Virginia Living Museum’s Hatchlings on 24/7 “EgretCam”

1_Virginia Living Museum Snowy Egret 13

The Virginia Living Museum’s Coastal Plains Aviary is now home to four Snowy Egret hatchlings! The quad emerged between July 14 and 18, and they are expected to stay in the nest for about four weeks.

Both Egret parents have been working diligently to feed their young and guard the nest. The parents feed the babies a mixture of flies and fish. 

2_Virginia Living Museum Snowy Egret 15_edited-1

3_Virginia Living Museum Snowy Egret 5

4_Virginia Living Museum Snowy Egret 2Photo Credits: of Karl Rebenstorf

The Museum, in partnership with local television affiliate WVEC ABC13, is providing a unique way for fans of the Egrets to get a “birds-eye” view of their lives. You can watch their nest in real-time video stream, 24/7! Just go to the Virginia Living Museum’s webpage: http://thevlm.org/  --or-- follow this direct link: http://thevlm.org/explore/virginia-life/animals/snowy-egret-babies/ 

The Snowy Egret is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar ‘Old World’ Little Egret, which established a foothold in the Bahamas. At one time, the beautiful plumes of the Snowy Egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women’s hats. This demand reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels. Now protected in the United States by law, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird’s population has rebounded.

Snowy Egrets are permanent residents in most of South America and Central America. In the United States, they are often residents along the Atlantic coast north to Virginia Beach, VA, along the Gulf Coast, and along the Pacific lowlands from central California southward. During breeding season, they wander north along the Atlantic flyway between the lower Chesapeake Bay and coastal Rhode Island, and up the Pacific Coast to northern California. Snowy Egrets also breed in the lower Mississippi Valley westward into eastern Texas.

More beautiful pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Virginia Living Museum’s Hatchlings on 24/7 “EgretCam”" »


‘Punk-Rock’ Primates Born at Cotswold Wildlife Park

1_Cotton-top with parent looking at camera

It has been fourteen years since Cotton-top Tamarins produced young at Cotswold Wildlife Park, so keepers were thrilled when their newest female gave birth to twins. The striking infants were born to first-time parents and have been named Tilly and Tammy. 

2.2_Cotton top Tamarin baby close up

2_Cottons head tilt

3_Cotton twins on parentPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) are considered to be one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates and are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), making them one of South America’s rarest monkeys. Rampant deforestation and gold mining have destroyed an estimated 95% of their natural habitat. In the wild, these exceptionally rare creatures are restricted to a tiny corner of north-west Colombia. Approximately 6,000 individuals remain in the wild, which is a devastatingly low figure, considering their numbers once ranged between 20,000 to 30,000 in the 1960s and 1970s.

The twin’s new father Johnny (named for punk star Johnny Rotten) is an important individual for the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). He has an impressively pure bloodline, so these new births are considered significant additions to the EEP, helping to ensure the genetic diversity of this rare and wonderful species.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, “This is the first time we have bred this species for many years, and the keepers are delighted at the progress of the youngsters so far!”

Each member of the family plays a specific role when it comes to rearing the young. The dominant male spends the most time carrying the infants. The mother carries them for the first week of life, and then holds them only to suckle. Females are pregnant for six months and the babies weigh about 15 per cent of their mother’s body weight, which is equivalent to a nine-stone woman giving birth to two ten-pound babies.

Cotton-top Tamarins boast a fantastic crest of long white hair, like a mane of white cotton. The white fur can be raised and lowered, creating a punk-like fan display. Cotton-top Tamarins also have more than 40 vocalizations used to communicate everything from the discovery of food to the approach of predators. 

More incredible pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "‘Punk-Rock’ Primates Born at Cotswold Wildlife Park" »


Dallas Zoo Welcomes Iconic Texas Hatchlings

1_11792144_10153085148676819_6542143642809058258_o

Dallas Zoo recently welcomed their first ever clutch of Texas Horned Lizard hatchlings – 39 babies in all! Also known as “horny toads”, Texas Horned Lizards, were once quite common, but are now disappearing.

This threatened species has vanished in East and Central Texas, and is now decreasing in North Texas, too. While these babies may be only the size of a penny now, they’re helping ensure the survival of this Texas icon.

2_11782348_10153085148681819_4705251968309871630_o

3_11222491_10153085148686819_2943863045877479041_oPhoto Credits: Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo has taken an active role in the protection of this threatened reptile. The Dallas Zoo's Texas Horned Lizard Conservation page (http://dzmconservation.wix.com/texashornedlizards#!) provides great information and resources.

Horned Lizards, also known as "horny toads", represent a unique group of lizards that inhabit the southern United States and northern Mexico. The Texas Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, is perhaps the most recognizable species of Horned Lizard. It is the largest North American native species of Horned Lizard (Family: Phrynosomatidae) and has the widest distribution of any other Horned Lizard species in the United States.

Once extremely common, they are now in decline throughout much of their range. The Texas Horned Lizard is perhaps the most threatened member of this group, with estimated population declines of greater than 30% across its range (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and northern Mexico) and even higher in Texas. Populations have disappeared in East and Central Texas, and are decreasing in North Texas as well.

Staff of the Dallas Zoo is studying the life history of Texas Horned Lizards at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch is 4,700 acre preserve located in Fisher County, Texas. By collecting lizard life history data (including but not limited to population densities, habitat preferences, diet, sex ratios, activity patterns, etc.) they hope to shed valuable light on the ecology of this threatened native Texan.


Pygmy Hippo Calf Gets in the Swim

Obi-web-620x380
A baby Pygmy Hippopotamus born in early June at the Melbourne Zoo is learning how to swim under the watchful eye of his mother Petre.

Obi-web2-620x380
Pygmy hippo calf - Mark KeenanPhoto Credit:  Mark Keenan
 

Keepers named the calf Obi, which means “heart” in a Nigerian language. You first met Obi here on ZooBorns last month.

Obi started out swimming in the nursery pool, which is shallow, but quickly graduated to the deep end of the exhibit’s main pool.  Petre is a very attentive mother and makes sure that Obi never strays too far.

Weighing only about 11 pounds at birth, Obi has gained about a pound each day since he was born. 

Pygmy Hippos are classified as Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Because they live in dense rain forests in western Africa, not much is known about the wild population.

See more photos of Obi below.

Continue reading "Pygmy Hippo Calf Gets in the Swim" »


The Power of Fluff: Twin Red Pandas Born at Zoo Boise

11745632_10153411505368116_7851586432407812940_nTwin Red Panda cubs born on June 18 at Zoo Boise made their media debut last week.  The cubs, a male and a female, are the fifth litter born to parents Dolly and Winston.10403119_10153411505353116_818709926087821928_n

11737847_10153411505358116_4137842135416914762_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Boise

Just five weeks old, the cubs still spend most of their time in the den with Dolly, but will soon being to emerge for short periods of time.  The cubs have not yet been named.

Native to the eastern Himalaya mountains, Red Pandas live in forested foothills at relatively high elevations.  They feed primarily on bamboo, but also eat berries, flowers, roots, mushrooms, eggs, and small birds.   

Red Pandas typically breed only once per year, usually in January or February, and cubs are born in June or July.  The cubs remain with their mother in a hollow tree for several months before emerging to explore the forest.

Because their wild habitat is vanishing due to deforestation, Red Panda populations are in decline.  In some areas of their range, poaching is a significant threat.  Red Pandas are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Zoo breeding programs like the Species Survival Plan aim to maintain a high level of genetic diversity in zoo populations to help preserve this species for the future.


Fruit Bat Pups Hangin’ Out at Zoo Boise

BoiseFruitBatPup_1

Zoo Boise is excited to share photos of their two new Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat pups.

The two elusive boys are currently staying close to their mothers, which makes photography of the newborns a bit more challenging.

BoiseFruitBatPup_2

BoiseFruitBatPup_3

Photo Credits: Zoo Boise

Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bats are important tree pollinators. For example, the baobab tree depends on bat pollination for survival. As the bat reaches into a flower to get nectar, pollen rubs onto their foreheads. This pollen is left on the next flower they visit.

Fruit Bats (or Megabats) constitute the suborder Megachiroptera, and its only family Pteropodidae of the order Chiroptera. They are native to Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, and are represented by 166 species. In North America, about twelve species of Megachiroptera are managed in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions. These bats can be divided into three different groups, based on ability to echolocate and roosting behaviors: 1) megabats with audible echolocation; 2) megabats that cannot echolocate and roost in dense cover in small groups; and 3) megabats that cannot echolocate and roost in larger groups in tree canopies.

In North America, two species of Rousette Fruit Bats are commonly housed in zoological collections: the Egyptian Fruit Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) and the Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat (Rousettus lanosus). These fruit bats are nocturnal and feed predominately on fruit, flower resources and leaves. In captivity, Rousette Fruit Bats will also consume mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). In the wild, Rousette Fruit Bats roost in large crowded colonies, in caves. These cave-dwelling bats have a rudimentary echolocation system, based on audible tongue clicking for navigation. When feeding, these bats rely on vision and sense of smell for locating food resources.

The Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Another New Addition for Gorilla Troop at Zoo Basel

1_11745951_894160773954997_8148418623504408677_n

On July 16, Zoo Basel witnessed the arrival of another new Western Lowland Gorilla. It is the third birth for mom, Faddama, and it is the second offspring for dad, M'Tongé.

M'Tongé’s first child was born in May to mother, Joas, and was Zoo Basel’s first Gorilla birth in a decade. 

4_11227944_894160780621663_1385378846442963356_n

3_11236471_894160783954996_7518343003559301104_n

2_11742718_894160777288330_5266875776503188310_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Basel

New mom, Faddama (age 32), is already a great-grandmother. Her son, Viatu (age 17), resides in Frankfurt. He is not only a father of four but grandfather of two, as well.

Aside from Faddama and her new baby, the troop of Gorillas at Zoo Basel consists of: M'Tongé (age 16), Joas (26), Mobali (son of Joas and M'Tongé), Zungu (13), Goma (56), and Quarta (47).  Quarta is the mother of Faddama, and she full-filled her ‘grand-motherly’ duties and stayed close by her daughter during the childbirth.

The sex of the new baby isn’t known yet, but once staff can examine the tiny Gorilla, a name will be given.

The Western Lowland Gorilla is native to the rainforests of western central Africa.

Gorillas live in groups called troops. Troops tend to be made of one adult male (or silverback) and multiple adult females and their offspring. A silverback is typically a male that is more than 12 years of age.

Females mature at 10-12 years (earlier in captivity) and males at 11-13 years. Female Gorillas mate and give birth in, typically, four-year intervals. Gestation lasts about 8.5 months. Infants are entirely dependent on their mothers. Male Gorillas are not active in caring for the young, but they do play a role in socializing them to other youngsters and work to shield them from aggression within the group. Infants suckle at least once per hour and sleep with their mothers in the same nest.

Infants begin to break contact with their mothers after five months but only for brief periods of time. By 12 months, infants move up to 16 feet from their mothers. At around 18-21 months, the distance between mother and offspring increases and they regularly spend time away from each other. They enter their juvenile period at their third year, and by the sixth year, they begin to sleep in a separate nest from mother.

The Western Gorilla, and its subspecies, is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Mountain Gorilla is also listed as “Critically Endangered”, while the Eastern Gorilla is currently classified as “Endangered”.

Major threats to gorilla survival include habitat destruction and poaching for bushmeat trade. It is also believed that several thousand gorillas, in the Republic of Congo, died from Ebola during the outbreak in 2004.

 


Civet Twins at Newquay Zoo

11_10454144_10152893680801423_4266837019562382002_o

Newquay Zoo, in Cornwall, UK, is excited to announce the birth of twin Owston’s Civets.  The young pair, named Tai and Quy, are the offspring of mother, Dong Ha, and father, Bao.  Dong Ha was born and bred at Newquay Zoo, and Bao originated from the Carnivore & Pangolin Conservation Center in Vietnam. 

12_11705441_10152893680891423_930254908988022227_o

13_11728730_10152893681066423_3730226673489094267_oPhoto Credits: Newquay Zoo

Senior Carnivore Keeper, Owen Taylor recently said, “This is a magnificent achievement for all of us here at Newquay Zoo, as the civet species is very vulnerable due to ongoing population decline. So, to have these two new arrivals is a great conservation result and helps us maintain the ongoing survival of this species.”

John Meek, Curator, added, “The arrival of the Owston's Civets is a welcome addition to the animal population [at the zoo], as this extraordinary species are actually illegally hunted for their fur and often eaten in local restaurants in Vietnam. So, to be able to continue to preserve this species is a fantastic win for Owen and the team.”

Owston’s Civet (also known as Owston’s Palm Civet) is named after wildlife collector Alan Owston and is native to Vietnam, Laos, and southern China.

A civet is a small, mostly nocturnal mammal that is native to tropical Asia and Africa. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. The best-known species is the African Civet, which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent, used in perfumes, was obtained.

Civets have a broadly cat-like appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, much like an otter or mongoose. They range in length from 17 to 28 inches (43 to 71 cm) and in weight from 3 to 10 lbs. (1.4 to 4.5 kg).

The civet will spend most of their days asleep and start their foraging for food at dusk. Occasionally they will venture up the trees to look for food but prefer to spend most of their time on the ground, using their long snouts to dig into the soil for food.

The civet produces a musk (also called civet) that is highly valued as a fragrance and stabilizing agent for perfume. Both male and female produce the secretion. The secretion is harvested by killing the animal or by removing the glands.

Owston’s Civet is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List due to an ongoing population decline. It is estimated there has been a loss of more than 30% of the population over the last three generations (about 15 years), due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction, and degradation.