Collared Lemur Baby Arrives for ‘Lemur Week’

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Ten years ago, Cotswold Wildlife Park’s interactive Lemur exhibit, “Madagascar”, officially opened to the public. On the exhibit’s anniversary, the Park’s Primate team is thrilled to announce the birth of a Collared Lemur, bringing the total numbers of Lemur breeding successes to 55 since the Madagascar exhibit officially opened a decade ago. Visitors can see the tiny newborn in the exhibit it shares with a troop of 18 other free-roaming Lemurs and nine Madagascan Birds.

Females are only sexually receptive for just two or three days a year, so the window of opportunity for males to father offspring is small. After a gestation period of approximately 165 days, Lemur mum, Anais, gave birth. The baby’s father is, Varika.

Natalie Horner, Deputy Section Head of Primates, said, “On the 5th of May, we discovered that our female Collared Lemur, Anais, had given birth that very morning. Anais is an experienced mum, so did brilliantly during the delivery and was already cleaning the baby up ready for its first feed. Lemur babies only weigh around 80g when first born but are able to cling to their mum’s fur and clamber around to find the best feeding position. At the moment, the baby is spending most of the time feeding and sleeping. Apart from upping her daily diet, we don’t interfere and leave everything in mum’s capable hands – just observe from afar to make sure both mother and baby are bonding and doing well”.

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4_Collared Lemur baby with mum Anais (DR4)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

To highlight the plight of the world’s most endangered Lemurs, Cotswold Wildlife Park will dedicate 26th May – 3rd June 2018 to ‘Lemur Week’. Its aim is to raise awareness and funds for the Park’s conservation projects helping to save the world’s most threatened Lemurs from extinction.

As part of ‘Lemur Week’, visitors will have the chance to name the new Collared Lemur baby, as well as take part in a variety of Lemur-themed activities. Read more about the Park’s conservation projects here: https://www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk/conservation/.

The Collared Lemur (Eulemur collaris) is found in rainforests in a small range in the southeastern tip of Madagascar. Like most species of Lemur, it is arboreal, and like other brown Lemurs, this species is cathemeral (active during the day and the night). They are known to feed on a variety of plant species.

The Collared Lemur is currently listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and it is threatened primarily by habitat loss.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Four Markhor Calves for Los Angeles Zoo

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The Los Angeles Zoo excitedly shared news of the birth of four Tadjik Markhor calves. Two calves arrived the first week of May, and two more followed the next week!

The new babies can be seen in the zoo habitat with the rest of their herd.

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The Tadjik Markhor (Capra falconeri heptneri), also known as the Bukharan Markhor, is an endangered goat-antelope. It is native to Tajikistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and possibly also Afghanistan. The animal is one of about five subspecies of Markhor.

The Markhor (Capra falconeri), also known as the “Screw Horn Goat”, is a large species of wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern and central Pakistan, Northern India, southern Tajikistan, southern Uzbekistan and in the Himalayas.

The species, as a whole, was classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, until 2015 when it was downgraded to “Near Threatened”. Numbers have increased by an estimated 20% for the last decade. The Markhor is notably known as the national animal of Pakistan.


Greater One-horned Rhino Born at Chester Zoo

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A rare Greater One-horned Rhino calf was born May 3 at Chester Zoo.

After 16 months gestation and a 20-minute labor, the male calf arrived to mum, Asha (11-years old), and dad, Beni (13).

The Zoo captured the birth on CCTV and footage shows the soon-to-be-named calf getting to his feet to take his first wobbly steps before feeding for the first time.

Zoo conservationists have hailed the birth of the “precious, bolshie newcomer” as a big boost to the endangered species breeding programme, with the Greater One-horned Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) listed as “Vulnerable” to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The animals are threatened in the wild by the illegal poaching of their horns and habitat loss.

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4_Rare greater one-horned rhino born at Chester Zoo (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals, said, “Asha is a superb mum and delivered her little bundle of joy in very relaxed fashion – almost lying down completely to give birth.”

“Greater One-horned Rhinos are a vulnerable species and every new calf is ever so special. This is a momentous new arrival.”  

Rowlands continued, “Rhinos around the world are under increasing pressure due largely to the senseless poaching of their horn. We need more people to be aware of their plight and join us in the fight to end the slaughter and ensure these magnificent animals are around for the future. Asha’s precious new arrival, which is already developing into quite a bolshie little character, will hopefully go some way to keeping rhinos and the surrounding issues in the spotlight.”

Chester Zoo is part of a breeding programme coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) that is focused on sustaining the Greater One-horned Rhino population.

Mike Jordan, Collections Director, added, “At one stage, the Greater One-horned Rhino was hunted almost to extinction and there were less than 200 in the wild. Thankfully, steps to protect them were taken just in time, and today there are around 3,500 in India and Nepal.”

“That number though is still desperately small, and they continue to face threats to their long-term survival. As with the rhinos in Africa, they are targeted for their horns by poachers and much of the land where they once lived has been taken over by humans. It’s therefore vitally important that we act for wildlife to ensure the population doesn’t dip to critically low levels again.”

More great pics, below the fold!

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Four Mischievous Meerkats Born at Chester Zoo

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Four mischievous Meerkat pups have been born at Chester Zoo.

The quadruplets have been tucked away in their den since being born on March 26, but have started exploring their habitat for the very first time.

Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (5)
Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (5)
Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (5)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

The new arrivals, which have not yet been sexed or named by keepers, were born to first-time parents Huskie and Beagle.

Lead keeper Kirsten Wicks said, “Parents Huskie and Beagle have been minor celebrities since they appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Life of The Zoo last month. Visitors have been really keen to know how they’re getting on, so it’s amazing to be able to share the great news about their new arrivals.”

“This is their first litter and the pups are doing incredibly well, they have already began learning how to forage for food and are spending lots of time grooming and playing together. It’s the start of a growing, happy new mob!” Wicks said.

Meerkats are native to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Angola and inhabit open country and sparse woody scrublands. Most live in underground burrows in groups of about 30 individuals called a gang or a mob. They mark their territories with scent glands, which are located below their tails. 

Expert diggers, Meerkats can close their ears to keep dirt out while excavating. The dark patches around their eyes help reduce glare on the sunny African savannah. They feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates. At this time, Meerkats are not threatened and are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the quadruplets below.

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Rare Owl Chick Raised By Foster Parents

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Northern Spotted Owls are one of the rarest birds in Canada, with only about 30 individuals remaining in the country. That’s why the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program is thrilled to announce the successful hatching and release of a Northern Spotted Owl chick to foster parents at the facility.

Researchers collected and incubated an egg which had been laid on March 11. Nicknamed “Egg B,” the egg was monitored closely over the 32-day incubation period. The chick took 85 hours to break out of its egg, emerging on April 15.

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ChickB-18 Newly HatchedPhoto Credit: Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program

Staff at the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program hand-reared the chick, now referred to as “Chick B,” for the first 10 days of its life to increase the chick’s chances of survival.  The chick remained safe and warm, with constant care from staff 24 hours a day. The chick’s specific nutrition and temperature requirements were met as it grew and developed over the 10-day period. Owlets lack the ability to regulate their own body temperature.

After 10 days of round-the-clock care, Chick B was placed in the nest of an experienced Northern Spotted Owl pair named Scud and Shania who reside at the facility. You can see Chick B and its foster parents in the nest on the live stream below or by clicking here. The webcam is hosted by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program in partnership with the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program.

The mission of the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program is to breed Northern Spotted Owls in a captive breeding program for eventual release into over 300,000 hectares of protected old growth forests in hopes that the species will re-establish itself and thrive.  Located in British Columbia, the Breeding Program began in 2007 with a founding population of six adult Spotted Owls. There are currently 20 Spotted Owls residing at the breeding facility, including four breeding pairs. The Program's target is to house 10 breeding pairs by 2020, and release 10-20 offspring each year for the next 15-20 years. 

See more photos of Chick B below.

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Shedd Waits Three Years for New Penguin Chick

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Shedd Aquarium welcomed a new Magellanic Penguin chick on May 12, following the breeding season in late March. This is the first Penguin chick born at the aquarium since Diego in 2015.

The newest arrival will stay in the nest with the parents, who share brooding and feeding responsibilities equally, until around 75 to 90 days-of-age. After one year, a genetic test will determine whether the chick is a boy or a girl. Around that time, the chick will also be given a name.

The chick weighed 95 grams at birth. At two to three months, the chick is expected to reach comparable height and weight of an adult penguin, while preparing to molt and acquire their adult feathers. Animal care staff will weigh the bird daily to ensure continuous growth as a sign of successful rearing. According to Aquarium staff, the weight of the chick on day two was 103 grams, which is consistent with the gain anticipated at this early stage.

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Penguin trainers at Shedd will continue to monitor the chick for activity, vocalizations, hydration levels and more. Technology plays a big role in this process, as sensors can track temperature and humidity in the habitat, and cameras allow for off-site screening which allows for fewer disturbances to the natural process of raising chicks.

Before any hatchings, animal care staff at Shedd Aquarium use candling, the process of holding a strong light to an egg, to observe inside the egg to determine if it is fertile, track growth, check for steady movements and more. Trainers start the process at seven days after an egg is laid and continuously monitor progress week-to-week.

The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is native to South America and breeds in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil.

Its nearest relatives are the African, Humboldt Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin.

The Magellanic Penguin was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted the birds in 1520. The species is currently listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.

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Zoo Celebrates First Blue-billed Curassow Chick

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Nashville Zoo’s avian staff welcomed their first Curassow chick on May 5.

After 30 days of incubation, Nashville Zoo keepers and veterinary staff assisted the chick in hatching. Keepers opted to assist the chick due to inactivity during the second day, after its initial pip in the shell membrane. Keepers noticed the shell membrane was dry instead of wet, and they decided intervention was necessary.

“This is a very valuable animal, and we need to do everything we can to help it survive,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo Avian Area Supervisor. “This egg hatching is significant because Curassows are critically endangered in the wild.”

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4_41137968845_508862919c_oPhoto Credits: Kelsey White/Nashville Zoo

There are only 54 Blue-billed Curassows in zoos across the country and only about 750 in the wild. The population has been in decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

This is the first chick born from breeding pair, Albert (3) and Victoria (5), who both arrived in Nashville in 2015.

The Curassows at Nashville Zoo have laid eggs in the past. However, the eggs were either not viable or the female knocked the eggs out of the nest.

“She [Victoria] has no idea that she’s supposed to sit on the eggs,” Norris said. “We think it’s because she’s young and things haven’t kicked in yet."

Nashville Zoo's avian staff is currently working with Houston Zoo and the Species Survival Plan on where to best place this chick.

The Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti) is a species of bird in the family Cracidae, which includes the Chachalacas, Guans, and Curassows.

The bird is native to Colombia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. The species is threatened by habitat loss and is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN.

Blue-billed Curassows are believed to live in the same areas in Colombia as Cotton-top Tamarins, a primate species that was recently introduced in the Nashville Zoo's new Expedition Peru exhibit. The Zoo is contributing to the conservation project “Proyecto Titi” that benefits sustaining the Cotton-top Tamarin population, which could potentially also benefit the Blue-billed Curassows with the installation of camera traps to monitor the species.

“We’re learning how best to care for them,” Norris said. “Right now, this species is just so critical, we basically are just keeping them alive in general until we can find a solution in the wild.”


Tulsa Zoo Waits Five Years for Toucan Chicks

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The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the hatching of two Toucan chicks.

The pair was recently observed inside their nest box at the zoo’s Conservation Center. They are the first Green Aracaris to have hatched at the zoo since 2013.

According to keepers, the chicks will fledge (develop feathers) at around five-weeks-old. However, the parents will continue to care for and feed the chicks until they are around six to eight-weeks-old.

This hatching at the Tulsa Zoo was in conjunction with the Green Aracaris SSP (Species Survival Plan®), which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions across the nation.

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3_32257422_10151038533294996_637756090305478656_nPhoto Credits: Katie Story & Karen Guess/ Tulsa Zoo

The Green Aracari (Pteroglossus viridis) is a Toucan found in the lowland forests of northeastern South America, in the northeast Amazon Basin, the Guianas, and the eastern Orinoco River drainage of Venezuela.

At a max size of about 12–16 inches long and an adult weight of around 110–160 grams (3.9–5.7 oz.), it is one of the smallest members of the Toucan family.

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the species as “Least Concern”.


More Sunshine for Denver Zoo’s Orangutans

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Denver Zoo’s six-week-old Sumatran Orangutan has been enjoying the warmer spring weather. Keepers have seen the little female several times in the outdoor exhibit, clinging tightly to mom.

The new baby was born March 25 to mom, Nias, and dad, Berani. The infant's unique name, Cerah, means “bright” in Indonesian and is often used to refer to sunshine.

(ZooBorns shared news and pics of Cerah’s arrival in an article from April: “Denver Zoo Celebrates the ‘Sunshine’ of Spring”)

Mom, Nias, is 29-years-old and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2005. Berani is 25-years-old and arrived in 2017. The two were paired together under recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® Program, which oversees the population management of select species within AZA member institutions and enhances conservation of those species in the wild. The coupling proved to be a fast success, as Nias and Berani met in July of 2017 and conceived Cerah less than a month later.

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4_32271308_10156550044412122_7603192785188945920_oPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the world’s most endangered great apes. It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of palm oil plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products, throughout the world, from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

The species currently has an official classification of “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.


Prague Zoo’s New Aardvark on Exhibit with Mom

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Prague Zoo announced that visitors might be able to catch a glimpse of the zoo’s new baby Aardvark. The cub was born on April 22 and will now be on-exhibit, with mom, for a few hours each day.

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4_32191933_1697232347027355_7189550399081152512_oPhoto Credits: Prague Zoo

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. Elephant Shrews, Hyraxes, and Elephants are among the closest living relatives of the Aardvark.

It has a long pig-like snout, which is used to sniff out food. It is a nocturnal feeder and subsists mainly on ants and termites, which it will dig out of their hills using its sharp claws and powerful legs.

The Aardvark also digs to create burrows in which to live and rear its young.

After a gestation of about seven months, females generally give birth to one cub. At around nine weeks of age, the youngster is able to leave the burrow to accompany mother in search of food.

Although they are not considered common anywhere in Africa, their large range allows them to maintain sufficient numbers. The IUCN currently classifies the Aardvark as “Least Concern”; however, they are a species in a precarious situation. Since they are so dependent on such a specific food source, if a problem arises with the population of termites, the species as a whole would be affected drastically.