the species as there are less than 10,000 Red Pandas left in the wild,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “There has been a sharp decline in their population due to a loss of nesting trees and food resources in their native region, they are also hunted for their pelts. We are excited for the terrific care Masu has been providing for her cubs and look forward to having them on exhibit later this year,” Bockheim added.

Red Pandas are tree-dwelling mammals native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. Slightly larger than a domestic Cat and with markings similar to Raccoons, Red Pandas have soft, dense reddish-brown and white fur. They feed mainly on bamboo, but also various plant shoots, leaves, fruit, and insects. Red Pandas are shy and solitary except when mating.

Red Pandas are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.


Rare Baby Aye-aye Born at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo welcomed a rare baby Aye-aye and is now home to three of these unusual creatures. With only 24 residing in seven zoos in the United States and an unknown number in the wild, Aye-ayes are among the rarest animals in the world. The new baby, a female, is named Tonks and was born on August 8.

Tonks, who was born to mom Bellatrix and dad Smeagol, is healthy and thriving; however, her first days were worrying for Denver Zoo’s animal care staff and veterinarians.

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AyeAye_2_EditedPhoto Credit: Denver Zoo

“We noticed that Bellatrix wasn’t showing typical mothering behaviors, so we decided to step in to give Tonks some supportive care,” said Lead Primate Keeper Becky Sturges. “We provided 24-hour care for the first week and had to teach Bellatrix how to nurse, but now she is nursing well and Tonks has gained a lot of weight. Now we’re just monitoring them to make sure things continue to go well.”

Aye-ayes are born weighing just a few ounces, grow to a weight of five pounds as adults, and live up to 20 years.

Tonks is still in the nest box with Bellatrix and is not expected to emerge for a few more months, so she is not yet visible to zoo guests.

Aye-ayes have a distinctive appearance, thanks to a number of unique adaptations including coarse dark hair, a long bushy tail, rodent-like teeth, large eyes, and bony hands that feature extra-long middle fingers. The middle fingers are used to tap on tree branches and locate hollow spaces that may contain grubs. After chewing a hole in the branch, the grubs are extracted using the clawed fingertips.

Aye-ayes are classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and are found only in remote parts of Madagascar. They were thought to be extinct in 1933, but were rediscovered in 1957. Their odd appearance caused Aye-ayes to be labeled as harbingers of death in Madagascan traditional cultures, and the animals were often killed on sight. The dramatic loss of Madagascar’s original forest cover has also contributed to Aye-ayes’ Endangered status.


Denver Zoo Animal Moms 'Labor' on Labor Day

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During the recent Labor Day holiday, the Denver Zoo welcomed the births of a female Cape Buffalo named ‘Poncho’ and a rare, endangered male Okapi calf named ‘Romakari’.

Both calves are reported to be healthy and thriving under the protective care of their mothers. The Zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff are also closely monitoring them.

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4_Romakari_1Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Poncho was born on the morning of September 3 to mom, Rain. She is the second Cape Buffalo calf to be born at Denver Zoo in recent months. Cape Buffalo are found in southern and eastern Africa and are known for being particularly territorial, protective and sizeable, with males weighing as much as 2,000 lbs. Poncho is already spending the majority of her time in the herd’s outdoor habitat and is often easily viewable to visitors.

Meanwhile, Romakari was born on the afternoon of September 2 to mom, Almasi. He is currently being kept behind the scenes, where he will likely remain for at least a month until keepers are confident he’ll follow Almasi outdoors. Okapis look a like a cross between a Zebra and Giraffe with long necks, reddish bodies, black-and-white striped legs, and long, purple prehensile tongues.

Okapi are native only to the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo and are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, primarily due to logging, human settlement and hunting.

Romakari is the eighth Okapi calf born at Denver Zoo and, like Poncho, the second of his species to be born at the Zoo in recent months.


Zebra Foal Has Eventful First Day on Earth

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On the afternoon of September 5, visitors of BIOPARC Valencia were fortunate enough to witness the birth of a Zebra foal.

Amazingly, just a few minutes after the birth, that moment of joy was replaced by one of anguish when the newborn colt accidentally fell into the small body of water in the Zebra exhibit. Keepers quickly entered the water and saved the baby. The newborn was delivered to the anxious mother, while the crowd of zoo patrons responded with applause.

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4_BIOPARC Valencia - septiembre 2018Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia 

The new foal and mom, La Niña, are doing well. Keepers report that the little Zebra instinctively follows his protective mother.

La Niña arrived at BIOPARC Valencia in 2007 from the Halle Zoo (Germany) and the new colt’s father, Zambé, was transferred from Safari de Peaugres (France) in 2012.

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Wallaby Joey Trio Moves Into Their New Home

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A Red-necked Wallaby joey was photographed out with her keeper on September 4, just before exploring her new home at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s newest exhibit: “Walkabout Australia”.

The almost 11-month-old Wallaby is one of three joeys—Laura, Thelma and Tatum—who’ve finally settled into their grassy habitat at Walkabout Australia after weeks of commuting back and forth from their previous home at the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center, where they were hand raised.

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Wallaby_001_LGPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Global

The joeys currently stand over 20 inches tall and weigh between 9 and 13 pounds each. When full grown, Wallaby females can weigh between 26 and 35 pounds and reach a length of up to 3 feet from head to tail.

Animal care staff continues to bottle-feed the trio three times a day, but they will be gradually reducing the amount until the joeys are completely weaned by the end of October.

Guests visiting the Safari Park can see the Wallaby joeys in Walkabout Australia—an immersive, interactive experience that allows guests to discover the wildlife and habitats of the Land Down Under, and learn how Australia’s one-of-a-kind species interact with humans who share their world.


Summer Baby Boom at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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There’s been a late summer baby boom at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, eliciting lots of “oohs and aahs” from visitors of all ages.

Among the new baby animals that can be seen at the Park, there’s a Greater One-horned Rhino calf, named Tio, who was born on July 9 to mom, Tanaya.

Also, a male Giraffe calf, named Kumi, was born August 6, and a handsome male African Elephant was born August 12 and has been named Umzula-zuli.

A young Scimitar Horned Oryx can be seen sticking close to his mom at the Park, and a one-month-old Grevy’s Zebra foal enjoys sunning with mom.

San Diego Safari Park visitors may see the baby animals and all the Safari Park has to offer from an African Tram Safari, a Caravan Safari or private Cart Safari.

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4_BabiesOryx_007_LGPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Global

Since 1969, more than 37,600 animals have been born at the Safari Park, including 23,000 mammals, 12,800 birds, 1,500 amphibians and 40 reptiles. The Safari Park’s successful breeding programs help conserve numerous species, many of which are threatened or endangered, like the Scimitar Horned Oryx.

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Shy Okapi Calf Arrives at Zoo Tampa

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ZooTampa at Lowry Park welcomed a female Okapi calf on August 21. The calf was born to parents Betty and Zach who arrived at the zoo in 2006 and are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a program designed to create sustainable, genetically diverse populations of rare animals. The baby Okapi’s birth draws much-needed attention to this little-known, endangered species.

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Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 2Photo Credit: Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park



Betty’s prenatal care included regular ultrasounds, a high-calorie diet and, and for the first time in this species, a milk-testing method used in Horses and Rhinos to predict Betty’s calving date.

“By increasing Betty’s prenatal care, we saw physical changes that predicted calving,” Dr. Ray Ball, D.V.M., vice president of medical sciences and senior veterinarian at ZooTampa said. “This included a dramatic change in her mammary glands and her hindquarters getting softer in preparation for the birth. The milk sampling also allowed us to determine her milk was good quality and helped us evaluate Betty’s overall health.”

Although Okapi are shy by nature, Betty is quite comfortable with zookeepers and allowed them to collect milk samples used in the testing. Zookeepers often build strong bonds with the animals they care for which enables higher quality of care for each individual animal.

Okapi (pronounced oh-COP-ee) are the only living relatives of Giraffes and are found only in the remote Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Studying Okapi is a challenge due to their remote location and ongoing conflict in the region.

Their zebra-striped legs provide camouflage within the forest’s dense greenery.  “As a natural defense against predators, Okapi mothers hide their calves away in nests. The calf will spend its time in the nest leaving only to nurse,” said Chris Massaro, General Curator at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

Conservationists estimate that 10,000 – 35,000 Okapi live within protected reserves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Due to human encroachment and hunting, Okapi numbers are declining. The International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN) lists Okapi as Endangered.

ZooTampa participates in the Okapi Conservation Project, an international effort to protect the species from extinction, as part of its mission to protect and conserve endangered and threatened wildlife.