Baby Sloth Slooowly Stealing Hearts at Memphis Zoo

Photo Apr 18  9 09 34 AM Courtesy of Adrienne Saunders
A baby Linné’s Two-toed Sloth at the Memphis Zoo is slooowly stealing the hearts of her keepers and fans, and she’s already made a special friend: a stuffed elephant that she clings to at naptime.

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Baby-Sloth-4Photo Credit:  Adrienne Saunders (1,6,7,8); Memphis Zoo (2,3,4,5)

Named Lua, which means “moon” in Portuguese, the female baby was born on March 17 to parents Marilyn and Sparky. Marilyn had delivered other infants in previous years, but her babies did not survive infancy, so the staff decided to hand-rear Lua to ensure her survival.

When the staff is not holding Lua, she clings to the stuffed elephant, which strengthens her limbs and mimics the way baby sloths hold on to their mothers. Sloths spend most of their time upside down, hanging from tree branches in South American rain forests north of the Amazon River. 

Baby Lua is bottle-fed every two hours, which will continue for at least a month. Sloths grow slowly and Lua will require help from zoo keepers for about a year. She is currently being cared for behind the scenes.

Both Marilyn and Sparky came into the zoo population from the wild, making Lua genetically valuable.

Linné’s Two-toed sloths, also known as Southern Two-toed Sloths, feed on leaves and other vegetation.  They rarely descend to the ground.

See more photos of Lua below.

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You ‘Otter’ See Brookfield Zoo’s New Pups

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The Chicago Zoological Society is thrilled to announce the birth of twin North American River Otter pups at Brookfield Zoo. The male and female pups, born on February 23, are the first successful births of this species in the Zoo’s history.

The adorable siblings are currently behind the scenes, bonding with their mom, learning how to swim. They are scheduled to make their public debut later this month.

The pups’ mother, Charlotte, arrived at Brookfield Zoo in June 2012 from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. The father, Benny, joined the Zoo family from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, in August 2004.

Otter mating typically occurs between December and April, with most births occurring between February and April of the following year. Pups are born with their eyes closed, fully furred, and weighing about 4 ounces.

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3_North American river otter pups (38 days old)Photo credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society (Image 1: 18 days old / Image 2: 33 days old / Image 3: 38 days old)

The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) is a participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) North American River Otter Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative population management and conservation program for the species. The program manages the breeding of Otters in zoos to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. It is a member of the subfamily Lutrinae in the weasel family (Mustelidae).

An adult River Otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). The River Otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur.

North American River Otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. Fish is a favored food, but they also consume various amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), freshwater clams, mussels, snails, small turtles and crayfish.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists these Otters as “Least Concern”, meaning that the populations are very stable. However, habitat degradation and pollution are major threats to their conservation.


Wroclaw Welcomes Litter of Red River Hogs

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Zoo Wrocław is excited to announce the birth of a litter of Red River Hogs. Three piglets were born on April 3rd. The matriarch of the herd, and new mother, is Petunia. Petunia arrived at Zoo Wroclaw from Brooklyn, NYC, and her partner, Jumbo, arrived from France.

The Zoo is eager to find names for the new youngsters and is willing to accept any and all suggestions for names! Suggestions can be made to their social media page: https://www.facebook.com/wroclawskiezoo/ and their website: http://www.zoo.wroclaw.pl/  

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4_17796774_10155198544934719_2576291454719781431_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Wroclaw/Pawlik

The Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus) is a wild member of the pig family native to the Guinean and Congolian forests of Africa. It is rarely seen away from rainforests, and generally prefers areas near rivers or swamps.

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Zoo Basel's Owlets Stick Close to Home

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A pair of Spectacled Owl chicks, at Zoo Basel, hatched at the beginning of February. Too big for their nest, they are now quite content to perch on branches and wait for Mama or Papa to bring them food!

The owlets are already as big as their parents. However, it will be two to three years before the siblings' snowy feathers change to the dark patterns of the adults.

Keepers at Zoo Basel utilized DNA samples and were able to determine that the chicks are male and female. Staff initially suspected as much by just examining the physical aspects of the chicks. Female eyebrows are usually slightly larger than the males, but otherwise look identical. To be quite sure, determination of the sex is made by means of a genetic examination. The Zoo’s veterinarian pulled out a small growing feather and sent it to the lab. The keeper’s speculations were confirmed: the bigger of the chicks is the female.

During examinations, veterinarians also applied a chip the size of a rice kernel under the skin. With this, the bird receives a lifelong identity. This is important for the conservation programs that guide zoological breeding and care of the Spectacled Owl.

The parents of the chicks are a well-established couple. In several breedings, the two have proved that they are very caring and attentive. This winter season, at Zoo Basel, was a bit turbulent. The birds were temporarily indoors, and the two proved to be completely stress-resistant and looked after their nestlings reliably.

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4_brillenkauz_ZOB7117Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) is a large tropical owl native to the neotropics. It is a resident breeder in forests from southern Mexico and Trinidad, through Central America, south to southern Brazil, Paraguay and northwestern Argentina.

This species is largely nocturnal. It is a solitary, unsocial bird, associating with others of their own species for reproductive purposes.

The Spectacled Owl is typically the largest and most dominant owl in its range, with the larger Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) rarely venturing into true rainforest habitats.

It preys principally on a wide array of mammals, eating almost anything that is nocturnally active. Various rodents may be primary, but virtually any type of small mammal in its habitat is vulnerable.

In Costa Rica, eggs are laid variously in the dry season (November–May), or at the start of the wet season (June–July). This owl typically nests in an unlined tree cavity, but may also use the crutch of a large tree. Spectacled Owls typically lay one to two eggs, which are incubated almost entirely by the female for about five weeks. Chicks leave the nest for surrounding branches at about five to six weeks but cannot usually fly well at this stage. They tend to depend on their parents, for several months after leaving the nest, and may be cared for and fed for up to a year once fledged. Spectacled Owls have been known to breed while still in immature snowy plumage, since it may take up to five years before full adult plumage is obtained.

The Spectacled Owl occurs over a very large range and is still a resident in much of its native habitat. Due to this, it is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. However, in areas where prey is hunted by people, and habitats are destroyed or compromised, their population may decrease.


Endangered Flying Fox Pup Rescued by Zoo Keepers

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A tiny, critically endangered Rodrigues Flying Fox almost didn't live past her first day at the Oregon Zoo, but the pup is now one-month-old and well on the road to recovery.

"Rods," as Rodrigues Flying Foxes are often called in zoological circles, were once considered the most imperiled bat species on the planet, and each birth is considered an important step toward ensuring their long-term survival.

Oregon Zoo keepers were justifiably thrilled when, Sara, one of several Rodrigues Flying Foxes at the zoo's "bat cave," gave birth to a new pup on March 10. However, the day after the pup’s birth, excitement turned to concern when keepers found the tiny bat on the floor of the habitat, apparently rejected by her mom.

"Rods are big and fuzzy, and most of the time they keep their babies tucked up underneath a wing," said Laura Weiner, Senior Keeper for the zoo's Africa section. "When you see a baby on the ground, that's not a good sign."

The pup, which weighed less than 2 ounces, felt cold to the touch. Keepers scooped her up and rushed her to the zoo's veterinary medical center, where she was warmed, given fluids and determined to be in good health.

After several attempts to reunite the pup with her mother were met with rejection, the baby was returned to the vet hospital, where animal-care staff worked in shifts to administer formula feedings. She's out of ICU now, but she'll remain behind the scenes, until fall, during a long hand-rearing process that currently involves nine bottle feedings a day.

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3_040517BB-106Photo Credits: Oregon Zoo 

Weiner says the tiny survivor is not only "adorable," but a testament to one of the most inspiring conservation stories in history: living proof of the impact people can have, both positive and negative, on wildlife and species conservation.

"Every birth is significant for these bats," Weiner said. "Forty years ago, the Rodrigues Flying Fox was perilously close to extinction. The fact that they are here today shows what a difference people can make in helping wildlife."

The species is native only to Rodrigues, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean about 900 miles east of Madagascar, and plays an important ecological role on the island, where few other pollinators or seed dispersers exist. By the 1970s, much of this fruit bats' forest habitat had been cleared, and the species was on the brink extinction. After a cyclone hit the island in 1979, only 70 individuals remained, making the Rodrigues Flying Fox (Pteropus rodricensis) the most rare bat in the world.

The bats found a champion in English naturalist, Gerald Durrell, who translocated some survivors to form the nucleus of a breeding colony aimed at repopulating the species.

Although the Rodrigues Flying Fox is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, the population has now increased to around 20,000, thanks to 40 years of conservation activity, including the Rodrigues Environmental Educator Project launched by the Philadelphia Zoo in 1998.

The Oregon Zoo began housing "Rods" in 1994, and has raised more than 40 pups since then, periodically sending bats to other zoos as part of the Rodrigues Flying Fox Species Survival Plan. (SSPs are Association of Zoos and Aquariums programs to ensure species that are threatened or endangered in the wild have sustainable populations in zoos and aquariums).


Polar Bears Get Ready for Important Mother’s Day

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ZooBorns introduced readers to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's trio of Polar Bear cubs in our featured article posted on International Polar Bear Day: "A Trio of Polar Bears for 'International Polar Bear Day' ".

On November 8, first-time mom, Anana, gave birth to twins at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (unfortunately, one of the cubs passed away soon after). On November 16, Anana’s own twin sister, Aurora, also gave birth to twins!

Aurora and her twins recently made their much-anticipated public debut, and it was announced that the twins are male and female. Anana and her female cub also made their first public appearance!

The Zoo reports that the three cubs will not be on view together, as female Polar Bears typically raise their young independently.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds staff are naming the twins through one of the many employee initiatives raising funds for conservation.

However, Polar Bear fans can vote for the moniker of Anana’s female cub through a naming contest via the Zoo’s website: www.ColumbusZoo.org/NameTheCub

Just follow the link to their page and cast a vote for one of the pre-selected names before May 2. The names for all the cubs will be announced on Mother’s Day, May 14!

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4_Anana's polar-bear-cub-slide-29521c932bd2f67d7bdc2ff0000bf4b43Photo Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Images 1-4: Anana and her daughter / Images 5-8: Aurora and her male and female twins)

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Baby Giraffe's First Moments

Calf and mum. Photo credit Simon Dower  Zoos SA 2
In full view of zoo visitors, Myeisha the Giraffe delivered a baby at Australia’s Monarto Zoo on April 19.

This calf is Myeisha’s fourth and is the first giraffe born at Monarto Zoo in eight years.

Mum giving birth. Photo credit Simon Dower  Zoos SA
Giraffe calf and mum. Photo credit Simon Dower  Zoos SA
Giraffe calf and group. Photo credit Simon Dower  Zoos SAPhoto Credit:  Simon Dower/Zoos SA

Giraffe keeper Vaughan Wilson said the not-so-little bundle of joy was thriving and settling in well with the rest of the herd in the waterhole habitat. Baby Giraffes typically weigh 100-150 pounds at birth and stand about six feet tall.

As you can see in the video, female Giraffes give birth standing up. The six-foot drop to the ground stimulates the newborn’s breathing and breaks the umbilical cord.
 
“The birth went really well and shortly after being born, the little one was already on its feet getting used to its long legs,” Vaughan said. “It’s feeding really well and the other females who live in the waterhole habitat are fascinated by the new arrival.”
 
“It’s a bit like a giraffe maternity ward at Monarto Zoo at the moment, with our giraffe Kinky also expected to give birth any day now, and several more of our females expecting in the coming months," Vaughan said.
 
Giraffes are classified as Vulnerable to Extinction in the wild, so the calf is an important contribution to the zoo breeding program.  Zoos around the world are working to secure the future of the world’s tallest animal, which is facing an uncertain future in the wild.
 
Habitat loss, poaching, and civil unrest has seen giraffe numbers plummet from around 155,000 in 1985 to just 97,000 in 2015, which equates to a decline of almost 40 per cent over three giraffe generations. This devastating decline led to the Giraffe’s reclassification as Vulnerable to Extinction last year by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

 


Cheetah Trio Debuts in Dubbo

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Three Cheetah cubs made their public debut last week at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  Born on October 20, the cubs, one male and two females, have been growing and developing well behind the scenes under the watchful eye of mother, Kyan. 

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Cheetah cubs on exhibit April 2017 SM (13)Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

“The cubs are just over five months old now and are thriving. They are all developing quite distinct personalities and growing in confidence every day,” said zoo keeper Jordan Michelmore. 

Keepers have named the three Cheetah cubs.  The male has been named Obi, which means “heart” in Nigerian.  The females have been named Nyasa, which means “water” in Malawi and Zahara, which translates to “flower” in Swahili. 

“It has been a real pleasure watching them grow so far. Obi is very shy whilst Nyasa, the smallest of the trio, is actually the bravest and usually is the first to try new things. Zahara is also quite confident,” said Jordan.  “Kyan is becoming a little more relaxed now that the cubs are getting older. She is still quite protective and always keeps a watchful eye on them.”

Read more info and see additional photos of the cubs below.

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‘Kids’ at Zoo Basel Enjoy Springtime

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Thirteen exuberant Dwarf Goat kids are delighting visitors of Zoo Basel! The springtime births began on March 18, and the father to all of the ‘kids’ is two-year-old Wingu.

The movements of the young Dwarf Goats are a bit clumsy at the moment, but as they develop both their social and motor skills, they will soon be experts. Like all goats, Dwarf Goats are also considered to be good mountaineers and climbers.

Their hooves are an important climbing aid: the sole surface of each hoof is soft and supple, and therefore can adapt to any terrain unevenness, while the hoof edge is significantly harder. The hoof claws can also be moved against each other, so the animal always has sufficient ground contact, even at steep points.

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4_zwergziegen_jungtiere_ZO52458Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The Nigerian Dwarf Goat is a miniature dairy goat of West African ancestry. The original animals were transported from Africa on ships as food for captured carnivores being brought to zoos; the survivors were then maintained in herds at those zoos.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are popular as pets and family milkers due to their easy maintenance and small stature. However, because of their high butterfat, they are also used by some dairies to make cheese. They are registered by the American Dairy Goat Association, the American Goat Society, and the Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association.

Aside from their diminutive physique, they are modest, resistant and well adapted to their native tropical conditions.

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Polar Bear Cubs Entertain Guests of Aalborg Zoo

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Visitors to Aalborg Zoo, in Denmark, have been enjoying the antics of two adorable Polar Bear sisters.

The female cubs were born November 26 to mom, Malik, and the trio emerged from their birthing den in late February.

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4_33187808693_7ffd569648_kPhoto Credits: Ulli Joerres

The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear that is native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland).

Polar Bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight years. Due to delayed implantation, the gestation period can range from about 195 to 265 days. Pregnant Polar Bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.

Polar Bears are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Their populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the population could disappear by the year 2050.

The Polar Bear is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. At least three of the nineteen subpopulations are currently in decline.

More great pics below the fold!

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