Three New Boys for Zoo Basel’s Lion Pride

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The pride of African Lions, at Zoo Basel, has increased by three this summer. On May 28, Okoa gave birth to two male cubs, and on June 15, Uma delivered another male cub. The two lionesses’ gave birth to their young in the same area and are raising them together. Mbali is father to all three boys and has proven a playful participant in their upbringing. 

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4_11411892_892164597487948_7789860505042479653_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Basel

African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 30-50%, in the last 20 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.

Zoo Basel supports the Big Life Foundation, which works in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem in Kenya to protect the Lions. The Zoo is also a participant in the EAZA Endangered Species Breeding Programme for African Lions.

More incredible pics, below the fold!

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Meet the New Rookie Chicago Cubs

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Kovler Lion House, at Lincoln Park Zoo, is home to an important pair of siblings. Born June 26, the Red Panda cubs are the first of their kind born at Lincoln Park Zoo. The male and female are the offspring of first-time dad, Phoenix, and experienced mom, Leafa. 

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4_Red panda cub exam (1)Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo

The endangered duo currently isn’t visible to the public, nor will they be for some time. Instead, they’re cuddled up in a behind-the-scenes den with mom Leafa, as is typical for the species. They can remain in this cozy space for up to three months, with mom periodically leaving to feed or tend to other needs.

Thanks to a special camera in the den, though, staff can keep an eye on the tiny new arrivals. Red Panda cubs weigh 4-5 ounces at birth and are fully furred, although their coat is yellow as opposed to the bright red of adults. The little ones’ eyes are closed for the first 18 days of life, meaning they’re totally dependent on mom in the crucial early weeks.

The tiny Red Pandas were recently given names in honor of their hometown, Chicago. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, is located at the iconic intersection of the streets Clark and Addison. It seemed fitting to name Chicago's other cubs (Red Panda- that is) in honor of the legendary American team. Lincoln Park Zoo's new male cub has been named Clark, and his sister is now known as Addison.

Sharon Zackfia, a committed supporter of Chicago’s free zoo, selected the city-centric names. “As a longtime lover of Red Pandas, I could not be more excited to have the honor of naming Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs,” she notes. “I am so proud to be a supporter of an institution that has brought so much joy and knowledge to the families of Chicago.”

The cubs themselves continue to do well in their behind-the-scenes den. Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, reports that Clark and Addison are receiving great care from mom Leafa and continuing to hit new milestones. “Their eyes are open now, which is a big development for Red Panda cubs, and it looks like they’ve doubled in size since their physical last week.”

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Lynx Kittens Play All Day

20150717_091006_02_Zoo_Vienna_DxOTwo Lynx kittens born June 5 at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Zoo like to play all day!  The kittens scramble up tree trunks and explore their naturally wooded habitat.  But when they take too many chances, mom grabs them gently by the neck and carries them out of the way.20150716_085211_Zoo_Vienna_DxO

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Foto_42_idPhoto Credits: Norbert Potensky, Franz Wunsch

The kittens are still nursing but have started tasting small pieces of meat.  Finding them in their wooded enclosure requires patience – their brown spotted coats provide excellent camouflage for the youngsters, who are about the size of housecats right now.

Lynx are well adapted to live in temperate forests.  Their huge paws act like snowshoes to prevent the cats from sinking into deep snow.  Tufts of hair at the tips of the ears may contribute to their excellent sense of hearing.

Although not listed as threatened, Lynx are under pressure from legalized hunting and loss of habitat in some areas.

See more photos of the kittens below.

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Little Giants Come Out Of Their Shells

Baby Malaysian Giant Pond Turtle-0005-6886Four rare Turtles have come out of their shells at the Houston Zoo!  These Malaysian Giant Pond Turtles are not often seen in zoos due to their large size and low rate of reproduction in captivity.

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Baby Malaysian Giant Pond Turtle-0004-6878Photo Credit:  Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

Getting out of a shell can be tough work but baby turtles have a special adaptation on their snout: an egg tooth. Also called a caruncle, the egg tooth is a temporary structure that is used to cut through the egg membrane and break through the shell.  Once there is a hole in the egg, the turtle can break out.

The zoo’s journey to this remarkable hatching began when they acquired a group of juvenile Malaysian Giant Pond Turtles in 2002.  The Turtles have reached maturity, and these hatchlings are the result.

At the Houston Zoo, this species inhabits the moat surrounding the Orangutan exhibit, but the Turtles are very secretive and not often seen.  They feed on fish, plants, and fruits.

Malaysian Giant Pond Turtles are found in rivers and lakes on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra.  Adults can reach almost three feet in length and can weigh over 100 pounds. Listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Malaysian Giant Pond Turtles are heavily exploited for their meat, and populations are in decline throughout their native range.

See more photos of the Turtles below.

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Drill Troop at Hellabrunn Welcomes Newest Member

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The newest member of the Drill troop at Hellabrunn Zoo was born June 24th.  The tiny male, named Pinto, is the offspring of dad, Bakut (12), and experienced mom Kaduna (10).  

This is Kaduna’s third baby; her two oldest sons are Nepomuk, who was born on 8 May 2013, and Oneto, born on 11 September 2014. The Drill family at the zoo in Munich is now comprised of seven members: Bakut, Kaduna, Afi, Nepomuk, Napongo, Oneto and the new baby. 

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4_Drill-Jungtier Pinto mit Mama Kaduna_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc  Müller (4)Photo Credits: Marc Müller

Zoo director Rasem Baban is delighted with the birth of the new baby, "In just two years, four Drill babies were born at Hellabrunn, three of which are the offspring of Kaduna and Bakut. We are especially proud of the successful breeding, as Drills are among the most endangered primate species in the world. Little Pinto now lives with his brothers and the three adult Drills, in the Monkey World at Hellabrunn, where he can join in exploring the newly designed outdoor enclosure with natural rock walls and climbing facilities, as well as many plants and a water course."

At the moment, Pinto prefers clinging to mama Kaduna’s belly. This is the safest place for him, and he knows he won't have to go far to get mama's milk. The baby of the family needs a lot of milk, so Kaduna currently prefers to eat energy-boosting foods such as bananas and protein-rich pellets. In addition to draining the mother's energy, a lot of patience is required to raise the young baby. Infant drills, like Pinto, are suckled up to a year, but they also begin to try solid food a few months after birth. Adult Drills, at Hellabrunn Zoo, eat mainly vegetables (lettuce and leeks) and all kinds of fruit.

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New Pygmy Slow Loris Baby in Cleveland

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The Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to some pretty amazing creatures, especially the unique prosimians housed in the building's nocturnal wing.

One of the exhibits is home to Pygmy Slow Lorises, and one of the newest residents is a baby weighing just 130 grams. The baby loris, whose gender has yet to be determined, was born on May 18 to mom Tevy (12), and dad Tai (9). 

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4_KCL_5765Photo Credits: Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks

"Having a baby Pygmy Slow Loris is a pretty significant occurrence," said Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. "There are only 21 AZA accredited facilities in the entire U.S. where this type of loris can be seen on exhibit. We're extremely proud of our zoological programs staff for the care they give these rare animals. This is our seventh successful Pygmy Slow Loris birth since 1998."

The mother has been in Cleveland since 2013, and the father arrived in 2011. The baby brings the Zoo's number of Pygmy Slow Lorises up to six.

The Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) is a member of the prosimian family, which are generally small, mostly nocturnal primates that are not quite monkeys or apes. This family also includes: lemurs, tarsiers, pottos and the aye-aye. Pygmy Slow Lorises are native to the forests and bamboo groves of Southeast Asia, including Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Adults can grow up to 8 inches long and weigh only 12 ounces.

The Pygmy Slow Loris is classified as "Vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Zoo participates in the Pygmy Slow Loris Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Species Survival Plans are cooperative breeding and management groups for endangered or threatened species. SSPs identify population management goals and make recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied population. The new loris baby is a very significant birth as there are only 61 Pygmy Slow Lorises in North American zoos.

All eight species of Slow Loris are threatened by exploitation for the pet and tourist photo prop trades, traditional medicine, and habitat loss. In partnership with field conservation partner Dr. Anna Nekaris and the Little Fireface Project, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo protects Slow Lorises by studying their ecology to inform conservation measures and conducting education and awareness program aimed at addressing the trade in Slow Lorises.

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

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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. 

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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!

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‘Punk-Rock’ Primates Born at Cotswold Wildlife Park

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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. 

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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!

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Dallas Zoo Welcomes Iconic Texas Hatchlings

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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