Spring Babies Abound at Los Angeles Zoo

4.2 female ocelot kittensOcelot/Los Angeles Zoo 

Spring means lots of new babies at the Los Angeles Zoo!  Guests can now observe two Sichuan Takin calves and two Chacoan Peccary piglets out in their habitats while an Eastern Bongo calf, two Ocelot kittens, and seven Peninsular Pronghorn fawns remain behind the scenes bonding with their mothers for a few more weeks.

2.2 peccary piglet with adult photo by Jamie PhamPeccary/Jamie Pham
3.4 takin calf photo by Jamie PhamTakin/Jamie Pham

"The Zoo does tend to see a rise in animal babies each spring, but there is a lot more thought and careful planning that goes into the process than one might think," said Beth Schaefer, General Curator at the Los Angeles Zoo. "A majority of our offspring this season are all members of Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs which aim to keep the North American populations of these species sustainable while also creating an insurance population, so these animals don't disappear from the planet."  

One insurance population currently thriving at the L.A. Zoo is a breeding group of Peninsular Pronghorn, a species of antelope native to Baja California Sur, Mexico. The Zoo recently welcomed seven Peninsular Pronghorn fawns, born between March 4 and April 8. In 2002, the L.A. Zoo joined the Peninsular Pronghorn Recovery Project in the Vizcaino Desert Biosphere Reserve of Baja California Sur, Mexico because the species’ numbers were dwindling in the wild due to hunting, habitat destruction, and cattle ranching.

On April 4, the L.A. Zoo celebrated the birth of two endangered Chacoan Peccary piglets. These medium-sized animals are found primarily in Paraguay and Bolivia, and they have a strong resemblance to pigs. Chacoan peccaries are social animals that live in small herds of up to 10 individuals, and they are known for their tough snouts and rooting abilities. The L.A. Zoo is currently working with the only conservation project in existence for this endangered species called the Chaco Center for the Conservation and Research (CCCI) and hopes to help care for and breed this species whose numbers are dwindling primarily due to habitat loss and hunting.

More photos and video below.

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Rare Baby Fishing Cat Arrives By Cesarean Delivery

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A rare Fishing Cat kitten is being hand-reared after he was born by cesarean delivery at Oklahoma City Zoo.

The baby was born on March 31 after his mother, Miri, surpassed her expected due date. The gestation period for Fishing Cats is between 63 and 70 days. Eleven-year-old Miri was five days past her due date and showed no signs of entering labor. The zoo’s veterinary and carnivore teams chose to intervene to ensure that her pregnancy was viable. Although the first-time mother was closely monitored by her caretakers throughout the entire pregnancy, the risks associated with waiting for a natural birth became far too great for Miri and her kitten.

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Fishing Cat Cub 13Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

This was the first cesarean delivery of a Fishing Cat in the zoo’s history. The entire procedure lasted three hours and consisted of an ultrasound, radiographs, bloodwork, a physical exam and the cesarean delivery, which resulted in the birth of a male kitten. The kitten is the first offspring of Miri and 3-year-old Boon.

For approximately 1 hour after his birth, the kitten, weighing 164 grams (0.4 pounds), needed help breathing. After two days in the animal hospital, the kitten’s health was stable, and his care team decided that he could be introduced to mom Miri.

Unfortunately, when the kitten was placed with Miri, she displayed no signs of maternal care. The veterinary and carnivore teams began hand-rearing the kitten.

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Newborn Lemur Saved by Zoo Vets

White belted ruffed lemur baby - Wild Place Project (3)

Veterinarians and keepers carried out a rare procedure to save the life of a Critically Endangered newborn Lemur at Wild Place Project.

They stepped in just hours after the tiny White-belted Ruffed Lemur and his two siblings were born.  The babies’ mother, Ihosy, was not showing any interest in them. The little Lemurs, each smaller than a stick of butter, were getting cold and dehydrated.

White belted ruffed lemurs begin to suckle
White belted ruffed lemurs begin to sucklePhoto Credit: Wild Place Project

After the smallest of three died, the staff decided to take the unusual step of intervening to try to save the other two. Ihosy was given a mild anesthetic and taken with her babies to the animal care center at Wild Place Project, which is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society.

As Ihosy slept peacefully, the team placed the two babies on her belly so they could begin feeding. One of the babies was too weak and later died, but the third pulled through and is now feeding regularly and is being cared for by Ihosy.

Zoo veterinarian Sara Shopland said, “Ihosy reared two babies last year and was a good mum so we didn’t expect this complication. This is quite a rare procedure and it’s not something we commonly do but we decided we had to act.”

Ihosy and her surviving baby are now in their nest box at Wild Place Project where vets and keepers are keeping regular checks on them.

Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place project, said, “Ihosy is now looking after her surviving baby and all the signs are good. It was a great effort by my team and the vet team and we are so pleased that one of the triplets has survived.”

Every White-belted Ruffed Lemur is crucially important to the future of the subspecies which has undergone a population decline of 80 percent in just 21 years. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature now considers them to be at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

The main threats to the species in the wild are habitat loss due to slash-and-burn and commercial agriculture, logging and mining, as well as hunting for meat.

See more photos of the newborn Lemur below.

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Rescued Little Penguins Return to the Sea

Please Credit Photographer Sarah Lievore (4)
On April 17, Taronga Wildlife Hospital staff released five healthy Little Penguins into the sea after nursing them back to health in Sydney, Australia.

The birds arrived at Taronga from nearby beaches over the past two months. Injuries included dehydration, a fishing hook injury and a broken foot.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Lievore

Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall said, “Most of the penguins were brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital by members of the community who saw them in difficulty and took action. The community’s awareness of Little Penguins and other wildlife is increasing all the time and by acting quickly, they give us the best chance to help the birds through difficult times.”

The penguins were nicknamed by the Taronga Wildlife Hospital:

  • Bondi, found on Bondi Beach
  • Footsie, found in Newcastle on Stockton Beach
  • Nigel, found Chowder Bay in Mosman
  • Margaret, found in Maroubra
  • Collin, found on Collins Beach in Manly

Penguins hunt for fish as they swim in the ocean. Little Penguins become vulnerable during their annual molt, when their waterproof feathers fall out in clumps. Until their new feathers grow in, they cannot enter the water to capture fish. Because the Penguins do not feed during the molting period, they become emaciated and weak so are vulnerable to domestic pets, most particularly dogs.

The colony of Little Penguins at Manly in Sydney Harbor is the last remaining on the mainland of New South Wales. This population is protected and numbers only about 60 pairs. Other nearby colonies are located on offshore islands, which offer the Penguins some protection from pressure from humans and domestic pets.

Little Penguins are found in habitats along Australia’s southern coast and on the shores of Tasmania. These birds are also present on the southern coast of New Zealand. Several colonies have declined over the past decades, mostly due to human interference and predation. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

People can help Little Penguins at beaches by keeping dogs on leashes, not leaving rubbish including fishing line hooks around and protecting habitat at the shoreline.

See more photos of the Penguin release below.

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Capron Park Zoo Welcomes Fennec Fox Trio

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Capron Park Zoo, in Attleboro, MA, excitedly announced the birth of three Fennec Fox kits!

Two females and one male were born on March 7 to five-year-old mom, Hannah, and two-year-old dad, Taz. According to Zoo staff, this the second litter for the parents.

The playful siblings are starting to venture out of the den and can be seen on exhibit with mom and dad.

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4_2 wks of agePhoto Credits: Dan DiBattista

The Fennec Fox or Fennec (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat.

The Fennec is the smallest species of canid. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to desert environments. Their large ears and sensitive hearing allow them to hear prey moving underground. Their diet consists mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.

The Fennec has a life span of up to 14 years in captivity. In the wild, their main predators are the African varieties of eagle owl. Families of Fennecs dig out dens in sand for habitation and protection, which can be as large as 120 m2 (1,292 sq. ft.) and join the neighboring dens.

Fennec Foxes are social and mate for life, with each pair (or family) controlling their own territory. Sexual maturity is reached at around nine months old. In the wild, mating usually occurs between January and February for litters born between March and April. However, in captivity most litters are born later, between March and July, although births can occur year round. The species usually breeds only once each year.

Gestation is usually between 50 and 52 days but may be longer in captivity. The typical litter is between one and four kits, with weaning taking place at around 61 to 70 days. When born, the kit's ears are folded over and its eyes are closed, with the eyes opening at around ten days and the ears lifting soon afterward.

More great pics, below the fold!

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National Zoo Welcomes Western Lowland Gorilla

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For the first time in nine years, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is celebrating the birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. The baby boy was born on April 15 and has been named Moke [Mo-KEY], which means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language.

The 15-year-old mother, Calaya, and 26-year-old father, Baraka, bred in summer 2017 following a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Keepers have observed Calaya nursing the clinging infant, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive. The Great Ape House is currently closed to provide Calaya a private space to bond with her infant.

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4_img_4503_15apr18_msPhoto Credits: Matt Spence/ Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Using a human pregnancy test in the Fall of 2017, keepers confirmed that Calaya had successfully conceived. The team also trained Calaya to participate voluntarily in ultrasounds, so they have been able to monitor fetal growth and development throughout the pregnancy. On November 3, the Zoo finally announced her pregnancy and has been providing updates via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GorillaStory. The Zoo will continue to share updates, photos and videos of the infant’s development.

“The birth of this Western Lowland Gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates. “The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother. Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya.”

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Ring-tailed Lemur Twins Venture Outdoors

Lemur Baby with rope 2018-Carla Knapp

With the slow arrival of spring in the Midwest, visitors to the Indianapolis Zoo had to wait a few weeks before meeting two Ring-tailed Lemurs born on March 14. But the twins finally went outdoors for the first time on a warm, sunny day late last week.

Bree wBabies outside3 2018-Carla Knapp
Bree wBabies outside2 2018-Carla KnappPhoto Credit: Carla Knapp/Indianapolis Zoo

The babies were born to experienced mother Bree, who is attentive and nurturing with her newborns. The one-month-old twins are growing fast, and they have already transitioned from clinging to Bree’s belly to riding on her back.  They’ve begun to explore their surroundings, but never venture far from mom.

The babies’ genders are not yet known, so they have not been named. Twins are common in this species.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are native to the island of Madagascar, where they live in social groups of a dozen or more individuals. These primates feed, huddle, and sunbathe together.

The clearing of Madagascar’s forests for pasture and agricultural land has severely affected Ring-tailed Lemurs, which rely on trees for food and shelter. Recent studies estimate that only about 2,000 Ring-tailed Lemurs remain in the wild. The species is listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

See more photos of the twin Lemurs below.

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Baby Wallaby Grew Up In A Backpack

Newt the baby wallaby in the spring sunshine at Longleat  PIC Ian Turner (1500x1000)
A baby Wallaby which is being hand reared in a backpack after being found abandoned is delighting keepers at Longleat with his progress.

The baby, who has been nicknamed Newt, is thought to be around 30 weeks old. He has been adopted by keepers Gemma Short and Jodie Cobb, who carry Newt around in a substitute pouch made from a backpack.

Newt the baby wallaby being bottle fed at Longleat  PIC Ian Turner (1500x1000)
Newt the baby wallaby being bottle fed at Longleat  PIC Ian Turner (1500x1000)
Newt the baby wallaby being bottle fed at Longleat  PIC Ian Turner (1500x1000)Photo Credit: Longleat

The Red-necked Wallaby, who was rescued after being found abandoned during snowy weather, is thriving under the care of his keepers at this safari park in the United Kingdom.

“It appears that for some reason his mum let him out of her pouch during the cold weather but then refused to let him back in again,” said keeper Gemma.  “We kept him under closer observation but when it became clear she had abandoned him, we had to step in and hand rear him.”

“Initially we had to feed him every two hours, but now he feeds at four-hour intervals and he’s starting to take solids,” Gemma said.  “At first it felt a little strange to be carrying this backpack around but after a while you do get used to it. He’s a real character and is beginning to venture out on his own again and explore the outside world,” she added.

At birth, Newt weighed just 20 grams and was little larger than a baked bean. He crawled through his mother’s fur from the birth canal into the pouch where he began to suckle.

Volunteering to take over as surrogate mothers has been a real labor of love for the keepers - especially with feedings every four hours day and night.

Gemma and Jodie will have to keep up their role as adoptive parents for up to 18 months until the youngster is fully weaned and ready to return to the Wallaby colony.

Red-necked Wallabies, also known as Bennett’s Wallabies, are native to eastern Australia and the island of Tasmania.  As marsupials, their babies are born in a highly underdeveloped state and complete their growth inside the female’s pouch.  They feed on grasses and leaves during the night and rest during the day. Red-necked Wallabies are not under threat, and so are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 


Lincoln Park Zoo’s New Exhibit Welcomes First Chick

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The first-ever endangered African Penguin chick has hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove. After a 38-day incubation period, the chick emerged on February 10.

At a recent wellness exam, veterinary staff deemed the chick healthy. During the exam, veterinary staff also drew blood, which will be sent for lab analysis to determine the chick’s sex. Once that is revealed, keepers can decide on an appropriate name.

The chick is the offspring of mom, Robben, and dad, Preston. According to Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds, Sunny Nelson, the first-time parents are proving to be naturals.

“Our keepers are constantly monitoring both the parents and the chick to ensure that the parents are meeting the chick’s needs as it reaches developmental milestones,” said Nelson. “Both Robben and Preston are performing parental duties as expected, sharing brooding and feeding responsibilities.”

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4_20180403_CB_penguin chick-13Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo / Chris Bijalba (Image 1)

African Penguin chicks typically fledge around 70 to 80 days after hatching. The chick will retain its downy feathers until it molts into waterproof juvenile plumage. After one to two years, African Penguins molt into their iconic tuxedo-like adult plumage.

Animal Care staff plans to give the chick access to a behind-the-scenes pool to ensure that its feathers are waterproof before introducing the chick to the rest of the exhibit.

The chick’s parents were paired as a part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative population management effort among institutions within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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Adorable Asian Small-clawed Otter Duo Born

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Two adorable Asian Small-clawed Otter pups were born the middle of March at the Kansas City Zoo.

For now, the fluffy male and female pups will remain behind-the-scenes with their parents and big brother, Otis.

However, the Zoo is happy to share updates of the duo via social media. Keepers also organized a naming contest, allowing the public to select the tiny otters new names. And the winning names are…Conner and Clover.

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Kczoo-female-pupPhoto Credits: Kansas City Zoo

Although the Asian Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea syn. Amblonyx cinereus) is only listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, the species is seriously threatened by rapid habitat destruction for palm oil farming and by hunting and pollution. They are considered an “indicator species,” meaning their population indicates the general health of their habitat and of other species.

The species is the smallest Otter in the world and lives in freshwater wetlands and mangrove swamps throughout Southeast Asia, including southern India and China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Borneo, and the Malay Peninsula. They prefer quiet pools and sluggish streams for fishing and swimming.

Unlike Sea Otters, they spend more time on land than in water, but they are skillful, agile swimmers and divers, with great endurance. They can stay submerged for six to eight minutes.

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