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May 2011

Dropping the Otter Bomb at Oakland Zoo


On February 15th, Ginger, the Oakland Zoo's four-year-old female North American River Otter, gave birth to her first litter; one male named Ahanu and one female named Tallulah. Each pup weighed approximately 100 grams at birth, and were about the size of a stick of butter.

River Otters are one of the few species that exhibit a phenomenon called delayed implantation. This means otters breed in the spring but the fertilized egg doesn’t actually implant until fall. Since North American River otters are not very prolific breeders, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums makes annual breeding recommendations. When Ginger arrived at the Oakland Zoo in 2008, she was just one year old and too young to breed, but the Association of Zoo and Aquariums eventually wanted her to breed with our twelve year old male Heath.




Photo credits: Oakland Zoo

More photos below the fold...

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Six Feet of Joy for Dublin Zoo


Dublin Zoo welcomed a newborn Giraffe at 11.45am on Monday morning. The male calf stands tall at 1.8 metres (6 ft) and weighs approximately 40kgs (88 lbs). The giraffe calf will make his first appearance in the African Savanna on Saturday to celebrate Africa Day (21st May). The new arrival joins his mother Hailey, father Robin and sister Kuliko along with the other five Giraffes in the herd.

Helen Clarke-Bennet, team leader of the African Plains said, “He is a beautiful strong and healthy calf. He is much paler than his sister Kuliko with splashes of black hair from his knees to his feet.



Photo credits: Dublin Zoo

Trio of Tiger Cubs Born at Palm Beach Zoo


Berapi, the Palm Beach Zoo’s female Malayan tiger gave birth on Thursday, May 12th, to a trio of cubs. This marks the first tiger birth to ever happen at the zoo.

Berapi began showing signs of labor early in the evening and by 10:48 p.m. the first cub was born. Over the next several hours, two more cubs came into the world. The Mom is exhibiting excellent maternal behaviors while Zoo staff continue round-the-clock monitoring of her and the cubs using video cameras to minimize any intrusion during this very sensitive time.


Based on video footage, all three cubs appear healthy. Neonatal exams will be performed in the near future and the sex of the cubs will be determined then. But for now, Palm Beach Zoo President Terry Maple says they are letting the mother take care of her babies.


The birth of healthy cubs at the Palm Beach Zoo is a significant achievement, as the cubs will be important contributors to the genetic diversity of the overall population. These cubs are only the second litter of Malayan tigers to be born in captivity this year. Malayan tigers are among the smallest of the tiger species and named after the Malay Peninsula where they are found. In the 1950's there were an estimated 3,000 tigers there but today, fewer than 500 are estimated to be left in the wild.

The video below starts with night vision footage of the babies first moments of life.

Initially, decline in tiger numbers was primarily due to a great loss of habitat but more recently, the greater threat has been from poaching for its body parts, persecution by angry villagers, and starvation as their prey is over-harvested.

Yellow Mongoose Pups Just Days Old

Yellow Mongoose Pups Durrell 4

Three Yellow Mongoose babies were born last Sunday night (about one week ago from when these pictures were taken) to first time parents Basil and Sybil at Durrell Wildlife Trust. Yellow Mongoose litters usually consist of one or two individuals so having three is currently keeping Sybil very busy, but she is proving to be a great first time mom. Yellow Mongooses live with meerkats in the wild, and this natural behaviour is replicated at the conservation charity’s headquarters in the Channel Islands.

Yellow Mongoose Pup Carried by Mom Durrell 2

Yellow Mongoose Pups Durrell 3

At the moment the new babies are being kept hidden away by mum, their eyes have not yet opened and they are not strong enough to fend for themselves. But in another week or so they will be exploring outside, meeting their meerkat neighbours and in just a couple of months they will be completely weaned!

Gouda Goes for a Swim (more like a splash)

Gouda the Seal Alaska SeaLife Center

Last week we brought out the story of Gouda, a four day old orphan Harbor Seal pup rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center. Now just over a week old, Gouda's progress has been great and the little pup is getting stronger everyday. ASL keepers give the baby buckets of ice to help regulate her body temperature, ensuring she doesn't get too warm or too cold. In the video below, Gouda gets some exercise by splashing around in a mixture of salt and freshwater. Harbor seal pups are fast growers and are weaned off of their mothers milk within 4-6 weeks of birth.

Gouda the Seal enjoys ice cubes as ASL

Rare Black Lion Tamarin Born at Durrell

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This week keepers at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust were delighted to welcome a healthy male Black Lion Tamarin, the first born in captivity outside of Brazil in eight years! Mark Brayshaw, Head of Durrell’s animal collection said, “This baby is incredibly important to the European Endangered Species Program. There is still a very long way to go to ensure that the captive population’s viability is assured, but this is most definitely a step in the right direction.”

Baby Tamarin 2011 02 - web


This baby has been named Francisco after the Head of Durrell’s Veterinary Department who delivered him. He is the first healthy baby born to new mum Roxanne, who has previously lost two babies and suffered several miscarriages. Due to her previous problems the decision was made to monitor her four and a half month pregnancy carefully and to deliver the baby by caesarean section at the appropriate time. You can see a video below that includes the C-section at the end.

Baby Tamarin 2011 02 - web (3)
Photo credits: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

So far both mother and baby are doing well. The infant is being hand-reared and syringe fed every two hours throughout the day and night. Over the next few weeks they will slowly teach him to lap milk from a dish; when he is able to do this successfully he can be returned to his family.

The video below contains grahic but fascinating footage of the actual c-section operation.

Amur Tiger Triplets!


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three Amur Tiger cubs. Parents, Tatiana and Toma, welcomed the trio – two boys and a girl -- in the afternoon hours on May 7, the day before Mother’s Day. Mother Tatiana, 11, and father Toma, 10, were introduced to each other this past December. It is the second litter of cubs for Tatiana. Her first, consisting of Korol, Kunali and Naka, was born on June 7, 2004. Brothers, Korol and Kunali, now reside at The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, while Naka lives at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, where she has been recommended for breeding.


Photo credits: Courtesty of Amelia Beamish, AB Photography

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Narragansett Turkey Poult is Ready for Her Close Up


Meet Barley, Knoxville Zoo's two-week-old Narragansett Turkey poult (the technical term for a new hatchling). Barley is a pretty important little bird, because Narragansett Turkeys are globally endangered; they are a heritage breed that fell out of fashion years ago, and now there are fewer than 1000 breeding birds in the U.S. Soon, Barley will be big enough to go on exhibit at the zoo.



Photo credits: Knoxville Zoo

Precious Primate Premieres at Dudley Zoo

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This little Bornean Orangutan, born six weeks ago, made her debut to the public late last week when mom Jazz brought her into the viewing area of the great ape house at Dudley Zoological Gardens. Jazz held her tiny baby close in her arms and could be seen patting Sprout's back as visitors looked on.

Sprout had been nurtured in a quiet, private area since her birth - until Thursday.  Keeper David Zebedee said of Jazz, ”She’s now doing the proud mum bit and showing Sprout to visitors."

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Sprout weighs approximately four pounds (1.81 kilos), but she’s growing fast. Once weaned (at approximately eight to 12 months), she can begin to add solids to her diet along with mothers milk, which she'll continue until she's three.

DZG sprout7 web

DZG sprout10 web

Photo Credit courtesy of Dudley Zoological Gardens

David added, “She’s a beautiful baby, and very special too, as the species is so endangered in the wild.” Bornean orangutans only give birth every eight years, adding to the species endangerment caused by the pet trade and habitat loss due to logging and the palm oil business. Not long ago it was thought there was only one species of orangutan, but genetic research found that there are two - Bornean and Sumatran. Both live in Southeast Asia.

Bouncing Baby Bull Born to First-Time Mom


After a gestation period of 670 days, Munich's Tierpark Hellabrunn’s  9-year-old Indian elephant Temi gave birth to her first calf in the evening on Friday, May 6. The newest addition to the herd is a boy – called a bull – and he came into the world weighing 257 lbs (117 kilos)!

“We are overjoyed that Munich has a healthy baby elephant once more,” said Mayoress and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Christine Strobl. Zoo Director, Dr Andreas Knierim added: “Although it’s her first baby, Temi is taking excellent care of her newborn son. It is beautiful to watch both of them.”


Photo Credit: courtesy of Teirpark Hellabrunn

Elephants are the largest terrestrial animals There are two species – African and Asian Elephants (Indian elephants like Tami are a subspecies of Asian elephants). Today, both are endangered. Twenty-five years ago there was approximately 1.3 million elephants in African alone, but now the estimate has sunk to close to 500,000. Even less are to be found in Asia.