Black and White… and Wiggly All Over

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A Miniature Pig named Jolly became a first time mother on August 14, at Zoo Basel. Jolly gave birth to eight wiggly Piglets: four males and four females. Despite her lack of experience, Jolly’s instincts have been spot-on, and she is a very attentive mother.

Before the birth, Zoo Basel staff made note of Jolly spending an entire day attending to her nest, focusing on arranging the thick bed of straw. Her Piglets arrived at night, and the keepers found the happy little family the next morning.

Sire, Jack, is an experienced father and has a lot of offspring. For many years, he formed a successful breeding pair with female, Jill. Unfortunately, Jill died after an emergency C-section in the spring of 2015. His new pairing with Jolly has been, obviously, successful.

Jack will have to wait a bit until he is allowed an introduction to his newest offspring. In the first days, the females defend their Piglets strongly and do not let the father in the straw bed. However, there is no worry, as Jack is always very interested in his offspring. According to keepers, he has been known to patiently let his Piglets play and crawl on his belly.

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4_14054588_1111448372226235_2036358012072464082_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Basel

The young Mini Pigs at Zoo Basel will remain in the stable of the children’s zoo for their first few weeks of life. They will gradually be introduced to the daily visit to the outdoor enclosure.

The Miniature Pig (also Mini Pig, Micro Pig, or Teacup Pig) Sus scrofa domesticusis is a breed that weighs between 60 pounds (27 kg) and 300 pounds (140 kg) when fully grown.

They were first used for medical research in Europe before being introduced to the United States in the 1980s. Since then, the animals have been used in studies by scientists around the world, and have also risen in popularity as companion animals.

A Mini Pig’s diet consists mainly of vegetables, fodder, hay, and straw. Gestation for a female lasts about a total of three months, three weeks, and three days. Litters generally occur with anywhere from six to twelve Piglets. Life expectancy is estimated to be around 20 - 30 years.

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UPDATE: Vienna’s Giant Panda Twins Keeping Mom Busy

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The Giant Panda twins at Schönbrunn Zoo are 18 days old and keepers report they are developing splendidly.

Mother Yang Yang is confident and relaxed in her care of the two young ones. Staff daily observes her (via a den camera) suckling them, cleaning them and keeping them warm. The babies also get more and more active every day. “The young Pandas stretch, wave their little paws in the air, and make first tentative efforts to crawl on their mother’s tummy,” explains the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter. Their pink tinge is also increasingly being replaced by black and white fur, resulting in their looking more like miniature Pandas every day.

The next big step in the development of the Panda twins is the formation of their auditory senses, which takes place at about five weeks of age. On top of this, the young animals are still blind and will only open their eyes when they are approximately 40 days old. It will be the end of the year before they can really crawl and leave the breeding box.

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3_Pandazwillinge 22_ AugustPhoto Credits: Schönbrunn Zoo

 

As we previously shared, the Panda mother will rear her babies in their breeding box, behind the scenes, which is out of sight of Schönbrunn Zoo visitors. At about four months old, the young Pandas will make their first excursions to the indoor enclosure, where the visitors will be able to watch them. The Zoo will do its best to keep Panda fans all over the world informed. At regular intervals, videos from the breeding box will be published on Schönbrunn Zoo’s website: https://www.zoovienna.at/ …YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thezoovienna … and other social media pages. There is also a public video screen in the Zoo that allows visitors to peek in on the new family.

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) also known as “panda bear” or simply “panda, is a bear native to south central China. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

The Giant Panda is native to a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in neighboring provinces (Shaanxi and Gansu). As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the Giant Panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. It is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Giant Pandas give birth to twins in about half of pregnancies, and generally, only one twin will survive. The mother will select the stronger of the cubs, and the weaker will die. Experts believe that the mother is unable to produce enough milk for two cubs, since she does not store fat. (The father has no part in helping raise the cub.)

When the cub is first born, it is pink, blind, and toothless, weighing only 90 to 130 grams (3.2 to 4.6 ounces). It nurses from its mother's breast six to 14 times a day for up to 30 minutes at a time. For three to four hours, the mother may leave the den to feed, which leaves the cub defenseless. One to two weeks after birth, the cub's skin turns gray where its hair will eventually become black. A slight pink color may appear on cub's fur, as a result of a chemical reaction between the fur and its mother's saliva. A month after birth, the color pattern of the cub's fur is fully developed. Its fur is very soft and coarsens with age.

The cub begins to crawl at 75 to 80 days of age. The cubs can eat small quantities of bamboo after six months, though mother's milk remains the primary food source for most of the first year. Giant Panda cubs weigh 45 kg (100 pounds) at one year, and live with their mothers until they are 18 months to two years old. The interval between births in the wild is generally two years.


Second Grevy’s Zebra of the Season for Chester Zoo

1_A baby zebra caught visitors to Chester Zoo by surprise after it was born in front of them. The foal was born to mum Nadine.  (7)

A baby Grevy’s Zebra caught Chester Zoo visitors by surprise after it was born before their eyes, on August 21.

The latest arrival to the Zoo’s herd of endangered Grevy’s Zebras arrived to mum, Nadine, and dad, Mac. The foal is the second to be born at the Zoo in the space of just six days!

After a 14-month-long gestation, zookeepers noticed that Nadine was showing signs of labor early on the afternoon of August 21. They carefully monitored the momentous event from a distance, and Nadine gave birth after 40 minutes, in front of astounded onlookers.

Video footage, taken by a visitor, shows Nadine rolling around on her side before getting to her feet and starting to deliver the youngster.

Kim Wood, assistant team manager at the zoo, said, “Nadine gave birth in the middle of the afternoon in front of a group of some pretty amazed visitors.

“At first Nadine was seen lying on her side trying to make herself more comfortable as she began to feel what was about to happen. She then got to her feet and picked her spot in the paddock, and a healthy youngster appeared less than an hour later. It was a really smooth delivery.

“The foal is looking great and, with it being the second to be born here in the space of just a week, we’re sure the two new arrivals will be as thick as thieves.”

2_A baby zebra caught visitors to Chester Zoo by surprise after it was born in front of them. The foal was born to mum Nadine.  (6)

3_A baby zebra caught visitors to Chester Zoo by surprise after it was born in front of them. The foal was born to mum Nadine.  (63)

4_A baby zebra caught visitors to Chester Zoo by surprise after it was born in front of them. The foal was born to mum Nadine.  (58)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

Nadine’s new offspring increases the number of Grevy’s Zebra, at Chester Zoo, to a herd of six. Keepers have yet to choose a name for the new arrival, as they have not yet been able to determine the sex.

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Sea Lion Double Trouble at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

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The Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Bronx Zoo is excited to announce the addition of two California Sea Lion pups.

The pups were born in June to different mothers. The pup born to mother, Indy, has been identified as a male. Keepers have not yet been able to determine the sex of the other pup, born to Margaretta. Both have yet to receive their names.

Clyde is the sire of both pups. He is one of two adult bulls that came to WCS’s Queens Zoo in 2013 from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of a local wildlife management project in Bonneville, Ore. These are his first offspring since arriving in New York.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_5809_California Sea Lion Pups_SLP_BZ_07 11 16Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

 

The California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) is a coastal eared seal native to western North America. It is one of five species of Sea Lion. Its natural habitat ranges from southeast Alaska to central Mexico, including the Gulf of California.

They are mainly found on sandy or rocky beaches, but they also frequent manmade environments, such as marinas and wharves. Sea Lions feed on a number of species of fish and squid, and are preyed on by Orcas and White Sharks.

California Sea Lions have a polygamous breeding pattern. From May to August, males establish territories and try to attract females with which to mate. Females are free to move in between territories, and are not coerced by males. Mothers nurse their pups in between foraging trips.

Sea Lions communicate with numerous vocalizations, notably with barks and mother-pup contact calls. Outside of their breeding season, Sea Lions spend much of their time at sea, but they come to shore to molt.

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Endangered Zebra Filly Born at Toronto Zoo

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The Toronto Zoo is pleased to announce that Tori, a six-year-old female Grevy's Zebra, gave birth to a filly on July 26. This birth is important for Grevy's Zebra conservation, as the species is currently listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. According to estimates, there are about 2,000 left in the wild.

This is the second filly Tori has given birth to at the Toronto Zoo (the first being Leia, in January of 2014, with sire Jake). The new little filly began to walk ten minutes after she was born, which is an important milestone in her development. Both mom and filly are doing well, and she is already starting to develop her own strong and confident personality, according to her Zoo Keepers.

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4_TZ_GrevysZebraFoal_Photo Credit - K.Haider, Toronto Zoo - 4Photo Credits: C. Thompson/ Toronto Zoo

Grevy's Zebras (Equus grevyi) were first put on the IUCN list in 1986, after their population began to decline due to over hunting in the late 1970s. Today, Grevy's Zebras are primarily found in Kenya and Ethiopia. Over the past 30 years, their global population has declined by approximately 70%. The major threats facing Grevy's Zebras are: loss of grazing habitat, reduced access to available water sources, competition for resources, hunting and disease.

"The birth of Tori's filly is a great opportunity to spread the word on the plight of Grevy's Zebras in the wild," says Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo. "As one of the Zoo's key mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve biodiversity, this filly helps highlight the importance of zebra conservation and what is being done to preserve this magnificent species in Africa. The Toronto Zoo supports Grevy's Zebra conservation efforts in Ethiopia and Kenya, through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund."

The Toronto Zoo’s Endangered Species Reserve Fund supports Canadian species and other critical projects around the world, further emphasizing our ongoing commitment to fight extinction. Every animal at the Zoo is an ambassador for its counterpart in the wild, and each animal strives to create a connection with the public to bring attention to the problems facing species in the wild. The Toronto Zoo believes it has a shared responsibility to care for wildlife on this planet, and the Zoo works hard to be a leader in efforts to save animals and habitats that need help.

The Toronto Zoo is also part of the Grevy's Zebra Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a series of long-term breeding and conservation plans that act as an insurance policy fighting against extinction to save endangered species. These plans focus on maintaining genetically healthy captive populations and conservation efforts in the wild. Now, more than ever, the work the Toronto Zoo does to save and protect species and their habitats is critical to the ongoing survival of many of the worlds’ most endangered species, including the Grevy's Zebra.

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Zoo Guests Witness Gorilla Birth

GORILA RECIÉN NACIDO EN EL BOSQUE ECUATORIAL DE BIOPARC VALENCIA - AGOSTO 2016 (DETALLE)
Visitors to Spain’s BIOPARC Valencia got the rare opportunity to witness the birth of a baby Gorilla on August 18.

With the entire Gorilla troop and numerous zoo guests looking on, female Gorilla Nalani calmly delivered her baby, consumed the placenta, and gently cleaned her newborn.  Several guests filmed the event and posted the footage on YouTube.

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Gorila recién nacido en BIOPARC Valencia - 17 agosto 2016 (7)Photo Credit:  BIOPARC Valencia
 
The baby’s umbilical cord remains attached to its navel, and will remain there until it naturally dries up and falls off. 

Despite this being Nalani’s first baby, she did all the right things with her newborn.  She had witnessed other births in the Gorilla troop and most likely learned from those experiences. 

The zoo staff had chosen to allow the birth to occur without intervention, and the Gorillas now have free access to both indoor and outdoor shelters.  Keepers will continue to monitor the group closely and provide the best conditions for the health of the mother and baby.

Births like this are managed by the European breeding program to maintain the highest level of genetic diversity in rare zoo animals.  Gorillas are listed as Endangered due to poaching, human disturbance, invasive exotic species, human-wildlife disease transmission, timber extraction, and mining.

See more photos of mom and baby below.

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Rare Zebra Foal Earns Its Stripes

Adorable one-day-old zebra foal born at Chester Zoo to mum, Flo.  (50)
In the early hours of August 15, Flo, a Grevy’s Zebra, gave birth to a brand-new member of this endangered species at the Chester Zoo.

Within an hour of birth, the foal was standing and nursing.  Then, after a few stumbles, the skinny youngster figured out how to maneuver its long, striped legs and began running.  Keepers don’t know the foal’s gender, so they have not yet chosen a name. The foal currently has brown stripes, but they’ll eventually turn black as the foal matures.

Adorable one-day-old zebra foal born at Chester Zoo to mum, Flo.  (39)
Adorable one-day-old zebra foal born at Chester Zoo to mum, Flo.  (41)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
 
Grevy’s Zebras are the largest and most endangered of the world’s three remaining Zebra species, and they are found only in isolated areas of Ethiopia and Northern Kenya.  

Grevy’s Zebra populations have fallen by 85% in the last 30 years, and experts estimate that as few as 1,900 individuals remain in the wild.  The decline is attributed to a reduction of water sources, habitat loss, hunting, and disease. The species has disappeared across most of its range and is already extinct in Somalia and Sudan. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Grevy’s Zebra as Endangered.

The Chester Zoo’s new foal will be an important addition to the species’ breeding program.

See more photos of the new foal below.

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Giant Panda Mom Has Her Paws Full

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On August 7th, not just one…but…two Giant Pandas were born at Schönbrunn Zoo!

Dagmar Schratter, Schönbrunn Zoo’s Director, remarked, “As we believe in natural rearing, we will simply be watching via camera what is happening in the breeding box. It had sounded as if there were two young animals squeaking, but the pictures only ever showed one. On Friday [August 5th], the keepers could see two babies on the screen for the first time.”

According to the Zoo, it happens quite often that Giant Pandas give birth to twins, but the mother usually only rears the stronger of the two. However, after the first few days, the two young offspring seem to be developing very well. Nevertheless, the survival rate for Pandas, in their first few weeks of life, is only by 50 percent. This is why according to Chinese tradition names are only given after 100 days of life.

Zoologist, Eveline Dungl, said, “Both little Pandas have fat little tummies, and Panda mother Yang Yang is totally relaxed”. The experienced mom cares lovingly for her babies and cleans and feeds the twins (with their estimated length of 15 centimeters).

Dungl added, “The little ones can be rarely seen on the pictures because Yang Yang warms them between her large paws most of the time. Their fluff gets more every day, and one can already make out the black and white marking. The sound of their contented noises, when they are being suckled or cleaned, can be heard quite clearly over the speaker.” The keepers watch the rearing round the clock via the box camera.

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4_Pandazwillinge4Photo Credits: Schönbrunn Zoo

 

For now, the Panda mother will rear her babies in the breeding box, behind the scenes, which is out of sight of Zoo visitors. At about four months old, the young Pandas will make their first excursions to the indoor enclosure where the visitors will be able to watch them. The Zoo will do its best to keep Panda fans all over the world informed: at regular intervals, videos from the breeding box will be published on Schönbrunn Zoo’s website: https://www.zoovienna.at/ and other social media pages. There is also a public video screen in the Zoo that allows visitors to peek in on the new family.

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) also known as “panda bear” or simply “panda, is a bear native to south central China. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

The Giant Panda is native to a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in neighboring provinces (Shaanxi and Gansu). As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the Giant Panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. It is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Continue reading "Giant Panda Mom Has Her Paws Full " »


Rare Arachnids Hatch at Chester Zoo

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A clutch of about 200 rare and unusual Montserrat Tarantulas has hatched at Chester Zoo.

Invertebrate keepers at the Zoo are the first in the world to successfully breed the tarantulas, marking a crucial step towards discovering more about the mysterious species.

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3_Montserrat tarantulas hatch in ‘world first’ at Chester Zoo (3)Gravid Female Montserrat Tarantula (below image): 

4_A gravid female Montserrat tarantulaPhoto Credits: Chester Zoo

Native to the Caribbean Island of Montserrat, very little information is known about these tarantulas and how they live.

New behavioral observations made for the first time, by experts at the zoo, have revealed crucial insights about the Montserrat Tarantulas which, prior to their breeding, had never before been seen in zoos or in the wild.

Dr. Gerardo Garcia, Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates at Chester Zoo, said, “Breeding these tarantulas is a huge achievement for the team, as very little is known about them. It’s taken a lot of patience and care to reach this point.

“The data we’ve been able to gather and knowledge we’ve developed over the last three years since the adults first arrived has led us to this first ever successful, recorded breeding and hopefully these tiny tarantulas will uncover more secrets about the behavior, reproduction and life cycle of the species.

“We know that males have a very short life span when compared with females and gauging their sexual maturity to select the best possible time to put them together for mating, is vital to the breeding process.

“It’s successes like this which really highlight the work that zoos are doing behind-the-scenes to conserve a range of endangered species, including the smaller, less known species that contribute to the world’s biodiversity.

“Importantly, the skills and techniques the team has developed with this new breeding success will now be transferred to other threatened species.”

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Third Zebra Birth of the Year at BIOPARC Valencia

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BIOPARC Valencia recently welcomed their third Grant’s Zebra foal of this year!

This season’s “baby boom” started with the birth of a filly on June 7. There is no word yet on the sex of the park’s newest addition.

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3_3 crías de cebra nacidas este año en BIOPARC Valencia 2016

4_3 crías de cebra nacidas este año en BIOPARC Valencia 2016 (3)Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

 

Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi) is the smallest of six subspecies of the Plains Zebra. This subspecies represents the Zebra form of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

The distribution of this subspecies is in Zambia, west of the Luangwa River and west to Kariba, Shaba Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north to the Kibanzao Plateau. In Tanzania, north from Nyangaui and Kibwezi into southwestern Kenya as far as Sotik. It can also be found in eastern Kenya and east of the Great Rift Valley into southernmost Ethiopia. It also occurs as far as the Juba River in Somalia.

This northern subspecies is vertically striped in front, horizontally on the back legs, and diagonally on the rump and hind flanks. Northerly specimens may lack a mane. Grant’s Zebras grow to be about 120 to 140 centimeters (3.9 to 4.6 ft) tall, and generally weigh about 300 kilograms (660 lb). Zebras live in family groups of up to 17 or 18 individuals. They live an average of 20 years.

Needing water daily, they remain no more than half a day's walk from water sources. Their diet includes grass, tough stems, and sometimes leaves or barks of trees and shrubs. They require a lot of food so it is not uncommon for them to spend around 20 hours a day grazing.

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