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

Cheetah cubs on exhibit April 2017 SM (17)

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. 

Cheetah cubs on exhibit April 2017 SM (9)
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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Burgers’ Zoo Welcomes Banteng Bull Calf

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A Banteng calf was born at Burgers’ Zoo on April 12! The little bull is healthy and weighed-in at about 15 kilos (33 lbs.). Although he is currently sporting a brown coat, within his first year, it will eventually change to a black color.

The Banteng (Bos javanicus), also known as ‘tembadau’, is a species of wild cattle native to Southeast Asia.

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4_LI9A4686Photo Credits: Burgers' Zoo

Banteng have been domesticated in several places in Southeast Asia, and there are around 1.5 million domestic Banteng (called Bali cattle). These animals are used as working animals and for their meat. Banteng have also been introduced to Northern Australia, where they have established stable feral populations.

The Banteng is similar in size to domesticated cattle, measuring 1.55 to 1.65 m (5 ft 1 in to 5 ft 5 in) tall at the shoulder and 2.45–3.5 m (8 ft 0 in–11 ft 6 in) in total length, including a tail 60 cm (2.0 ft) long. Body weight can range from 400 to 900 kg (880 to 1,980 lb).

The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, allowing the sexes to be readily distinguished by color and size. In mature males, the short-haired coat is blue-black or dark chestnut in color, while in females and young it is chestnut with a dark dorsal stripe. Both males and females have white stockings on their lower legs, a white rump, a white muzzle, and white spots above the eyes.

Their build is similar to that of domesticated cattle, but with a comparatively slender neck and small head, and a ridge on the back above the shoulders. The horns of females are short and tightly curved, pointing inward at the tips, while those of males arc upwards, growing 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) long, and being connected by a horn-like bald patch on the forehead.

Banteng prefer to live in sparse forests where they feed on grasses, bamboo, fruit, leaves, and young branches. They are generally active both night and day. But in places where humans are common, they adopt a nocturnal schedule. Banteng tend to gather in herds of two to 30 members.

The wild Banteng is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The populations on the Asian mainland have decreased by about 80% in the last decades. The total number of wild Banteng is estimated to about 5,000-8,000 animals. Reasons for the population decline are: reduction of habitat, hunting, hybridization with domesticated cattle, and infections with cattle diseases.

The most important stronghold for the species is Java, with the biggest populations in Ujung Kulon National Park and Baluran National Park.


Orangutan Mom Welcomes First Born Son

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A beautiful male Sumatran Orangutan was born at Basel Zoo on March 4 and has been given the name ‘Ombak’. Ombak is a Malay word that means ‘wave’ or ‘surge’.

According to keepers, the infant’s 17-year-old mother, Kila, has become a very caring parent since the birth of her child. Ombak is Kila’s first child, but the role of mother is not a new one to her: her mother died when she was nine years old and Kila “adopted” her then two-year-old sister Maia (10), who now also lives at Basel Zoo.

Kila currently shares her enclosure with male Orangutan Bagus (15), who is showing a friendly interest but maintaining a respectful distance from her and her child. Kila has also been isolating herself in confusing situations, such as when the enclosure is being cleaned. Whether or not Bagus is Ombak’s father remains unclear: other candidates are Vendel (17) and Budi (13).

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4_orang_utan_kila_mit_jungtier_ombag_ZO55304Photo Credits: Basel Zoo

Kila arrived at Basel Zoo from Leipzig in 2012. When she first arrived at the Zoo, keepers recall she was a “little minx: nothing could frighten her and she was always the first to try out something new”. However, as soon as her new son, Ombak, was born her temper changed completely. She is now extremely cautious when she heads out into the outdoor enclosure, and her forays are only very short. She has also become a picky eater, whereas before she ate absolutely everything that was put in front of her. Despite her reticence, Kila likes to show her baby off to the Zookeepers. She even lets Zoo vets take a closer look at Ombak, but only if she is given a reward.

Baby Ombak is still entirely dependent on his mother and clings steadfastly to her fur. This clinging reflex is vital to the survival of newborn Orangutans. In the wild, Orangutans move about high up in the tops of tropical rainforests, and mothers need their hands to climb.

Orangutans are loners, so juveniles cannot learn from other members of the group, as Chimpanzees or Gorillas do. Their mothers are their only source of knowledge. Ombak will be reliant on, and suckled by, his mother for six to seven years, and only after this period is over can Kila become pregnant again. This is one of the longest gaps between births of all mammal species.

Ombak and Kila live with Vendel, Revital (17), Ketawa (4), Budi, Bagus and Maia who all came to Basel in 2012 as new arrivals after the renovation of the Zoo’s monkey house (except for Ketawa who was born at Basel Zoo).

Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii) are currently classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN. The species is already extinct in many regions of Sumatra. There are currently just 14,000 individual animals still living in the forests to the north of the island.

Basel Zoo supports an Orangutan conservation project in Borneo with 40,000 US dollars a year. The Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme aims to maintain the last rainforest areas in northeastern Malaysia. The diverse flora and fauna should be protected, including the Orangutans. The project integrates the local population’s interests into its nature and species conservation activities. Basel Zoo has supported the project since 2010.

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Litter of Seven Otters Born at Wingham Wildlife Park

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On March 16, a female Smooth-coated Otter, living at Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent, UK, gave birth to seven beautiful babies.

The new mum, Pong, originally arrived at Wingham Wildlife Park in August 2011, from the Rare Species Conservation Centre, a small zoological park on the outskirts of Sandwich in Kent, which the team at Wingham Wildlife Park took over and re-branded as Sandwich Wildlife Park in January 2017.

Pong is now almost seven-years-old, and this is her second litter of pups, with her first litter having been moved to other zoos in the UK, France and even the Czech Republic. Just like the last litter of pups, the father is nine-year-old Bob, whose birthday is just one day after the babies on March 17.

Bob was named by the park's Facebook followers, along with his other girlfriend, “Sheila”. Bob arrived at Wingham Wildlife Park in January 2013 from the Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Southern Vietnam.

At present, there are 17 males and 16 females in Europe, and with many of these coming from a single pair imported in to the UK from Cambodia several years ago (Pong’s parents), more individuals, which are at least half unrelated to the rest of the European population, is once again good to see.

The park looks forward to Bob hopefully breeding with Sheila in the future, who came from Zoo Negara in Malaysia which would give some completely unrelated offspring in the European genepool. With 10 of these individuals living at Wingham Wildlife Park at present, this gives the park the largest collection of Smooth-coated Otters in Europe.

Having babies is always very exciting for the staff at Wingham Wildlife Park, and the keepers for those animals are always very proud when the babies are born and are growing well and looking healthy.

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4_20170413_082621(0)Photo Credits: Markus Wilder/ Wingham Wildlife Park (Image 2: Hollie Wetherill, Head of Carnivores at Wingham Wildlife Park, holding one of the pups)

On April 13, the babies were removed for just a short time from Pong to allow the head of carnivores, head keeper, and curator of the park to weigh the pups, give them a visual health check, microchip them and find out what sex they are. In the end, it turned out that the babies consisted of two females and five males: making the sex ratio in Europe almost equal. At four-weeks-old, especially with one mum rearing seven hungry mouths, their weights came up between 390g and 500g, with most of them weighing just over 390g, with one extra hungry baby in the bunch.

Tony Binskin, the owner of Wingham Wildlife Park said of the arrival, “It has been a couple of years since we last had baby Otters, so this was a really nice sight to see! Even though this is quite a few mouths to feed, we know from past experience that Pong is a great mum, and have no worries about her.”

At four-weeks-old, they now all have their eyes open, however they are still far from independent so it will still be a little while before they start to venture outside. For now, they are spending all their time curled up in a tight ball of babies in their nest box, which Pong had been preparing for a few days before giving birth.

When the babies start to venture outside it will be an exciting time for the staff at the park, as Tony finished by saying: “Baby Otters are definitely some of the most interesting animals in the whole park. It is always a very tense moment however when mum first teaches the babies about the water, as she picks them up, one by one, and dunks them in the pond. Just like the babies, we’re always at the side of the enclosure for this experience, holding our breaths until the swimming lesson is over!”

The Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is the only extant representative of the genus Lutrogale. This Otter species is found in most of the Indian Subcontinent and eastwards to Southeast Asia, with a disjunct population in Iraq. As its name indicates, the fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other Otters.

The Smooth-coated Otter is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their range and population are shrinking due to loss of wetland habitat, contamination of waterways by pesticides, and poaching.

Park staff encourages fans of the new pups to check their Facebook page for updates about when these beautiful animals will start to venture outside and make their public debut: https://www.facebook.com/WinghamWildlifePark


Bunny Has a Baby Just In Time For Easter

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We normally think of Bunnies at Easter and Reindeer at Christmas.  But on April 12, a Reindeer named Bunny at the Brookfield Zoo delivered a fawn just a few days before Easter.

This is the first Reindeer birth at the zoo since 1980.  Bunny and the sire, Karl, arrived at the Brookfield Zoo in 2015 and 2016, respectively. 

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Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo



The male fawn weighed about seven pounds at birth, but is expected to grow rapidly, fueled by his mothers’ rich milk.  Within just one hour of birth, the fawn was up and walking.  A one-day-old Reindeer fawn can outrun a human.

Reindeer are pregnant for six-and-a-half to eight months. Fawns are born with dark fur that acts as camouflage and absorbs heat from the sun, an important feature for a species that lives in cold climates.  By the time the fawn is a few months old, it will shed its dark fur as lighter-colored fur grows in.  Little antler buds will also begin to develop in a few months.  In most Reindeer populations, both sexes grow antlers.

Reindeer, called Caribou in North America, live in Norway, Finland, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, Canada, and a few other locations. However, herds have been reported to be smaller in size than usual. This apparent decline has been linked to climate change.  There are 14 subspecies of Reindeer, including two that have gone extinct.  Reindeer are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


Fiona the Hippo Moves to the Big Pool

20170408-DSC_0084lo-635x440Fiona, the Hippo born six weeks prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo, is making steady progress under the watchful eyes of her care team.  Fans around the world follow Fiona’s journey toward health and independence, and she has become an internet sensation.

You first learned of Fiona’s premature birth here on ZooBorns.  Because Fiona was born early, she was unable to stand on her own and nurse like a full-term baby would.  As a result, her mother, Bibi, was not able to provide care.  That’s when zoo keepers stepped in to assist the baby, who weighed 29 pounds – less than half the weight of a normal newborn Hippo.

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Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

Since then, keepers have helped Fiona overcome many developmental hurdles, including learning to walk, swim, and nurse.  Fiona now weights 150 pounds, and drinks more than 2.5 gallons of formula per day.

Fiona is now mastering the art of navigating deeper waters. Hippos don’t actually swim – they float, sink, and push off the bottom with their feet, breaking the surface to take in a breath of air.  So far, Fiona has been swimming in “kiddie pools” of increasing depth.  Last week, zoo keepers introduced Fiona to the indoor pools used by her parents.  The water levels will be gradually increased as Fiona becomes more confident.

The most common question asked of zoo keepers is “When will Fiona be reunited with her parents?”  The zoo staff explains that this is a gradual process that depends entirely on the Hippos’ reaction to each other.  Because Fiona and her mother Bibi were not together during the first two weeks of Fiona’s life, they did not form a strong natural bond and Bibi likely does not recognize Fiona as her offspring.  That doesn't mean that Henry and Bibi will not accept Fiona into the bloat (as a group of Hippos is called).  But introducing a 150-pound baby to two adults who weigh more than 3,000 pounds each will be approached carefully.

For now, zoo keepers allow Fiona to interact with her parents across a wire mesh barrier.  The Hippos' reactions have ranged from curiosity to indifference.  The staff expects the introduction process to be slow and completely guided by concerns for Fiona’s health and well-being.

 


La Palmyre Welcomes Quad of Ring-tailed Lemurs

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La Palmyre Zoo, in France, recently welcomed four new Ring-tailed Lemurs!

The infants were born to three different mothers between March 3 and March 12. The sexes of the infants are yet-to-be-determined, but Zoo Keepers report that the youngsters (which includes a set of twins) are keeping their families busy and doing fantastic! 

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4_MG_0144Photo Credits: Florence Perroux/ La Palmyre Zoo

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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