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February 2011

January 2011

Duikers Close-up with a Wide Angle Lens...

Komet the Yellow Backed Duicker at Houston Zoo

Meet Komet, a Yellow-backed Duiker born in early December 9th at the Houston Zoo. These large and gentle antelope live in the rainforests of central and western Africa. When they are alarmed, they flash a vivid yellow wedge of hair on their backs. While duikers are primarily vegetarians, they will eat insects from time to time and have even been observed stalking and eating rodents and small birds!

Komet the Yellow Backed Duicker at Houston Zoo 2

Mama Duiker at the Houston Zoo Mama Duiker at Houston Zoo bPhoto credits: First image, Laurie McGivern, Hoof Stock Supervisor, second and third images Stephanie Adam / Houston Zoo

Leaping Lizards in L.A. and Tampa Bay

My rock! Baby Giant Horned Lizard at the LA ZooToday we bring you back-to-back reptile babies, which means half of our readership just got really excited and the other half just got an uninvited lunchtime surprise! Huge kudos to the L.A. Zoo for breeding the first ever Giant Horned Lizards to be successfully hatched at a North American zoo. “This clutch is a milestone event for the L.A. Zoo and zoos across the continent. These lizards will serve as ambassadors for their species and aid in the study of this species,” said Los Angeles Zoo Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Ian Recchio. When they first hatched, the lizards weighed about one gram and were roughly the size of a nickel. “Giant” is a relative term, so don’t expect them to grow too large; these fierce-looking lizards will reach a maximum length of about 10 inches when full grown, large for this family of lizards.

Fresh out of the egg Giant Horned Lizard hatchling says hello

King of the hill, horned lizard styleAbove photo credits: Tad Motoyama / L.A. Zoo

Though little is known about the giant horned lizard, they are one of the species that is able to squirt blood out of their eyes as a defense mechanism. While this is an interesting and unique trait, Recchio says “L.A. Zoo reptile keepers haven’t witnessed it first hand and that’s a good thing. When horned lizards perform this action it means they are under stress and feel threatened. Since the lizards haven’t displayed this behavior at the Zoo, it indicates they are comfortable in their environment here.”

Mexican Beaded LizardStay away from my stick! - Mexican Beaded Lizard at Busch Gardens Tampa BayPhoto credits immediately above and below: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Next we have a baby Mexican Beaded Lizard, one of only two species of venomous lizards in North America, hatched on January 16, 2011 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Beaded lizards have venom glands in their lower jaws that allow them to chew venom directly into their prey. There is no anti-venom to counteract a beaded lizard bite. Zoo staff named the new beaded lizard "Gaspar" to honor Tampa’s annual pirate festival Gasparilla, during which beads are tossed out from parade floats.

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It's Raining Little Penguins!

A bird in hand... baby penguin at the Cinncinnati Zoo

Apparently it's baby penguin season on ZooBorns with the latest adorable installment coming direct from the Cincinnati Zoo. This Little Penguin chick is just two-weeks old and is currently being cared for behind the scenes, inside the Zoo's Wings of Wonder exhibit.The chick weighs approximately 250 grams (or a quarter-pound), but is expected to weigh just over two pounds as an adult. Mom, “Oreo” (7-years-old) and dad, “Boomer” (8-years-old), were not properly incubating the egg, so staff at the Cincinnati Zoo made the decision to pull the egg and incubate it themselves. Little Penguins are the smallest species of penguin but that doesn't mean this chick doesn't like to eat. Zoo aviculture staff have to feed the demanding little bird six times a day, every three hours. At first it was fed a delicious fish milkshake but has since graduated to slices of fish (sashimi if you will).

Feed me! -  Baby penguin at the Cinncinnati Zoo

Baby penguin at the Cinncinnati Zoo

Don't miss this great video

Cheetah Cubs Receive Clean Bill of Health


The two Cheetah cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in December received their first vaccinations yesterday. At about 8 weeks and 6 weeks old, both cubs appear to be healthy, Zoo veterinarians said after completing the cubs’ health exam. “We were encouraged by the exam,” said Dr. Margarita Woc-Colburn, associate veterinarian at the Zoo. “Both cubs were given a clean bill of health and were great patients. We are hopeful that under our care they will continue to remain healthy as they get older.”



Photo credits: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian's National Zoo

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One Hundred San Diego Zoo Guests Witness Hippo Birth!


A bouncing baby Hippo was born yesterday at the San Diego Zoo in front of about a hundred Zoo guests. The crowd had gathered during the mother’s two-hour labor.  Then, at 11:30 a.m., the mother, Funani, gave birth in the pool. The calf quickly popped up out of the water and took its first breath. It soon was swimming around its mother, which appeared a bit tired from labor.


Photo credits: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

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Checking in on Madrid's Panda Cubs


Back in December we brought you news of Madrid Zoo's Giant Panda cubs and their transition from climate controlled incubator to custom Panda crib. Courtesy of "Pambassador" Jeroen Jacobs, here's another look at the cubs (named De De and Po) as they explore, wrestle, and in the case of Po, harass their sleepy brother. You can learn more about Zoo Madrid's Panda cubs on Jeroen's blog Giant Panda Zoo. While the cubs were safe and sound and/or trouble-making in their crib, mom, Hua Zuiba, was enjoying some personal time outside. Jeroen is one of six Pambassadors sponsored by China to travel to zoos and help document Giant Panda breeding and care. Best job ever? 



Photo credits: Jeroen Jacobs

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First Baby Black Rhino in 20 Years for St. Louis

Mom and calf nuzzle muzzle to muzzle

On January 14th, the St. Louis Zoo welcomed its first Black Rhinoceros calf in 20 years to first-time parents, mother Kati Rain and father Ajabu. Weighing in at a dainty 120-1/2 pounds, the little male is nursing well and being cared for by his mother, according to Zoo staff. The Black Rhino has experienced the most drastic decline of any rhino species. In 1970, it was thought there were about 65,000 black rhinos in Africa. By 1993, there were only 2,300 survivors in the wild. Black rhinos are heavily poached, because it is thought in many Asian countries that the rhino horn has medicinal uses.

Black Rhino calf explores at the St. Louis Zoo 3

Mom imparts important rhino wisdom to juniorPhoto credits: St. Louis Zoo

The Saint Louis Zoo’s black rhinos are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Black Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black rhinos in North American zoos. Currently there are 60 black rhinos in 38 institutions.

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Check Out that Tongue!

Baby Giant Anteater and Mom at San Francisco Zoo 1

Only three days ago we brought you news that the San Francisco Zoo had welcomed a happy and healthy baby Giant Anteater. Well we can't get enough of the long-schnozzed and even longer tongued little critter. These exceptional images were taken by May Woon, a San Francisco Zoo member and volunteer photographer. If you live anywhere in the Bay Area, or have been looking for an excuse to visit, we suggest you make the trip ASAP.

Baby Giant Anteater at San Francisco Zoo 2

Baby Giant Anteater and Mom at San Francisco Zoo 3

Check out that tongue!!! 4Photo credits: May Woon

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Taronga's Gorilla Birth Provides Conservation Hope


A tiny female Western Lowland Gorilla has been born at Taronga Zoo. Born to experienced mother ‘Kriba’ on Saturday January 15, the youngster has been named ‘Kipenzi’ which means ‘precious one’ in Swahili. At just ten days old, the infant and mother, Kriba, are both well and visitors can expect to see glimpses of the newborn in coming days. The baby is Kriba’s 5th and the 8th born since the group arrived at Taronga from Appenheul in Holland in December 1996. The Zoo’s Director, Cameron Kerr, said: “With Gorillas under immense pressure in Africa, each birth is a small step in the efforts by world zoos to provide some level of insurance for a sustainable future for these remarkable great apes.”


Photo credits: Ric Stevens / Taronga Zoo

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