First Little Blue Penguin Hatches at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

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The colony of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) that debuted in 2015, as a new species at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo, has successfully produced a chick that is now on exhibit with the rest of the colony.

The chick hatched May 10, and this is the first time this species has bred at the Bronx Zoo, in the zoo’s 120-plus year history.

Known for their small size and characteristic bluish hue, Little Penguins are also known as Blue Penguins, Little Blue Penguins, and Fairy Penguins. Adults are only about 13 inches tall and weigh around 2 to 3 pounds. They are the smallest of the 18 penguin species and native to coastal southern Australia and New Zealand.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_7335_Little Penguin Chick_ABH_BZ_07 25 16Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS

 

Little Penguins lay their eggs in burrows dug in sand, natural cavities, or under thick vegetation. They may even nest under man-made structures. Both parents care for and incubate the egg. Newly hatched chicks weigh just 25g. The chicks lose their downy plumage at about 50 days of age when it is replaced with waterproof feathers.

With the exception of the new chick, all of the birds in the Bronx Zoo colony were hatched at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia and brought to the Bronx Zoo as part of a breeding program. Approximately 15 penguins a year hatch at Taronga, making it the most successful Little Penguin breeding program in the world. The Bronx Zoo penguins will help ensure continued genetic diversity in the Little Penguin populations in the U.S.

The species occurs in temperate marine waters and feeds on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. They nest, colonially, in burrows on sand dunes or rocky beach areas. Like other penguin species, they use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with each other. In the wild, their populations are threatened by climate change and human activities.

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Turkmenian Flare-horned Markhor at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

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A herd of Turkmenian Flare-horned Markhor (Capra falconeri hepterni) roams the rocky terrain in their expansive habitat along the Wild Asia Monorail at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo.

The herd consists of eleven males (easily identified by their huge spiraled horns and distinct coats), ten females (which are smaller than the males and have much shorter horns), and their offspring, which includes eight kids born this year.

The Markhor is a unique species of goat found in the mountains of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. They inhabit upper elevations, with vegetation as their food source. They are skilled climbers and will scale steep rocky terrain to escape predators such as snow leopards and wolves.

The Bronx Zoo’s Markhor live with a herd of Himalayan Tahr, another species of Asiatic mountain goat found in areas of China, Tibet, Nepal, and northern India.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_5649_Markhor and Kids_WAS_BZ_06 09 16Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS

Wild Markhor are threatened by human activity in the ranges where they live. Their impressive twisted horns and thick fur make them a target for trophy hunters and poachers. They are also susceptible to habitat loss from expansion of land used for domestic livestock, and from disease spread from the growing livestock population.

With support from US Ambassador Fund, Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund, and other supporters, WCS has been working to save wild Markhor in the mountains of northern Pakistan since 1997. Now working with 65 communities, WCS has seen a 70 percent increase in Markhor populations in the last decade, with estimates placed at 1,700 wild Markhor in this landscape—a significant proportion of the global population of this endangered mountain goat.

The WCS Pakistan Program’s recovery of Markhor in Pakistan has helped lead to the recent, nearly unprecedented two-stage down-listing of Markhor by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from an “Endangered” classification, passing the status of “Vulnerable”, to now being known as “Near Threatened”.

More great pics, below the fold!

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First Purple Gallinule Chick for Paradise Park

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Paradise Park, in Cornwall, UK, released news of a first for the park: the hatching of a Purple Gallinule chick.

Director Alison Hales explains, “We have a wonderful new addition, a Purple Gallinule chick! This is the first time this species has breed at Paradise Park. It is a couple of weeks old and it has been fascinating to see how well its parents care for it. Walking with it and offering tiny bits of food, then encouraging it to snuggle under their feathers to keep warm.”

Alison continues, “These birds have remarkably large feet. They are members of the rail family, their other name being the Purple Swamphen, which gives a clue to where their long toes prove useful. They are able to walk on floating vegetation, and clamber across reeds and swamps. They also use their feet to grab young shoots and bring the food towards their beak. Their diet is mainly leaves and shoots, but they will also take snails and even eggs from the nests of other water birds.”

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4_Purple Gallinule adult Paradise Park CornwallPhoto Credits: Paradise Park

 

The Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) is beautifully colored and native to southern and tropical freshwater wetlands. It is essentially a tropical marshbird that is found in parts of the southern United States, particularly near the Gulf of Mexico, but some go even farther afield. The Purple Gallinule, despite appearing to be an awkward flier, regularly turns up in northern parts of the United States and into southern Canada. It has even been found numerous times in Europe and South Africa.

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Chester Zoo Releases Video of Rare Wildcat Kitten

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Chester Zoo has released amazing video footage they captured of a rare Scottish Wildcat kitten, bred at the Zoo, emerging from its den for the first time since birth.

The endangered wildcat was born on May 13, and keepers do not yet know its sex.

The arrival of the kitten (the first to ever be born at the Cheshire, UK zoo) has given a big boost to a conservation programme, which is working to bring Britain’s rarest mammal back from the edge of extinction.

Experts believe there could now be fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild, making the Scottish Wildcat, or ‘Highland Tiger’ as it is affectionately known, one of the most endangered populations of cats in the world.

Wildcats once thrived in Britain but were almost hunted to extinction for their fur and to stop them preying on valuable game birds. They are now protected under UK law but remain under huge threat from crossbreeding with feral and domestic cats, habitat loss, and accidental persecution.

Scottish Wildcat mum, Einich:

Female wildcat Einich (3)Photo/Video Credit: Chester Zoo

 

A coordinated action plan to save the highly threatened animals, named Scottish Wildcat Action, has been devised to protect the species and involves over 20 conservation partners including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Government, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the Forestry Commission Scotland, as well as Chester Zoo’s Act for Wildlife conservation campaign. Conservation breeding in zoos, for their eventual release, has been identified as an important component in the long-term recovery plan for the animals.

Tim Rowlands, Chester Zoo’s Curator of Mammals, said, “The arrival of the new kitten is a major boost to the increasingly important captive population in Britain. It was born in May but has spent the first few months safely tucked up in its den with mum, Einich, and has only recently gained enough confidence to venture out and explore. It won’t be too long until this little kitten grows into a powerful predator.

“Conservation breeding in zoos is a key element in the wider plan to conserve the species in the UK and, drawing on the unique skills, knowledge and knowhow of the carnivore experts working here, we’re breeding Scottish Wildcats to increase the safety net population and hope to release their offspring into the highlands of Scotland in the future.

“In tandem with our breeding programme, we’re also supporting monitoring work in the Scottish highlands and have funded camera traps that are being used to identify areas where wildcat populations are thriving or suffering.

“This project is of national importance and shows what an important role zoos can play in helping to save local species. We’re very much part of efforts to maximise the chances of maintaining a wild population of the stunning Scottish Wildcat for the long term.”

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Kittens a Boost for Scotland's Vanishing Wildcats

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Two litters of rare Scottish Wildcats born at Highland Wildlife Park could play a huge role in the conservation of this species, which is considered by some to be Europe’s rarest mammal.

The kittens’ birth is part of a conservation program and could result in the species’ eventual reintroduction to some protected areas of Scotland.

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16_07_12 20 DSC_2054_CreditAlexRidellPhoto Credits:  RZSS/Alex Riddell (1, 2, 4), RZSS/Jan Morse (3)

For several months, the kittens have been tucked safely in their dens with their mothers, but they have begun venturing outdoors recently.  The playfulness that zoo guests observe between the mothers and their babies is actually an important part of developing the kittens’ survival skills.

Also known as the Highland Tiger, this rare native species is facing the threat of extinction due to hybridization with domestic and feral Cats, habitat loss, and accidental persecution.   The species is Critically Endangered in Scotland and is the only wild Cat native to Scotland.

The zoo is partnering with other Scottish conservation organizations to develop an action plan for preserving the species.  The captive breeding program managed by the zoo provides an increasingly important safety net as the wild population of this Wildcat continues to decline.

Although some similarities with Domestic Cats exist, the two species are not to be confused. The Scottish Wildcat is an isolated sub-population of the European Wildcat, which is found in continental Europe. Wildcats prefer to live alone but will come together for breeding, normally giving birth to two or three kittens, which the mother will protect fiercely.

With their big, bushy, black-ringed tail and tenacious behavior, Scottish Wildcats play a large role in Scottish lore, and were often used in clan crests.


Zoo "Bear-ly" Able to Contain Excitement Over Cub

(1)  Belfast Zoo is celebrating the first Andean bear birth, at Cave Hill, in more than 20 years!
A little cub named Lola is the first Andean Bear birth at the Belfast Zoo in more than 20 years.

Keepers didn’t have high hopes when the Lola’s parents, Spook and Alice, were first introduced, as the two scarcely seemed to tolerate one another.

Then, in late 2015, Alice began to show signs of pregnancy.  Keepers gave Alice a private den for the latter stages of her pregnancy, and Lola was born on February 6.

(2)  Andean bears give birth in dens and remain there with the cubs for the first few months.
(4)  Lola has recently started to come out of the den to explore her enclosure.  Visitors can catch a glimpse of the bears betwe
(3)  On 6 February 2016 keepers discovered a cub.  The cub is a female and has been named Lola.Photo Credit:  Belfast Zoo

Andean Bear cubs remain in the den with their mother exclusively for several months.  On May 31, the zoo’s veterinary staff performed their first health check on the cub, confirmed her gender, and pronounced her healthy.

Now that Lola is in the Bear habitat, zoo guests are enjoying her antics as she navigates the rocks and tries out new foods. 

Andean Bears are also known as Spectacled Bears due to the light fur around their eyes, which can look like spectacles against the Bear’s darker fur.  No two bears have the same pattern.

These Bears live in cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes Mountains, stretching Venezuela to Peru.  There are eight species of Bear species worldwide, but the Andean bear is the only one native to South America. Andean Bears are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by agriculture.  They are also hunted for meat and for their supposed medicinal properties.


“Spruce the Moose Is Adorable!”

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Northwest Trek recently held a naming contest for their newest Moose calf. Members of the public cast 4,337 votes in a naming survey conducted over a couple of weeks. There were three ‘tree-name’ choices up for the vote: Spruce, Douglas and Ash. And the winner is…Spruce!

Spruce, born June 12, is the second Moose born at the wildlife park near Eatonville, Washington, in the last 16 years. (See our previous article: "New Moose Calf for Northwest Trek Wildlife Park")

Spruce’s big sister, Willow, arrived last July 17 – a surprise gift on Northwest Trek’s 40th birthday.

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4_untitled (197 of 208)-X2Photo Credits: Ingrid Barrentine/Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

 

Many of Northwest Trek’s members, visitors and friends liked and commented on the naming survey on social media, giving their opinions on the choices submitted by keepers – and suggesting a few of their own. One comment, though, perfectly summed up what seemed to be the prevailing sentiment: “Awww Spruce the Moose would be adorable!” And, in fact, he is adorable.

Spruce spends his days hanging out with mother Connie, staying close but venturing out a little into the forest to munch on browse (twigs, leaves, tree branches). He also continues to nurse, and is growing quickly.

According to keepers, they just can’t haul a scale out into the woods, track down a moose and weigh him, so they have to estimate his weight. It’s approximately 50 pounds. (While nursing, a calf can gain up to three pounds a day.)

Spruce’s parents were named for Northwest Trek icons: Connie for the wildlife park’s co-founder, Connie Hellyer and his father, Ellis, was named for longtime wildlife park deputy director and conservationist, Dave Ellis. But in keeping with the wildlife park’s animal naming procedures that began a couple of years ago, Willow and the new calf will have identities that reflect the forests in which their species live.

Moose are the only residents of the wildlife park’s Free-Roaming Area that are given names.

Visitors aboard narrated tram tours of forests and meadows in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area should keep sharp eyes out the windows, seeking a sighting of Northwest Trek’s five moose: adults Connie, Ellis, and Nancy and calves Willow and Spruce.

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Sweet Red Panda Sisters at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo welcomed the birth of two Red Pandas on June 6. The female cubs, named Lali and Masu, are currently in a nesting box and are being cared for by their mother, Faith.

On rare occasion, Zoo guests may see the mother bring the cubs outside the nesting box. However, the cubs will remain mostly behind the scenes until September, when they’re more developed and ready to fully join their father, Hamlet, in the Red Panda exhibit.

Zookeepers are keeping a close eye on Lali and Masu; Zoo veterinarians perform regular exams to check weight, temperature and overall wellness.

In their first weeks of life, the cubs were not gaining weight or regulating their body temperatures. Both were diagnosed with pneumonia and started on daily tube feedings, antibiotics and fluids. They slowly began gaining weight and recovering, and are now off of treatment and doing well under the care of their mother. Recently they began opening their eyes but, as newborns do, they sleep most of the day and night.

This is a first litter for both parents. Faith, the mother, was born in June 2014, and dad, Hamlet, was born July 2013. Faith made her way to Denver from Trevor Park Zoo, and Hamlet arrived from Toronto Zoo, last year, under breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

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Red_panda_cubs_03Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

In the wild, the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. They are currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Red Panda communicates with squeaks, chattering noises and chipmunk-like sounds.

Although it shares the same name, the Red Panda is not related to the Giant Panda. In fact, the Red Panda is not related to any other animals, making it unique.

As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. They give birth to between one and four young at a time, and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.

Red Pandas, like Giant Pandas, have very specialized diet requirements and eat a large amount of bamboo daily.

Red Pandas are part of the Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) in zoos around the world. GSMP is allied with field conservation efforts for animals around the world.


KCZoo Announces Names of Two Young Apes

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The Kansas City Zoo is proud to announce the names chosen for their adorable baby Orangutan and baby Chimpanzee, born earlier this year.

On May 23, a male Bornean Orangutan was born at the Zoo. First-time mom Josie has strong motherly instincts and has been taking great care of the little guy since his birth! Keepers say Josie’s mom, Jill, who is also at the KCZoo, taught her everything she knows about being a mom. Orangutan youngsters have long intense relationships with their mothers, so Josie will spend the next several years showing him vital Orangutan skills like how to build nests, where to find food, how to interact with others and how to use tools to forage.

A generous private donor has been given the opportunity and named this youngster “Dusty.” You can see his handsome little face along with Josie, Grandma Jill and Kali at the Zoo’s “Orangutan Canopy”.

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4_13392036_10153402920856377_378451210979909069_oPhoto Credits: Kansas City Zoo

A female Chimpanzee, at the Zoo, was born to mom Teeoni on April 1. But just days after her birth, her mother was no longer caring for her. In the best interest of the infant, Zookeepers began the challenging work of hand-raising her, providing her with round the clock care. Keepers are proud to say this three-month-old is now thriving! Always in close contact to the rest of the Chimpanzee troop, keepers are working with other potential surrogate moms for the baby when she is big enough to rejoin the group.

A longtime supporter of the Zoo has chosen a meaningful name for this little girl that symbolizes the hard work and dedication the keeper staff has put forth to raise her in the absence of her mother. She has been named “Ruw” (RUE) which is short for Ruwenzori, the nickname of the Zookeeper team that cares for Kansas City Zoo’s Chimpanzee troop.

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is a species native to the island of Borneo. Together with the Sumatran Orangutan, it belongs to the only genus of great apes native to Asia. Like the other great apes, Orangutans are highly intelligent, displaying advanced tool use and distinct cultural patterns in the wild.

The Bornean Orangutan is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.

Chimpanzees (sometimes called chimps) are one of two exclusively African species of great ape that are currently extant. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, both are currently found in the Congo jungle. Classified in the genus Pan, they were once considered to be one species. However, since 1928, they have been recognized as two distinct species: the Common Chimpanzee (P. troglodytes) live north of the Congo River and the Bonobo (P. paniscus) who live south. In addition, P. troglodytes is divided into four subspecies, while P. paniscus has none. The most obvious differences are that Chimpanzees are somewhat larger, more aggressive and male dominated, while the Bonobos are more gracile, peaceful, and female dominated.

Their hair is typically black or brown. Males and females differ in size and appearance. Both Chimps and Bonobos are some of the most social great apes, with social bonds occurring among individuals in large communities. Fruit is the most important component of a Chimpanzee's diet. They can live over 30 years in both the wild and captivity.

The Kansas City Zoo allows patrons to participate in the care of their animals. Zoo fans can adopt them through the “Adopt A Wild Child Program”. Find out more on the Zoo’s website: http://www.kansascityzoo.org/aawc .

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Twenty-three Fluffy Flamingos Emerge at Chester Zoo

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Twenty-three adorable Flamingo chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo. The eleven Chilean and twelve Caribbean Flamingos started to hatch on June 9, with the last of new arrivals emerging from its egg on July 5.

Each chick hatched to a different female, as Flamingos are monogamous birds and only lay a single egg each year.

Mark Vercoe, Assistant Team Manager of the bird team at Chester Zoo said, “It’s been a really successful breeding season for the Flamingos and we’re delighted with all of the new chicks. They look like fluffy cotton wool balls with little wobbly jelly legs at the moment and it’ll be several months until their pink feathers start to show.

“For a few days after hatching the youngsters tend to stay really close to their parents but they soon grow in confidence and some have already started to wade in the water around their island independently.”

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4_Chester Zoo is tickled pink by new flamingo chicks  (8)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

The Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) is a large species at 110–130 cm (43–51 in). It is closely related to the American Flamingo (Caribbean) and Greater Flamingo, with which it was sometimes considered conspecific. The species is listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN.

It is native to South America, from Ecuador and Peru, to Chile and Argentina, and east to Brazil. Like all Flamingos, it lays a single chalky white egg on a mud mound.

The Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large species that was formerly considered conspecific with the Greater Flamingo, but that treatment is now widely viewed as incorrect due to a lack of evidence. It is also known as the American Flamingo. In Cuba, it is also known as the Greater Flamingo. It is the only Flamingo that naturally inhabits North America.

The Caribbean species is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

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