Lemur Twins Are Twice the Fun at Zoo Vienna

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The Ring-tailed Lemur habitat at Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn just got a lot livelier with the birth of twins on March 18.

Mom has her hands full nursing her two tiny babies, but she is doing well and gets extra help from other females in the group. Twins are not uncommon in Ring-tailed Lemurs. 

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PA_Kattas3 (1)Photo Credit: Schönbrunn Zoo/Norbert Potensky

For the first few days of life, the babies spent most of their time nursing or sleeping as they clung to mom’s belly.  Newborn Lemurs are born with the ability to grip mom’s fur tightly so they can hang on as she climbs through the trees. After a few weeks, the babies will climb onto mom’s back and start to view their surroundings.  By one month of age, the babies will start to nibble on fruits and vegetables.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are one of about 100 species of Lemurs, all of which are found only on the African island of Madagascar.  More than two thirds of the species are Endangered or Critically Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

A dramatic loss of forest habitat in Madagascar is blamed for the rapid decline in Lemur numbers.  More than 90% of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been lost, mainly due to the demand for lumber, firewood, and charcoal by a growing human population.


Fiona the Preemie Hippo Tops 100 Pounds

17352433_10154941852100479_3804671967843059119_nFiona the Hippo has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of fans since her premature birth was announced by the Cincinnati Zoo and shared here on ZooBorns. 

Fiona was born six weeks premature on January 24 and was unable to stand and nurse from her mother, Bibi.  After Bibi ignored her tiny baby, keepers decided to care for the baby in the zoo’s nursery.  Under the expert care of the zoo’s staff, Fiona has grown from a mere 29 pounds (less than half the normal weight for a Hippo calf) to more than 100 pounds today.

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Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo

 

The zoo’s nursery staff has helped Fiona overcome several health hurdles, including underdeveloped lungs, finding the right milk formula for her, regulating her body temperature, and keeping her hydrated.  No other zoo has raised a premature baby Hippo before.

Fiona has learned to walk, including up a ramp leading into her exercise pool.  She has learned to swim and exhibits all the normal behaviors of a Hippo.

Keepers hope to reunite Fiona with Bibi and Henry, Fiona’s father. Bibi and Fiona were separated during the normal bonding time between mother and calf, so it is unlikely that Bibi will recognize Fiona as her offspring.  However, the staff expects Bibi and Henry to welcome Fiona into the bloat just as they would any other new Hippo.

Eventually, Fiona will become too large to be cared for in a hands-on manner by keepers.  For now, Fiona and her parents can see and hear each other, but they are separated by a protective barrier. The staff will begin working to transition Fiona to the bloat so she can become a well-adjusted Hippo.

 


Jacksonville Zoo's Cranes Raise Adopted Chick

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Keepers at Jacksonville Zoo recently discovered the egg their Wattled Cranes were sitting on was not fertilized. They contacted their friends at White Oak Conservation for assistance. White Oak happened to have a pair of Wattled Cranes who laid an extra egg.

The average clutch size of the Wattled Crane is thought to be the smallest of any of the world's cranes. Generally, in a nest of two or more eggs, only one chick will survive to hatch or fledge. Therefore, removing the extra egg was a possible ‘saving grace’ for the chick inside.

As a first step, keepers at Jacksonville Zoo decided to swap out the non-viable egg from their nest to a dummy egg, until they knew White Oak’s extra egg was close to hatching. When that time came, keepers at Jacksonville placed the egg in their birds’ nest. The egg hatched on March 5th, and they now have a healthy male chick!

The cranes are raising the ‘adopted’ chick as their own, and visitors to Jacksonville Zoo can see the new family at the African Boardwalk exhibit!

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4_17362666_10155147092603336_3231133601383594295_nPhoto Credits: Rob Bixby 

The Wattled Crane (Grus carunculata) is a large bird found in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

It is the largest crane in Africa, at a height of up to 175 cm (5.74 ft) and is the second tallest species of crane, after the Sarus Crane. The wingspan is 230–260 cm (7.5–8.5 ft), the length is typically 120 cm (3.9 ft) and weight is 6.4–7.9 kg (14–17 lb) in females, 7.5–9 kg (17–20 lb) in males.

The Wattled Crane is native to eleven sub-Saharan countries in Africa, including an isolated population in the highlands of Ethiopia. More than half of the world’s Wattled Cranes occur in Zambia, but the single largest concentration occurs in the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

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Staten Island Zoo Welcomes Birth of First Lemurs

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Two Ring-tailed Lemurs were born to different mothers at the Staten Island Zoo just one day apart, becoming the first Lemurs to have been born on Staten Island in the 80-year history of the zoo!

A female named Jyn, was born February 7, and a male, named Han, was born February 8. Both weighed approximately 65 grams (2.29 ounces) at birth.

The babies are half-siblings and share a father. The entire family can be seen in the zoo’s Africa wing.

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4_IMG_20170301_151340457 Lemur male Han 1Photo Credits: Staten Island Zoo (Images 1,4: male, Han / Images 2,3,5,6: female, Jyn)

The Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) is a large strepsirrhine primate and recognized due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of five Lemur families, and is the only member of the Lemur genus.

It is endemic to the island of Madagascar and inhabits deciduous forests, dry scrub, humid forests, and gallery forests along riverbanks. The species is omnivorous and the diet includes flowers, herbs, bark and sap, as well as spiders, caterpillars, cicadas, grasshoppers, and small vertebrates.

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First Pygmy Hippo in Seven Years for Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo is celebrating the arrival of an endangered Pygmy Hippo calf!

The female calf was born to first-time parents Fergus and Kambiri on February 21, and she is the first of her kind born at the Zoo in nearly seven years. Taronga Zoo is also planning a competition to help choose a name for the calf.

The calf made her public debut under the watchful eye of her mother and keepers. Visitors can now begin to, hopefully, catch glimpses of the rare newborn on Taronga’s Rainforest Trail as she starts to explore outdoors and perfect the art of swimming.

“Pygmy Hippos naturally spend a lot of time in the water, so the calf is already having a great time learning to swim next to mum and even practicing holding her breath underwater,” said Keeper, Renae Moss.

“We’ve started by filling the pond to about 40 cm deep, but we’ll gradually increase the depth of the water as the little one grows in confidence.”

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4_Pygmy Hippo Calf 4_Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credits: Paul Fahy / Taronga Zoo

Weighing about five kilograms at birth, the calf is growing at a healthy pace and has begun mouthing solid foods: “The calf is absolutely thriving. She’s putting on weight every day and she’s already got little rolls of fat around her neck,” Renae continued.

A vital addition to the region’s insurance population of Pygmy Hippos, the calf is the first born at Taronga since Kambiri in June 2010.

“Kambiri is proving to be an absolute natural as a mother. She’s very attentive and a great teacher, guiding the calf as she learns to swim and showing her what foods to eat,” said Renae.

“It’s also important for the calf to learn these natural mothering behaviors, as we hope she’ll grow up to be an excellent mum herself. With as few as 2000-3000 Pygmy Hippos remaining in the wild, every little calf is important.”

Native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is a solitary animal that generally only comes together for breeding. Little is known about them in the wild, with the majority of research recorded about the species learned from those cared for in zoos. The species is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

“These elusive animals continue to be threatened by loss of habitat as their forest homes are logged and converted to farmland at an alarming rate. They are also vulnerable to poaching, hunting and civil unrest and their wild populations continue to decline. Protecting their natural habitat is critical in ensuring the survival of wild populations and we can all help Pygmy Hippos by choosing paper and wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council,” Renae concluded.

More great pics below the fold!

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Oakland Zoo Cares for Orphaned Wallaroo

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A Wallaroo joey is currently being hand-raised by zookeepers at Oakland Zoo. The joey was orphaned when his mother passed away, earlier this month, from an infection.

The male joey is approximately 5 months old. He will be receiving round-the-clock nurturing and care until he is about 8 months of age, when a joey normally emerges from a mother’s pouch. At that age, he will be housed with other Wallaroos in the Zoo’s “Wild Australia” exhibit and learn to be independent.

The joey, yet to be named by his keepers, is bottle fed seven times per day with a high-grade baby formula manufactured in Australia called ‘wombaroo’. Bundled inside a makeshift pouch in a temperature-controlled room, he is also given water twice per day for hydration, as the inside of a mother’s pouch provides moisture and warmth.

The joey’s mother, named Maloo, was three years of age and a first-time mother. On March 1, while on exhibit, she had removed the joey from her pouch, an indication to zookeepers of a problem. Oakland Zoo veterinarians examined her, discovering that she was in need of antibiotics due to an infection. She was treated, but sadly died the following day.

“While staff is very sad about the passing of Maloo, we are working with other AZA facilities to be best prepared for the intense care required to successfully hand-raise a Wallaroo. We are keen to get to know the little joey and prepare him for life with the rest of the mob,” said Andrea Dougall, Assistant Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

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Keepers are taking the joey outside for sun twice per day, and zoo veterinarians are also closely monitoring the infant’s progress. In addition to weight monitoring, tail length, feet, and head size are measured during daily physical exams to ensure health and proper growth. This hands-on infant care will continue for the next three months, until he has grown enough to live independently.

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Endangered Foal Born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo recently announced the arrival of a female Przewalski’s Horse foal!

The filly was born February 22, 2017. She has been named Nuruu after the national park in Mongolia called ‘Khustain Nuruu’, which is one of the few parks where the Przewalski’s Horse can be found in the wild today.

Nuruu is the fourth foal born to experienced mother Suren and sire is Stan. “Both mother and foal are doing well. Nuruu is growing stronger every day and is nursing from her mother regularly across the day,” said Keeper Anthony Dorian.

“Suren is being a fantastic mother. She is very protective and nurturing of her foal and is ensuring none of the other herd members get too close.”

“Both Suren and Nuruu are developing a great bond and Nuruu generally stays by her mother’s side most of the day. She does however enjoy a gallop around the paddock in the mornings,” said Anthony.

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Nuruu is the first foal to be born for the year at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with more expected towards the end of the year. Taronga Western Plains Zoo has a successful history with its breeding program for Przewalski’s Horse. Since the breeding program commenced in 1982 the Zoo has welcomed over 35 foals.

In 1995, Taronga Western Plains Zoo was part of a re-introduction program that saw five Przewalski’s Horses sent from Dubbo to Mongolia to support a collaboration of Zoos releasing animals into the Gobi Desert to boost the declining wild population.

The Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, and as recently as 1996 was classified as extinct in the wild.

On average, Przewalski females are able to give birth at the age of three and have a gestation period of about 11 to 12 months. Their reproduction process is seasonal, and in Mongolia the season is towards the end of May, June, or July.

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Rare Macaque Born at Chester Zoo

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Zoo keepers at Chester Zoo have just released the first photos of a rare baby Sulawesi Crested Macaque born in January.

The tiny female baby, which keepers have named Amidala, is a welcome boost to the European endangered species breeding program that is working to protect Sulawesi's Macaques.  The species is listed as Critically Endangered, with fewer than 5,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

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Baby Sulawesi macaque Amidala born to mum Lisa at Chester Zoo (9)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

Sulawesi Crested Macaques are the rarest of the seven Macaque species living in rain forests on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. 

The illegal wildlife trade and large scale habitat loss due to illegal logging has pushed the Sulawesi Crested Macaque to the edge of extinction. They are also targets for poachers and are over-hunted for food. The species’ wild number is believed to have plummeted by around 80% in the last 30 years.

With Amidala’s arrival, there are now 18 Sulawesi Crested Macaques living at Chester Zoo. Amidala was born to parents Lisa and Mamassa.

Conservationists from Chester Zoo works with communities in Sulawesi to help protect forests and the diverse animal species living in them.

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Dog Fills In As Nanny To Endangered Tiger Triplets

33013402791_f7bbfc861c_oAfter they were ignored by their mother following their birth on February 3, three Malayan Tiger cubs have been cared for by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s nursery staff.  Now, the cubs’  care team includes the zoo’s four-legged, resident nursery companion and former nanny to several zoo babies: Blakely the Australian Shepherd Dog.  The six-year-old super-dog has been called into action to provide snuggling, comfort, and a body for the cubs to climb on.

“He’s more than just a large, warm pillow for the cubs.  Blakely is the adult in the room.  He teaches them proper Tiger etiquette by checking them when they’re getting too rough or aggressive,” said Dawn Strasser, head of Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery staff. “This is something that their human surrogates can’t do.”

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The cubs, named Chira (because she was treated by a chiropractor), Batari (which means goddess) and Izzy (which means promised by God,) would have received similar cues from their mom. Because being with her is not an option, Blakely is the next best thing.  His baby-rearing resume includes experience with Cheetahs, an Ocelot, a Takin, a Warthog, Wallabies, Skunks, and Bat-eared Foxes.  Last year, to recognize Blakely’s nurturing nature, the City of Cincinnati proclaimed October 19 to be Blakely Day!

“My team can feed and care for the Tiger cubs, but we can’t teach them the difference between a play bite and one that means ‘watch out’. So, that’s Blakely’s job,” said Strasser. “Just a little time with him at this early age will help them learn behaviors that will come in handy when they meet Tigers at other zoos in the future.” The cubs will move to the Zoo’s Cat Canyon this summer after they have received their last round of immunizations.

Malayan Tigers are Critically Endangered, with fewer than 250 breeding-age adults living in the wild.  Less than 100 of these Cats live in zoos, making these three cubs – and Blakely’s job as caregiver – incredibly important to the effort to save Malayan Tigers.

See more photos of Blakely and the Tiger cubs below.

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New Camel Calf Has the ‘Luck-Of-The-Irish’

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Milwaukee County Zoo visitors got quite a surprise on March 5 when they witnessed Bactrian Camel, Sanchi, give birth to her calf on exhibit! The handsome camel calf was named Patrick in honor of the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday!

Sanchi has given birth to several calves before, and she is quite accustomed to motherhood. This is the first offspring for dad, Stan. Accordingly, zookeepers are keeping Stan separate from Patrick until they can better assess his anticipated behavior near the calf. Big sister, AJ, also isn’t quite sure what to make of this new addition to the group, and has been keeping her distance for now.

The new guy weighed-in at about 100 pounds at birth and was walking less than two hours later. Zoo staff report that Patrick is extremely confident with loads of personality and was quite a handful during his first veterinary medical exam! Keepers are currently working on desensitizing Patrick to their touch, so his hooves, ears and other areas can be more easily examined by veterinarians as he grows.

For enrichment and as an outlet for his boisterous energy, keepers have been providing Patrick with “jolly balls”, commonly used with horses, which he very much likes to kick at. He is currently nursing from mom but will soon begin exploring solid foods, such as: hay, pellet mix, carrots and apples.

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The Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus) is a large, two-humped, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) uses the binomial name Camelus ferus for the wild Bactrian Camel and reserves Camelus bactrianus for the domesticated Bactrian Camel. (Their name comes from the ancient historical region of Bactria.)

There are currently three species of camels: the one-humped Dromedary, the domestic two-humped Bactrian Camel, and the wild Bactrian Camel. Wild Bactrian Camels are listed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, primarily due to hunting and development associated with the mining industry in China and Mongolia.

Bactrian Camels are diurnal, sleeping in the open at night and foraging for food during the day. They are primarily herbivorous. They are able to eat plants that are dry, prickly, salty or bitter, and can ingest virtually any kind of vegetation.

Gestation lasts around 13 months, with most young being born from March through April. One or, occasionally, two calves are produced, and the female can give birth to a new calf every other year. Young Bactrian Camels are precocial, being able to stand and run shortly after birth, and are fairly large at an average birth weight of 36 kg (79 lb). They are nursed for about 1.5 years. The young calf will stay with its mother for three to five years, until it reaches sexual maturity, and often serves to help raise subsequent generations for those years.

The Milwaukee County Zoo hopes its Bactrian Camel herd can serve as ambassadors for the declining wild camel population.

Although the schedule may fluctuate, Patrick is usually on exhibit for several hours beginning at about 10 a.m. daily. He tends to be most active in the morning, so that is an ideal time for visitors to see him. The Zoo encourages visitors to stop by the outdoor Camel Yard and meet the new guy, Patrick!