Tiger Orphans Meet at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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A 9-week-old Sumatran Tiger cub was introduced to a 7-week-old Bengal Tiger cub at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center on September 11.

The Sumatran Tiger cub arrived from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and was introduced to the Bengal Tiger cub, currently residing at the Safari Park.

The Sumatran Tiger cub was born at the National Zoo on July 11 and was rejected by its mother a short time later. After numerous attempts to keep the mother and cub together, the animal care team decided it was in the cub’s best interest to separate them.

The Bengal Tiger cub was confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on August 23 during a vehicle inspection at the U.S./Mexico border. His story attracted worldwide media attention. Back in early September, ZooBorns introduced readers to the little cub and how he became a resident of the Safari Park: “Confiscated Tiger Cub Finds Refuge at San Diego Safari Park

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3_21731710_1983111141705552_1410871529957508442_oPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Both the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the National Zoo are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and in a collaborative effort, both zoos’ animal care teams determined the best solution for the well-being of the two cubs would be for them to become companions.

The cubs took to each other immediately, and interacted by wrestling, jumping and engaging in a lot of friendly roughhousing—things tiger cubs do.

Park staff explained how they are able to differentiate between the two tigers. Although Sumatran Tigers, in general, are the smallest subspecies of tiger, the opposite is currently the case with the two cubs. The Safari Park’s Sumatran cub is currently the larger and darker colored of the pair, however, it won’t be long before his new companion is larger.

Guests at the Safari Park can now see them through the nursery window at the Animal Care Center during Safari Park operating hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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Critically Endangered Skinks Hatch at Chester Zoo

1_World first as rare Bermudian skinks hatch at Chester Zoo as part of bid to save species (10)

Two clutches of critically endangered Bermudian Skinks have hatched at Chester Zoo. This is the first time conservationists have bred the species outside their homeland.

Known as ‘rock lizards’, the small Bermudian skinks are a much-loved cultural icon in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and are an important part of the ecosystem.

The species is on the brink of extinction in the wild, as habitat destruction and introduced predators have almost wiped them out. In a last gasp attempt to prevent the species being lost forever, the Bermudian government called on experts at Chester Zoo to help breed the species in the UK. Now, after years of work by conservationists and 43 days of incubation, seven Skinks have hatched.

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4_World first as rare Bermudian skinks hatch at Chester Zoo as part of bid to save species (1)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The major success at Chester Zoo is a dramatic breakthrough in the fight to save the Skink: a flagship animal in Bermuda’s species recovery programme.

It is possible that individuals bred at Chester Zoo will be reintroduced to the wild in Bermuda, whilst the zoo’s experts will also travel to the island to set up in-country breeding facilities.

In parallel with the breeding project, a team from the zoo is also working in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Bermuda on an intensive ecological study following the last remaining populations of the Skinks on both the main and offshore islands.

Dr. Gerardo Garcia, Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates at Chester Zoo, said, “The world’s biodiversity is under threat and we must protect our living world. Conservation is critical and breeding these skinks is a momentous event. Not only is it providing us with vital new data which will help to inform future decisions in terms of protecting the species, it will engage future generations with these fascinating animals too.”

“It has taken years of work, both out in Bermuda and here in our zoo breeding facilities, but to finally hatch these clutches of Bermudian Skinks is magnificent news.”

The Bermuda Skink has been listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Mike Jordan, Collections Director at Chester Zoo, said, “We are working hard to prevent the extinction of this unique species, found nowhere else but Bermuda – and with so few endemic vertebrates – they are incredibly important to the country. This breeding breakthrough, in tandem with our extensive work out in the field alongside the Bermudian government, is a hugely significant boost for their long term survival hopes.”

Dr. Mark Outerbridge, Wildlife Ecologist for the Bermuda Government and the zoo’s partner in Bermuda, added, “I was thrilled to hear of the recent breeding success at Chester Zoo. Skinks have been living on Bermuda for over 400,000 years, and I believe we need to do all that we can to ensure their continued survival. The captive breeding is a critical step in this process and I am very grateful to all the staff there.”

The first Bermudian Skink (Plestiodon longirostris) hatched at Chester Zoo on June 7th from an egg that was laid on May 9th. The zoo’s reptile experts were able to photograph the moment the first skink popped its head out of its egg. Two clutches, one of four and one of three, have hatched at the zoo, with seven individual new Skinks in total.

Chester Zoo’s Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates, and PhD student, Helena Turner, are currently in Bermuda collecting vital data from the last remaining wild skink populations.

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Snow Leopard Siblings Debut at L.A. Zoo

1_LA Zoo Snow Leopard Cubs 8-30-17 by Tad Motoyama

The Los Angeles Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of two endangered Snow Leopard cubs!

A male and female were born on May 12 and May 13 to a three-year-old mother, Georgina, and a five-year-old father, Fred. The cubs are the first offspring for the adults, who were paired together in July 2015 as a part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP).

The new siblings spent several months behind the scenes bonding with their mother and getting to know the animal care staff. At four months old, the cubs have now gained enough strength and coordination to navigate their outdoor habitat and make their public debut.

“We’re so excited to welcome these cubs,” said Stephanie Zielinski, animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “There is less known about these beautiful cats than most of the other large cat species due to the extreme habitat Snow Leopards have evolved to live in the wild. This is why it’s such an honor to be able to educate the public and give them the opportunity to observe this elusive species here in Los Angeles.”

The Zoo’s animal care staff began working with the cubs early on, separating the mom for short amounts of time to allow her rest and to help her grow accustomed to animal care staff being around her young. These interactions with the cubs helped animal care staff conduct regular exams, give vaccinations, and eventually lead to an easier transition when introducing the cubs to the outdoor habitat.

2_Snow Leopard Mom & Two Cubs 9-11-17  Photo By Tad Motoyama

3_Snow Leopard Cub Female by Jamie Pham

4_Snow Leopard Cub Male by Jamie PhamPhoto Credits: Los Angeles Zoo / Tad Motoyama (Images: 1,2,5) / Jamie Pham (3,4,6,7)

Snow Leopards in the wild are found in unforgiving environments in the cold, high mountains of Central Asia throughout 12 countries. The habitats range from alpine meadows to treeless, rocky mountains. Due to the high altitudes of its habitat, the animal has evolved to have a large nasal cavity to breathe the thin air and can retain oxygen well. The cats have a thick fur, which allows them to keep warm, and a long tail they can wrap around themselves for added warmth and protection for their ears and face. Their paws have hair cushions that act as snowshoes and also provide protection from sharp rocks. Smoky gray and blurred black markings on the cat’s pale gray or cream-colored coat provide them with handy camouflage in the mountains. Snow Leopards can tolerate extreme temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit down to 40 degrees below zero.

While Snow Leopards have perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. Habitat destruction, prey base depletion, illegal trade, poaching, and conflict with the local people have led to a significant decline with only an estimated population of between 2,000 to 7,000 Snow Leopards left in the wild.

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Meerkat Pups Emerge for Mischief at Nashville Zoo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three Meerkats on August 17.

The trio is the first offspring for parents Calvin (age 11) and Victoria (age 9). The pair has been together for 2.5 years but never successfully produced pups.

“Calvin and Victoria are proving to be great parents and have shown constant attention to the new additions,” said Sabrina Barnes, Area Supervisor of Primates. “We are very excited to once again have Meerkat pups at Nashville Zoo!”

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3_36387283684_3985559802_bPhoto Credits: Rachel Schleicher

Keepers have noticed Calvin and Victoria taking turns caring for the pups. When Victoria is not in the burrow nursing, Calvin is inside caring for them. Meerkat society is centered around family groups (known as “mobs”), relying heavily on group cooperation. The pups will stay at the Nashville Zoo to live in a family group.

The average litter size for Meerkats ranges from 1 to 6 pups, and pups average 25-35 grams in weight when born.

Meerkats are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. They live throughout southern Africa and are present in several protected areas, with no major threats at this time.

Nashville Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for this species to maintain the captive population.


Miraculous Giraffe Calf Born at Living Desert Zoo

Shellie Giraffe Calf Born at TLD

On August 27, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens welcomed a female Giraffe calf to their herd. Born to mother, Dadisi, and father, Hesabu, the calf weighed in at 143 pounds and stood 5 feet 11 inches tall.

The calf was given the official name “Shellie Muujiza”. Through a generous gift of $50,000 by long-time supporter Harold Matzner, Shellie Muujiza was named in honor of Harold’s life partner, Shellie Reade. And true to the Giraffe’s heritage, Muujiza mean ‘miracle’ in Swahili.

“We are excited to share the joyous news of our new addition, Shellie. Mother and calf are doing very well and guests have the thrilling opportunity to see them both beginning today,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “While we continue to mourn the loss of Pona, our male Giraffe who suddenly passed away in August, we find comfort in the new life that this Giraffe calf brings to The Living Desert.”

Giraffe Calf  born August 27 at The Living DesertPhoto Credits: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

This is the seventh calf for mom, Dadisi, and ninth calf for father, Hesabu. Dadisi is 16 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002; this is her second female calf. Hesabu is 16 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002. The Living Desert is home to a herd of eight giraffe, five males and three females.

“I am proud to support The Living Desert and their important Giraffe conservation efforts,” said Matzner, who also named baby Harold, the Giraffe born at The Living Desert on April 28, 2017. “It’s a true pleasure to name two Giraffe in their magnificent herd.”

“Dadisi and her calf have bonded and are doing very well. The well-baby exam showed that all her vitals are within the normal range and she is progressing as expected,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Programs at The Living Desert. “We are grateful for Mr. Matzner’s continued generosity and support of our giraffe herd. We look forward to seeing baby Harold and baby Shellie together on the savannah habitat.”

Giraffe gestation is about 15 months. The calf will now nurse for nine to 12 months, and begin eating foliage at about four months. During the first year of her life, she will have doubled her size. Giraffe have their own individual spot-like markings and no two giraffe have the same pattern, similar to humans’ unique fingerprints.

Currently listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as “Vulnerable”, Giraffe populations have declined up to 40% over the last 30 years. There are fewer than 98,000 giraffe in the wild. Native to southern and eastern Africa, major threats to giraffe population is habitat loss and fragmentation, civil unrest, and ecological changes.

Visitors can get up-close and personal with these majestic animals by participating in the Giraffe feedings from 9:00 a.m. to noon daily. For more information, visit www.LivingDesert.org .


Endangered Gorilla Born at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo announced the recent birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. The adorable baby was born to mum, Mbeli, and father, Kibali, on September 1st.

Primate Keeper, Alison Smith, said the team is delighted with the addition to the family at Taronga Zoo: “Mbeli is a very relaxed and confident mother. Her mother was a fantastic role model for her so she has taken that on and is really attentive toward the baby. In turn, the baby is getting stronger every day.”

Ms. Smith added, “Mbeli and baby are both doing very well and are bonding well. They are being closely watched by our Keepers and veterinary team, as well as the baby’s inquisitive big brother, MJ, who is almost two years old. MJ was present during the birth and he will be excited to start playing with his brother when he gets a little bit older.”

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4_AT_003920151016Photo Credits: Taronga Zoo

The birth brings the number of Taronga’s Western Lowland Gorillas to seven. The newborn is an extremely valuable addition to world breeding programs for gorillas, helping insure against rapidly declining numbers of gorillas in Africa. Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered, with the long-term survival of this species under serious threat due to habitat destruction and deforestation, poaching and disease outbreaks like Ebola.

Minister for Environment, the Hon Gabriel Upton MP, said the birth was a significant achievement for wildlife conservation. “The birth of this new baby gorilla is such exciting news, and helps to secure the future of the Western Lowland Gorilla, with as few as 100,000 remaining in the wild in the Congo Basin,” said Minister Upton.

“This is just one insight into the important work Taronga Zoo does to ensure species thrive. Taronga Zoo plays an important role as a world leader in conserving threatened and endangered species in Australia and worldwide,” Minister Upton said. “I congratulate Taronga Zoo on all of their efforts in ensuring the success of this birth.”

A competition will take place to name the newborn gorilla over the next two weeks via the zoo’s website at: www.Taronga.org.au.

Keen-eyed visitors to Taronga Zoo can catch glimpses of the new arrival and his family throughout the day. The best viewing times are during the Gorilla Feeding Sessions at 10.45am, 12.30am and 2.30pm.

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Halls Gap Zoo Successfully Breeds Spotted-tail Quolls

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Halls Gap Zoo recently announced the breeding success of beautiful Spotted-tailed Quolls (or Tiger Quolls). Two healthy joeys, male and female, were born at the Australian facility.

The Zoo credits their dedicated and passionate staff for the successful breeding. The Zoo shared that the team at Halls Gap Zoo works hard to care for many threatened species, whilst sharing their passion for conserving many of the animals Australians are lucky to share their backyards with.

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21314870_1429132360457373_3450014820914595854_nPhoto Credits: Halls Gap Zoo

The Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is also known as the Spotted-tailed Quoll. It is a carnivorous marsupial of the Quoll genus Dasyurus and is native to Australia. With males and females weighing around 3.5 and 1.8 kg (7.7 and 4 lbs), respectively, it is mainland Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial, and the world's longest extant carnivorous marsupial (the biggest is the Tasmanian devil). They are found in wet forests of southeastern Australia and Tasmania.

The species is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage considers the northern subspecies, D. m. gracilis, as “endangered”.

This species is vulnerable to decline because it requires certain climates and habitats, it tends to live in low densities, it is likely to compete with introduced predators and requires lots of space. The biggest threat to the Quoll is habitat destruction. Humans may also directly contribute to Quoll deaths though persecution, motor collisions, and poisoning.


Tiny Twin Marmosets Born at Chester Zoo

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An Eastern Pygmy Marmoset, the world’s smallest species of monkey, has given birth to twins at Chester Zoo.

The tiny babies, weighing in at just 15 grams, will measure just five inches in length when fully grown.

Arriving to mum Audrey and dad Gumi, the mini-monkeys were born on July 25 but have only now grown to a size whereby they’re big enough to spot.

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4_World’s smallest monkey gives birth to tiny twins at Chester Zoo (43)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Dr. Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said, “Pygmy Marmosets actually have relatively large babies for their tiny size. An adult will only weigh up to around 150 grams and so each baby equates to around 10% of its body weight.”

Davis continued, “After giving the babies their regular feeds, mum Audrey, like all other female Eastern Pygmy Marmosets, steps aside while dad takes on the parental chores. The youngsters can therefore often be seen being carried by dad, Gumi, for long periods of time as mum takes a well-deserved break.”

Eastern Pygmy Marmosets (Cebuella pygmaea) are native to the rainforests of western Brazil, southeastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru. They are generally found in evergreen and river edge forests and are known to be a gum-feeding specialist, or a “gummivore”.

The Pygmy Marmoset is the world’s smallest “true monkey”. They have a head-body length ranging from 117 to 152 millimeters (4.6 to 6.0 in), a tail of 172 to 229 millimeters (6.8 to 9.0 in), and the average adult body weighs in at just over 100 grams (3.5 oz.).

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are threatened by both habitat loss and from being captured for the pet trade.

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Perth Zoo is Saving Numbats and Dibblers From Extinction

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In 1936, Australia said farewell to the very last Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Thylacine. The Perth Zoo is committed to preventing the endangered Numbat and Dibbler, two marsupials found only in Australia, from facing the same fate.

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AlexAsbury_numbatjoey_5999WEBPhoto Credit: Alex Asbury

Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program (NSBP), in partnership with other organizations, has bred and released more than 220 Numbats and more than 800 Dibblers into the wild. This spring there has been a flurry of furry activity from 22 Numbat joeys, and 53 Dibbler joeys!

In June this year, three Dibbler mothers, with 21 pouch young between them, were released. The NSBP’s goal is to repopulate these species in their natural habitats. Perth Zoo is the only zoo in the world breeding both of these rare species.

The Numbat, a striped, bushy-tailed relative of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, is so rare that there are less than 1,000 of them remaining in the wild.

Dibblers, tiny mouse-like carnivorous marsupials, were thought to be extinct for more than 50 years until a chance rediscovery in 1967.

As keepers prepare to release the joeys, they must first wean the Dibbler young from their mothers and prepare enough termite custard to meet the Numbats’ appetite for 20,000 termites a day.

The main threats facing both animals in the wild include habitat loss and introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes. Australia’s zoos, including the Perth Zoo, government agencies, and private groups are determined to protect Australia’s unique wild heritage.

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Clouded Leopard Cubs Climb to New Heights

21231255_1427079080661866_5978684021896106567_nToronto Zoo’s four-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs are transitioning to a new play space and zoo guests can now see the sisters during limited times on most days.

Their new den has climbing logs positioned just right for the growing cubs to develop their skills.  Right now, the logs are low (at “toddler” level) but they can be repositioned for more challenging exercise as the cubs grow. Clouded Leopards are extremely agile and can even climb on the underside of tree branches, as one of the cubs demonstrates in the photos.

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21106750_1427079150661859_7101477329161299372_nPhoto Credit: Toronto Zoo

Born May 13, the cubs were first introduced to ZooBorns readers here. They’ve been under human care ever since they were a few days old because their mother did not care for them properly. By the time the two female cubs were two months old, they were thriving, as reported on ZooBorns.

Keepers report that one of the cubs is more adventurous than her sister and is often the first to dive in to new experiences. They often play wrestle together and seem to enjoy ripping apart banana leaves.

Each cub weighs about eight pounds, and they now eat solid foods – nearly a pound per day each!

Clouded Leopards live in the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia, where their numbers are decreasing. About 10,000 Clouded Leopards remain in the wild, but the population is fragmented into groups no larger than 1,000 animals. The forested areas are not large enough to sustain the populations in the long term. Clouded Leopards are poached for the commercial wildlife trade, and body parts are sold on the black market for traditional Asian medicines, which are proven to have no actual health benefits. Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

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