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March 2011

Bristol Zoo's Lion Twins Make Their Public Debut


The twin Asiatic lion cubs born at Bristol Zoo Gardens made their public debut last Friday. The cubs - a boy and a girl - are just 10 weeks old and were born on Christmas eve to first time mum, Shiva, and dad Kamal. Asiatic lions are critically endangered and there are only around 400 left in the wild. Since their birth, the cubs have been monitored in the cubbing den via a CCTV system by Bristol Zoo’s experienced mammal team.


Birds? Reptiles? Endangered Ground Hornbill Chicks!


Southern Ground Hornbills are charismatic and highly intelligent birds but they are also endangered. Their main threats are the loss of suitable habitat and trees for nesting as well as secondary poisoning. To make matters worse, they breed at a mature age of 8 years and older and on average they only raise one chick to fledgling every 9 years. They lay 2 eggs but raise only one. The Johannesburg Zoo has formed a partnership with the Mabula Ground Hornbill conservation project to make a difference. Kate Meares, Project Manager, explains that they carefully observe nests of these very private birds and only collect the second chick for hand-rearing but only if the first chick appears healthy. Chicks are collected form Kruger National Park and the Association of Private Nature reserves in Mpumalanga. These chicks (transported in a polystyrene traveling box) are driven to Johannesburg Zoo on the same day and into the safe and caring hands of Lara Jordan, Curator of birds at the Johannesburg Zoo.



Photo credits: The Johannesburg Zoo

Once hatched, they are fed every 2 hours. The time in between is spent preparing their diet, cleaning the chicks and doing necessary health checks. Food preparation includes skinning, mice, rats, day old chicks and rabbits and chopping up meat, as these birds are carnivorous.  This intensive period lasts for approximately 1 month. To ensure consistent care (as if you were the parent bird) Lara says it is better to have one person taking care of these precious chicks, hence the lack of sleep. She has been successful with all four chicks and they are now at a stage where they have daily visits to the adult pair of Southern Ground Hornbills housed at the Zoo. The chicks can be viewed at the Ground Hornbill enclosure at the Zoo in the mornings and afternoons depending on the weather. They are in a smaller separate holding space carefully looked after by keepers. They will be at the Zoo for some time and the hope is that they shall be released back into the wild.

Merten's Water Monitor Hatches Before your Eyes!


A Mertens’ Water Monitor hatched from its egg last week in the World of Reptiles nursery at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.  The hatchling measured more than eight inches from nose to tail once it freed itself from the egg, which is approximately the same size as a chicken egg. The hatchling is one of 9 siblings at the Zoo.  Mertens’ Water Monitors are a protected species native to Australia and are threatened by collection for the pet trade. WCS works around the globe to protect wildlife and wild places and stop the illegal collection of wild animals.






Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society

Houston's Maned Wolf Pups Are All Ears


Dora and Diego, Houston Zoo's Maned Wolf pups are growing fast, but perhaps not as fast as their ears!  The two were born in late December and are being hand-reared at The Denton Cooley Animal Hospital. In order to help Dora and Deigo prepare for socialization with other wolves, Houston Zoo enlisted the help of an experienced "Mom". According to the zoo's blog, "the best option would have been to introduce them to another Maned Wolf litter that was being mother-raised but there were no other females due at the same time as our pups. So we looked internally and one candidate stood out as being right for the job: Taji, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.  Taji was raised with the cheetahs and works as part of our Cheetah Ambassador Program."




The pups cuddle up to auntie Taji...

Photo credits: Houston Zoo

More cuteness below the fold...

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Rescued Alligator Finds Home at San Francisco Zoo


There is a new face at the San Francisco Zoo and he is indeed one lucky Alligator. Named after one of the jazzy legends of New Orleans, Miles is a young American Alligator that was rescued in the thick grasses of East New Orleans. He now joins the Zoo family and will become an important ambassador in many of the Zoo’s education programs.

Photo credits: San Francisco Zoo

Miles was found on the grounds of a school and was rescued by an individual who was mowing the lawn on a ride-on mower. The individual saw something moving in the grass and stopped to find out what was causing the stir. To his surprise, it was a tiny Alligator. Miles was brought to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, but it was too late for him to be released back into the wild with another group of young Alligators. The San Francisco Zoo had an older alligator that was ready to return to the wild, which allowed the Zoo to provide a home for this rescued gator. This was the perfect scenario for young Miles, and Zoo staff anticipate he’ll be on exhibit sometime next week at the Koret Animal Resource Center.

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Giraffe Is First Birth at Houston Zoo's African Forest


The Houston Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a female Masai Giraffe, the first birth in The African Forest, the Zoo’s newest addition which opened on December 10, 2010.  Mom Tyra delivered the healthy female calf shortly after 5 p.m. on March 4 at the McGovern Giraffe Exhibit at The African Forest following a 14 month pregnancy. “The calf weighs 150 pounds and is 6 foot 6 inches tall. She’s a strong healthy baby,” said Houston Zoo Hoofed Stock Supervisor Laurie McGivern. This is 12 year old Tyra’s sixth calf.  Kiva, the father is 15 years old.  With this new arrival, the Houston Zoo’s herd of Masai giraffe has grown to 8, including 5 males and 3 females.


reciprocal giraffe kisses...


Photo credits: Stephanie Adams / Houston Zoo

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A Second Miracle at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo


The Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Lindner Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) are excited to announce the birth of the world’s first endangered cat produced by Oviductal Artificial Insemination (AI)!  Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s veterinarian and a handful of other Zoo animal care specialists conducted their first physical examination of the Brazilian Ocelot kitten today, six weeks after its January 22 birth, and determined it’s a girl, weighing in at three pounds. This AI kitten is the second born to the mother, Kuma, who previously gave birth in 2008 to a healthy kitten conceived using the traditional AI method.  Kuma is the first Ocelot to have multiple pregnancies and kittens produced by AI. 





Photo credits: 1st photo by Chris Eastland / 2nd - 6th photos by Shannon Calvert

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Endangered Golden Lion Tamarin Clings to Mom

Golden-lion-tamarin-baby-best-credit-Katie-Clemons copy

A bright orange Golden Lion Tamarin has been born at the Santa Barbara Zoo. This is the second viable birth at the Zoo of this small endangered species of monkey from the Brazilian rainforests (called “GLTs” by keepers). Adult GLTs weigh about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds and are roughly ten inches tall, with tails up to 15 inches long. The infant is currently about the size of a C-battery and spends most of its time clinging to its mother’s back. It appears to be in good health and will be examined by the Zoo veterinarian when it is old enough, to determine its sex, weight and other medical details. The Zoo has exhibited GLTs since 1983.


Golden lion tamarin baby profile credit Katie Clemons copy
Photo credits: Katie Clemons

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Zoo Miami Makes History with Giant Otter Pups


For only the second time in history, Giant River Otters have been successfully bred at a North American zoo. Born January 31st at Zoo Miami, there are two pups, one male and one female, each weighing between 2 and 3lbs. While they might be small now, these pups will grow up to be truly giant at a length of 6ft and a weight of around 75 lbs.! This landmark event represents the culmination of years of collaboration between Zoo Miami, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Cali Zoo in Columbia and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment.



Photo credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami

Since their birth, the parents and pups have been left alone in seclusion because of how sensitive they can be to external activity. After giving the parents and pups several weeks alone to bond and establish themselves, they were briefly separated yesterday (for the first time) so that the Zoo’s veterinarian could perform a neonatal exam on the newborns.  Neither of the pups has opened their eyes yet but all indications from the quick exam are that they appear to be healthy and strong.

A first-time mother, Kara was born at the Philadelphia Zoo in March of 2005 and arrived at Zoo Miami on June 4th, 2008.  She is on loan from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources in Brazil.  The first time father’s name is “Witoto,” and he is on loan from the Cali Zoo in Cali, Colombia where he was born in April of 2004.  This is truly an international collaboration in an effort to preserve this extremely rare animal!  The pair has been a visitor favorite at “Amazon and Beyond” since the exhibit’s opening in 2008.

More photos below the fold!

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Baby Octopus Explosion! (On Video)

Baby Octopus Vulgaris at the California Academy of Sciences

Shortly after being put on exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences, this Caribbean Octopus vulgaris took up residence inside a glass bottle, on full view for adoring fans. Just as quickly, it moved back under a rock and started denning, and laying eggs. While eggs being laid in captivity is generally an exciting event, this particular species, like many but not all octopus, stops eating after it lays eggs and dies soon after they hatch which tends to put a damper on the joyous occasion. The biologist responsible for their care, Richard Ross, caught the hatching of the eggs from start to finish on film, and describes it as a waterfall flowing upwards toward the water's surface. Now, Ross faces the difficult task of trying to support thousands of tiny hatchlings. This species is "small egged" meaning it produces large numbers of very small planktonic 'paralarvae' which are notoriously difficult to feed and raise. The adult female and hatchlings will be on display for as long as possible in the Staff Picks area of Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences.

Yup, those little guys are what you think they are. Lots of baby octopuses!  Lots and lots of Baby Octopus Vulgaris at the California Academy of SciencesVideo and stills taken by Rich Ross, California Academy of Sciences

More pictures below the fold

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