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January 2011
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February 2011

Breeding Rare Toads for an Amphibian Ark

A. limosus (lowland) 3

Amphibian populations worldwide are in crisis. A mysterious but far-reaching fungal disease has spread globally and threatens to kill off entire species. Thankfully, organizations like the Smithsonian Institution are doing their part to help. These endangered Limosa Harlequin Frogs, which are technically toads, were bred as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. The project aims to build an ark to house priority rescue species and find a cure so that one day our assurance populations can be put back in the wild.

The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is a joint project between the Smithsonian Institution, Defenders of Wildlife, Zoo New England, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Houston Zoo, El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, Africam Safari, ANAM and the Summit Zoo (in Panama). Learn more and find out how you can help on their website or show your support on their Facebook page today!

Atelopus limosus lowland juvenile 1

Atelopus limosus baby 2Photo credits: Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Baby Ijsberen at Ouwehands!

Polar Bear cubs at Ouwehands Zoo

On November 25th, Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands welcomed two little Polar Bear cubs to mama bear "Freedom." Named Siki and Sesi, the cubs have spent the last few months sleeping, eating and rough-housing in the den and have just emerged to enjoy the frosty weather. In Dutch, Polar Bears are called Ijsberen (ice bears), a fitting name for a species that spends the majority of its life on snow and ice. Enjoy the outstanding videos provided by Ouwehands Zoo below. (Above photo credit: Clovis Flos)

Bear fight!

Want to freak out your dogs? Play this video of the very young cubs making a screeching racket in the den.

Eora the Koala Emerges in Beauval


Excitement is in the air at Beauval Zoo, as France's newest little Koala joey, Eora, has just fully emerged from her mother's pouch. Named after the aboriginal word for "here" the tiny Joey was only 2 cm long when she was born in late May. Koala joeys typically spend the first six to eight months of life hidden safely inside their mother's pouch. While Eora may have outgrown the cozy pouch, she's definitely not too old for piggy-back rides! In the wild, Koala's are threatened by human encroachment, which carves up their range into tiny parcels and increases the threats of fire and attacks by domestic animals.



Photo credits: Beauval Zoo

Critically Endangered Cubs at Bristol Gardens

Lion cubs at Bristol Zoo. Credit Bristol Zoo Gardens 4

Born Christmas Eve, twin little Asiatic Lion cubs have just begun to emerge at Bristol Zoo Gardens. The 10 week old cubs, one male and one female, are quite shy and spend most of their days enjoying quiet time in the den or hiding in the undergrowth of their outdoor enclosure. However, Assistant Curator of Mammals, Mel Bacon, reports that “Both cubs are fit, healthy and strong and have been suckling well, and Shiva is proving to be an excellent first-time mother. The cubs have recently started to eat meat and are getting more adventurous, exploring their enclosure." Asiatic lions are critically endangered and there are only around 400 left in the wild.  Two thousand years ago they once roamed the whole of the Middle East. More recently they were widespread throughout northern India and Pakistan, but their numbers have been drastically reduced by hunting and habitat destruction.

Ferocious Lion Cub at Bristol Zoo. Credit Shaun Thompson 2

Lion cubs at Bristol Zoo. Credit Bristol Zoo Gardens 1Photo credits: Photos 1 and 3 Bristol Zoo Gardens. Photo 2 Shaun Thompson

To help protect the Asiatic lion from extinction, Bristol Zoo Gardens is participating in an internationally co-ordinated conservation breeding programme. There are fewer than 100 Asiatic lions in captivity throughout the world and it is important to ensure that all lions are pure bred and that pairs are not closely related to one another. Bristol Zoo’s cubs will eventually be introduced to new, un-related, animals as part of the breeding programme.

This is the first time Bristol Zoo has bred cubs in 10 years - previous cubs were born in 2001 and 1998.

Just Hanging Out With Mom!

Baby sloth clings to mom at Lincoln Park Zoo 1

A one-week-old Hoffman’s two-toed sloth clings to its mother today at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. The youngster was born on Feb. 15 to the 20-year-old, first-time mom. Despite the mother being new and inexperienced, animal care staff reports that she is being very attentive and caring to the youngster. The baby is nursing, clinging well, and appears healthy. The baby has not yet been named, and its sex is currently unknown. The mother and baby can been seen daily in the zoo’s Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.

Baby sloth face and mom at Lincoln Park Zoo 2

Baby sloth sleeps on mom at Lincoln Park Zoo 3Photo 1 and 3 credits: Lincoln Park Zoo / John Kortas. Photo 2 credits: Lincoln Park Zoo / Julie Ann Platt

King Vulture Chick - Just 70 Hours Old!


France's Mulhouse Zoo has welcomed a male King Vulture chick.  The hatchling posed two days ago for these glamour shots by Life On White only 70 hours after its birth. Keepers must feed the chick with a lifelike puppet, or surrogate, so that the young bird does not associate human hands with food. Eventually, he will move to another zoo to live with a female King Vulture. King Vultures live predominently in the lowland tropical forests of Central and South America. New evidence that wild populations of King Vultures are in decline points to habitat destruction and poaching as the primary threats to this unique bird species.



Photo credits: Life on White

Little Phoenixes at the Taipei Zoo

Great Argus Hen and Chicks 1s

ZooBorns has been working hard to encourage more submissions from zoos in Asia and we are thrilled to share our first submission from Taiwan's Taipei Zoo - two recently hatched Great Argus chicks! Taipei Zoo keepers were concerned because the eggs were hatched February 7, just before Chinese New Year when visitorship to the Zoo is especially high and could prove disruptive to the new family. However after 26 days, two healthy Great Argus chicks were hatched and have quickly followed mom's lead, foraging for food, hopping up to perch next to mom in branches, and otherwise sticking close to mom's feet. This rare pheasant species, also called a phoenix throughout much of Asia, is known for elaborate courtship displays and monogamous relationships but struggles with habitat destruction and over-hunting throughout most of its range. 

Great Argus Hen and Chicks 3c

Great Argus Hen and Chicks 1Photo credits: Taipei Zoo

Little Pandas Grow Up So Fast!

Panda Cubs at Madrid Zoo 2

It seems like only yesterday (more specifically, last October) that ZooBorns was announcing the birth of two tiny Giant Panda cubs at Madrid Zoo. Today "Pambassador" Jeroen Jacobs sent us new photos of the troublemaking duo and it appears they have almost outgrown their custom built Panda crib. Between time with mom, feedings with the keepers and rough-housing, cubs "De-De" and "Po" are growing up big and strong. 

Panda Cubs at Madrid Zoo 8

Panda Cubs at Madrid Zoo 1

Panda Cubs at Madrid Zoo 5

Many more pics below the fold

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A Star Is Born in Chattanooga!


Chattanooga Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of a tiny Snow Leopard cub. Born January 10th, the cub is growing quickly and currently weighs in at around 5 pounds. For some time, zoo keepers weren't even sure that mother Kasmir was pregnant, becuase captive Snow Leopard births are so rare this time of year. These rare Leopards are endangered in the wild, and institutions such as the Chattanooga Zoo play a vital role in building awareness of their plight and that of their threatened mountain habitat.




Photo credits: Chattanooga Zoo


Green Tree Python Babies Slither into Houston

Green Tree Pythons brown baby 4

Green Tree Pythons are a favorite among reptile fans due to their vibrant green color. However, zoo visitors are often amazed to see that newly hatched babies are either bright yellow or brick red. The Houston Zoo recently hatched 18 little Green Tree Pythons, 8 yellow and 10 red.  These colors help them hide in their preferred habitat, which is in low lying tree branches along the forest edge. When they grow to about 22 inches long their color changes to bright green - sometimes this color change can occur in only 8 days! The red and yellow colors are not related to sex or any other trait. While these reptiles may eventually reach over 4 1/2 feet in length, at birth they are about the length of a pencil. 

Green Tree Python hatching 2

Green Tree Pythons curled around branch 1

(Below) An adult Green Tree Python in its trademark colors

Adult color Green Tree Python Houston Zoo1Photo credits: Stephanie Adams

More photos and info below the fold

Continue reading "Green Tree Python Babies Slither into Houston" »