Biggest Bush Dog Litter Ever Born at Chester Zoo Emerges From Den

1Puppy love! Biggest ever bush dog litter born at Chester Zoo emerges from den (16)

The biggest Bush Dog litter ever born at Chester Zoo has emerged from its den.

The six pups, born to mother Mana, age 7, and dad Franco, age 4, have made their public debuts after spending their first few weeks of life tucked away in their underground burrows.

Puppy love! Biggest ever bush dog litter born at Chester Zoo emerges from den (13)
Puppy love! Biggest ever bush dog litter born at Chester Zoo emerges from den (21)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo


Keepers believe the first of the sextuplets arrived on May 13, which is when they first heard tiny cries coming from the dens as they performed their morning rounds.

The litter, which is above the average size for Bush Dogs and is made up of two boys and four girls, is the largest to be born at the zoo.

Now, the youngsters have come out to play and have begun exploring the outside world under the watchful eye of their parents.  

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said, “Mana is doing a wonderful job of caring for her new pups but with it being her biggest litter ever, she’s certainly got her paws full. We’ve seen fairly big litters of four or five pups born in the past, but never have we had a litter of six.

The zoo’s Bush Dog pack now contains 16 individuals. In the next few weeks, the newest pups will be weighed and sexed by the care team.

Bush Dogs belong to the canine family and live in small isolated populations in the wet forests and grasslands of Central and South America. They have evolved over thousands of years to have a web of skin between their toes, which makes them excellent swimmers.

Sightings of Bush Dogs in the wild are becoming increasingly rare with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listing the species as Near Threatened. Their wild numbers have dropped by more than 25% in just 12 years. This decline is caused by destruction of natural areas for farms and other human developments, poaching for their meat, and diseases contracted from domestic dogs.

Chester Zoo has supported partners in Misiones, Argentina, where conservationists helped to create a biological corridor of habitat for a range of carnivorous species to help improve the movement between different areas of fragmented forest.

See more photos of the sextuplets below.

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Naked Mole Rats Born at Bioparc Valencia

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A litter of Naked Mole Rats was born last week at Bioparc Valencia, highlighting this unusual and unique species.

Native to the dry grasslands of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, Naked Mole Rats excavate extensive underground burrows. They are well adapted to their underground life, with tiny eyes and large teeth for digging. As the name suggests, Naked Mole Rats have very little hair and lack a fat layer under the skin.

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BIOPARC Valencia - Ratas topo y crías recién nacidas - verano 2018Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia



Naked Mole Rats are unusual among mammals in that they exhibit eusociality, a social structure similar to that of ants, termites and bees. The life of the colony is governed by chemical mechanisms, where there is only one breeding female (the queen), and one to three breeding males (the drones). The rest of the individuals in the colony are workers, which are sterile and are charged with maintaining the nest and gathering food.

Scientists are greatly interested in Naked Mole Rats because they are believed to be resistant to cancer, likely due to their genetic makeup. They are insensitive to pain because they lack a specific neurotransmitter. Naked Mole Rats are able to thrive in a low-oxygen environment (only about 2-9%, compared to 21% above ground). In addition, their relatively long lifespan of 32 years – unlike many rodents that live just a few years – is of great interest to scientists who study the aging process.

One of the objectives of BIOPARC Valencia is to make known the rich biodiversity of the planet and the need to conserve it, where all species are essential.


Saint Louis Zoo Primate House Welcomes a Princess

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A female Mongoose Lemur, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on March 19, can now be seen by visitors as she plays with her mom, Dahlia, and dad, Snuffy, in the Zoo’s Primate House.

This is the first successful birth and rearing of a Mongoose Lemur at the Zoo, a milestone for the critically endangered species and a credit to the hundreds of hours of work contributed by the entire animal care team at the Primate House.

Known as “Princess Buttercup”, the baby is healthy and very energetic. However, her first few months of life started off a bit rocky, requiring round-the-clock care and feeding by the Zoo’s primate care staff.

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4_Buttercup_mongoose lemur_3.5 months old_Ethan Riepl Saint Louis Zoo_smPhoto Credits: Ethan Riepl (Images 1,3,4) /Mylisa Whipple (2)/ Saint Louis Zoo

Six-year-old Dahlia has previously been unsuccessful in raising her infants, so when this pregnancy was confirmed, primate keepers consulted with numerous colleagues and conservation organizations with extensive lemur experience for advice. After creating a comprehensive birth plan, a decision was made to intervene early after this birth.

From the beginning, Dahlia cared for the baby in every way except nursing. She groomed, kept her warm, and let Princess Buttercup hang onto her fur. The animal care staff hand fed formula to the 68.5-gram (about 2.4 ounces) newborn using a syringe and performed regular weigh-ins and check-ups to make sure she was gaining weight and progressing normally.

For the first three weeks, Princess Buttercup was fed every two hours and demanded almost constant attention. Through training and a trusting relationship between the keepers and the lemur parents, Dahlia and Snuffy allowed the keepers to feed, weigh and monitor their baby since her birth. At 3 ½ months old, she now receives three formula feedings a day and is trying out a variety of adult foods as well.

The entire team of dedicated primate keepers altered their schedules in order to provide 24-hour care for this new baby, making sure that she was healthy, comfortable and well fed.

“We are all thrilled that Princess Buttercup is thriving and that we were able to assist Dahlia in raising her baby,” said Mylisa Whipple, one of the primate unit keepers who was instrumental in preparing the birth plan. “It’s an exhausting process to raise a child – any parent can attest to this – but every Mongoose Lemur birth is extremely important for this endangered species and we wanted to do the absolute best for her. It’s an amazing feeling to see her doing so well after such a tough start.”

This birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Mongoose Lemur Species Survival Plan, a program to manage a genetically healthy population of Mongoose Lemurs in North American zoos. With Princess Buttercup’s birth, there are now a total of 68 Mongoose Lemurs in all AZA zoos (38 female, 30 male).

The Mongoose Lemur (Eulemur mongoz) is a critically endangered species native to the dry forests of northwestern Madagascar, where it searches for its diet of nectar, fruit, flowers and leaves. The small lemur weighs only 3 to 4 pounds as an adult.

Like many other lemurs, the Mongoose Lemur is in danger of extinction in the wild, due to continued habitat loss, as their forest homes are logged for timber and turned into farmland.

*The Saint Louis Zoo is home to the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, a consortium of zoos and aquariums committed to conserving lemurs and other wildlife species within their native habitat.


Zoo Miami Welcomes New Litter of Warthogs

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Zoo Miami is proud to announce the birth of four Warthogs!

The two males and two females were born on June 29, and they recently had their first neonatal exam. The exam confirmed their sex and helped to insure that they have an excellent start in life. The preliminary report was that all four piglets appeared to be healthy and are developing well.

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The four-year-old mother is from the Indianapolis Zoo, and the four-year-old father is from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This is the second litter of for both parents, but it is the third successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami, with the first one occurring back in 1995.

The mother will remain off exhibit with her piglets for an undetermined amount of time to insure that they have bonded properly and are well acclimated to their surroundings prior to going on public display.

Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa. Though not naturally aggressive, these wild pigs are quite capable of protecting themselves with large, powerful tusks, which they normally use to tear up the ground in search of roots and grubs and to establish dominance between them.

Males develop considerably larger tusks than the females. The name Warthog is a bit misleading because the protrusions that come out of the sides of the head are not actual warts but rather fatty, granular tissue.

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Rare Visayan Spotted Deer Born at Edinburgh Zoo

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A Visayan Spotted Deer, which is believed to be one of the rarest mammals in the world, has been born at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo.

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18_06_27_VisayanSpottedDeer_Fawn_03_kpPhoto Credit: RZSS/Katie Paton

The latest arrival will join the conservation breeding program aimed at safeguarding this endangered species, which is thought to be extinct in over 95% of its native habitat.

The male fawn, which is yet to be named by keepers, was born in early June and has been delighting visitors as he enjoys exploring his enclosure. The youngster will stay close to his mother, Summer, for around six months before becoming more independent.

Karen Stiven, senior keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “It is very exciting to have a fawn born at the zoo. The Visayan Spotted Deer is facing severe threats from intensive hunting and land clearing for agriculture.”

Found only on the Visayan islands in the Philippines, the species is thought to be one of the most narrowly distributed mammals on the planet, with possibly just a few hundred remaining in the wild.

“This makes each addition to the breeding programme a positive step towards a genetically stable population, which may need to be introduced to the wild in the future,” said Stiven.


Rare Przewalski's Foal Adds to Breeding Success


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The staff at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo is delighted by the birth of a male Przewalski’s Horse foal born on May 25.

This is the fourth foal for experienced mother Genghis, who is taking motherhood in her stride.

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Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

 

“The foal has been named Khan, as a tribute to his mother,” said keeper Jack Foley. “So far we couldn’t be happier with how both mother and foal are doing. Khan is staying close to his mother and is still finding his place in the herd. He can often be spotted sleeping in the sun during the day.”

“Khan is the second new arrival to the herd this year, with a filly named Dash born on January 1. As Khan grows he will interact more with Dash and no doubt we’ll see them galloping around the paddock together.”

“Genghis is a very relaxed, easy going mother and has been a pillar of the breeding program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with two of her four foals having already bred, carrying on this important genetic line to another generation.”

“At the moment Khan has quite a woolly looking coat however, as winter passes and the weather starts to warm up he will start to shed this layer,” said Jack.

Khan was born just before the July 3 opening of the new Wild Herds exhibit. Wild Herds is a newly redeveloped area that will showcase the Przewalski’s Horse and Taronga’s successful breeding program for this species and its role in helping to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

The Przewalski’s Horse is classified as Endangered, but they were once extinct in the wild and lived only in zoos. Prior to reintroduction programs Przewalski’s Horses were last seen in the wild in the Gobi Desert, in south Mongolia. Their numbers dwindled as a result of human interference such as poaching and capture. Today, their main threats are habitat loss and low genetic diversity.


New Orangutan a First for Virginia Zoo

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The Virginia Zoo is celebrating their first Bornean Orangutan birth!

Mom, Dara, gave birth to her baby just before midnight on June 22, behind the scenes in her indoor den. This is the first offspring for both 18-year-old Dara and her 15-year-old mate, Solaris.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the news of our new orangutan baby,” said Greg Bockheim, the Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “I’m proud of our Zoo Keepers and Vet Team who have been prepping, training and waiting for this moment for months, and now their hard work has paid off. It’s a big success to contribute this significant birth to the Zoo community and the critically endangered species as a whole,” Bockheim added.

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Photo 3 Virginia Zoo Baby OrangutanPhoto Credits: Virginia Zoo

Since Dara had her baby in her den, staff has decided to keep them indoors to let mom and baby bond without interruption.

The exact weight and sex of the baby have not yet been determined. Staff will not intervene or separate the baby from Dara unless an issue arises where the baby needs assistance and veterinary attention.

“Dara is doing a great job caring for her newborn,” said Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the Zoo’s Veterinarian. “The pair spend their time nursing, resting and snuggling in their den,” Clabbers added.

An Orangutan infant is completely dependent on the mother until at least two years old, typically nursing for several more years beyond that age. Offspring tend to stay close to their mothers for up to 10 years or more.

With the newborn, the Zoo now has five Orangutans: Dara and her baby, Solaris, 38-year-old female Pepper and 36-year-old male Schnitz.

Tune into the Zoo’s social media accounts for updates and information regarding its name in the coming weeks.

The species originates in tropical and swamp forests in Asia, specifically on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The origin of the word “Orangutan” is from Malay and Indonesian words, meaning “Person of the Forest.” These arboreal primates are relatively large and stand between 3 and 4.5 feet tall, and can weigh up to 220 pounds. They are widely known for their vibrant, orange-colored hair. Both Bornean and Sumatran Orangutans are classified by the IUCN as “Critically Endangered”.


L.A. Zoo Welcomes Lovely Masai Giraffe Calf

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The Los Angeles Zoo is happy to announce the birth of a female Masai Giraffe calf!  Born on May 15 to mother, Hasina, and father, Phillip, the currently unnamed calf weighed in at 176 pounds and stood at around six feet tall.

This is the nine-year-old mother’s fourth calf and the six-year-old father’s third offspring. Hasina and Phillip were paired together through a Species Survival Plan (SSP) program that breeds Masai Giraffes in order to ensure the survival of a species that is threatened in the wild.

“She is one of the largest calves we’ve had born at the L.A. Zoo since I started working here in 2005,” said Mike Bona, animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “It is great timing that she was born before World Giraffe Day [June 21]. Not only does her birth help continue the Zoo’s efforts in its giraffe breeding program, but it also gives us an opportunity to educate guests on giraffe conservation and the current threats that the species faces in the wild.”

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4_Female Giraffe Calf Photo by Jamie Pham 3Photo Credits: Los Angeles Zoo/Jamie Pham

Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, and Masai Giraffes can grow up to 17 feet tall and weigh 2,700 pounds. The largest of the nine subspecies of giraffe, Masai Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchii) are found in East Africa, namely southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Giraffes are currently categorized as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Their populations are under threat and declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal hunting, and disease.

Guests to the L.A. Zoo can visit the calf and her giraffe herd during Zoo hours, weather permitting. When observing the calf bonding with the herd, be sure to check out the Zoo’s giraffe feedings. This interactive experience allows guests to get up close and personal with the adult Masai Giraffes while feeding them their favorite greens and learning fun facts about the herd from Zoo education staff.

*Giraffe feedings take place twice daily from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and are $5 per person with paid Zoo admission. Tickets can be purchased (cash only) at the giraffe exhibit. Giraffe feedings are subject to weather-related changes, especially on rainy days.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Cotswold Celebrates Birth of Wolverine Kits

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Cotswold Wildlife Park is now home to three new Wolverine kits. After spending approximately nine weeks hidden away in their underground den, the triplets are beginning to venture out and explore their new woodland enclosure under the watchful eye of parents, Sarka and Sharapova.

The Park made history in 2012 as the first collection in the UK to successfully breed Wolverines (Gulo gulo) in captivity. These new arrivals are Sarka and Sharapova’s third litter and are testament to the Park’s excellent European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

Breeding is notoriously difficult with this species, so the youngsters are encouraging news for future generations. The triplets are the only Wolverine births in the UK this year - with just five other European zoological collections having successfully bred this species in 2018 (the breeding season is now over).

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3_35694831_10160610994715014_2143958497757233152_oPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park/ Jackie Thomas (Image 2)

Keepers were unsure exactly how many kits had been born until mother, Sharapova, started bringing the youngsters out of the den.

Jamie Craig, Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park and member of the EEP committee for Wolverines, commented, “Once the female enters her den, we are pretty confident that the kits have arrived. She is an excellent mother, only leaving the kits for very brief periods to eat and drink. Once the kits are old enough, she will allow them out to investigate their surroundings but always under her vigilant eye. We were delighted to be the first UK collection to breed this species and, in many ways, it is even more rewarding to repeat our success for a third time.”

Females have a reproductive strategy known as embryonic diapause, or delayed implantation. The embryo does not immediately implant in the uterus, but is maintained in a state of dormancy which allows pregnant females to fine-tune births and wait for the best possible conditions. Reproduction is hugely energetically expensive for any animal. If the environmental conditions aren’t able to support a female through the intense periods of pregnancy and nursing, it makes little sense to put energy into giving birth to young that may not survive. Diapause can last up to ten months in Wolverines. In the wild, when females are ready to give birth, they excavate long, complex snow tunnels for reproduction dens. They give birth to kits and shelter them from predation and harsh weather until weaning time. Newborns are altricial and covered in white fur with a pungent waxy substance on their pelage. This acts as a great defense against predators while the kits are vulnerable. Males do not assist in the rearing of young.

Recent studies have yielded important new insights into the nature of the Wolverine’s ecological niche. Unfortunately, these findings don’t bode well for the species’ future as the planet – and particularly the Arctic – continues to warm. Wolverine researcher, K. B. Aubry, warned: “The Wolverine may be second only to the Polar Bear in its sensitivity to global warming”.

In America, this species once roamed across the northern tier of the United States and as far south as New Mexico in the Rockies. They are facing local extinction due to climate change and habitat loss. Approximately 300 individuals are believed to exist in the lower 48 states of America. In 2016, after a 20-year battle to protect these reclusive animals, the United States District Court for Montana finally granted the Wolverine the designation of a threatened species.


Meet Daisy the Baby Mountain Goat

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A 2-year-old Mountain Goat, Bluebelle, gave birth Saturday, June 16, to a female kid at Woodland Park Zoo. The last birth of a Mountain Goat at the zoo was in 1995.
  
The zoo’s animal health staff performed a neonatal exam Sunday on the new Goat, which was named Daisy by the zoo staff. According to Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo, Daisy weighed 10 pounds and appears healthy, with good body condition and a strong suckling reflex. Lab tests indicate that she has been successfully nursing and received colostrum from Bluebelle.
  
“So far we’re seeing attentive maternal care by first-time mom Bluebelle. Nursing sessions are regular and mom and her newborn are bonding,” said Deanna DeBo, an animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo.

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35671494_10156692218997708_1856944224415514624_nPhoto Credit: Woodland Park Zoo

The new kid is the first offspring for Bluebelle and dad Albert. Albert moved in April to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs to help increase genetic representation of the species in accredited zoos.

Bluebelle and Daisy’s zoo habitat replicates the rocky crags and ledges that these animals would encounter in their native range in the mountainous northwestern United States and Canada.  The zoo’s award-winning Northern Trail exhibit features other animals that have adapted to the cold, rugged regions of the north including Grizzlies, Snowy Owls, Wolves, Elk and Steller’s Sea Eagles.

Rocky Mountain Goats naturally range from southern Alaska, Canada, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Transplanted populations now live in Colorado, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota and Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Remarkably adapted for life on steep mountain ledges, Mountain Goats live, sleep, and eat at elevations of 10,000 feet and up. They are well-adapted to extremely harsh conditions such as snowy slopes with pitches above 60 degrees, winds up to 100 mph, snow drifts of 30–60 feet high and temperatures reaching minus 50 degrees F.
 
A Mountain Goat’s incredible adaptations allow it to live high above potential predators such as Mountain Lions, Bears or Wolverines. The only predator that lives above the timberline is the Golden Eagle which might attack a newborn or very young Goat.
 
Woodland Park Zoo supports the conservation of Mountain Goats and other Cascadia wildlife through the Living Northwest suite.