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June 2011

Five Cheetah Cubs!

Cheetah mouth

Five cheetah cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia on May 28, 2011. Recently the animal care staff had a few brief moments to weigh and inspect the animals. The results: the cubs appear to be healthy, doing well and are very active. On average, the cubs weighed about 2 pounds (less than 1k). Keepers will continue to monitor the newborns, while giving the mother, 6-year-old Amani, privacy to bond with her offspring. 

“When I was weighing the last cub, he was being a very tough little guy,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist. “We’re already starting to see differences in their dispositions and look forward to watching them grow and learning all we can from them.”

Better 5 cheetahs

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Photo Credit: Adrienne Crosier, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Cheetahs, the fastest animals on land, are struggling to outpace threats to their survival in the wild. Because of human conflict, hunting and habitat loss, there are only an estimated 7,500 to 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers cheetahs a vulnerable species. You can read updates on the Smithsonian National Zoo's website.

Video of the cubs after the jump!

Continue reading "Five Cheetah Cubs!" »

Piles o' Pups for Santa Barbara Zoo


Bob and Jillian, the Santa Barabara Zoo's two parent Asian small-clawed otters, have produced another healthy litter of pups (not yet on view) and they recently opened their little eyes for the first time! The new litter of 3 females and 3 males was born on May 21 and they are being raised and cared for in their off-exhibit nesting box by mom and dad and the pair's first litter of 5 pups born last August. As in the wild where the parents keep their pups in a den, these young otters will not leave their behind-the-scenes nesting area for several months; keepers estimate early August.

Photo credits: Sheri Horiszny

Cockahoop About Rare Cockatoo Chicks

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After 19 years of trying,  Keepers at Chester Zoo in the UK have finally succeeded in the breeding of an extremely rare parrot. These three Philippine Cockatoo chicks are the first to be born at the zoo and are being hand-reared after recently hatching in incubators. The chicks, which look a bit like tiny dinosaurs, are now receiving round-the-clock care in their precious early days - and yes, they are nestled in a Walls ice cream tub!

Andy Woolham, Team Manager of Parrots and Penguins, said, “The species has a very aggressive nature and that makes successful breeding a very rare occurrence. That’s why this is incredibly significant for their conservation."

"We have been trying to persuade them to breed since the first birds arrived at the zoo in 1992, Woolham continued. "During this time there has been a program of dietary and environmental review, which has helped us to make changes to how we look after them and ultimately resulted in this success. It has been a long burning ambition of mine and I just can’t stop smiling! It is so important that a secure safety net population of this species is established in zoos.”



3Cockatoo_Kpr Karen Neech
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Also known as the Red Vented Cockatoo, the species is critically endangered in the wild due to a combination of illegal trapping for the pet trade and habitat loss.Chester Zoo supports conservation programs for the species in its natural home and works closely with organisations in the Philippines. These efforts have seen numbers increase over recent years but the species still remains under threat.

Oregon Zoo's Caracal Kittens Turn 2 Weeks Old!


The Oregon Zoo's Caracal triplets born June 8th are ready for their close-ups! These photos, taken just yesterday, show the cubs at precisely two weeks of age. Caracals live in the woodlands and savannas of North Africa, Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. While caracals are listed in the category of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, hunting and habitat loss pose risks to wild populations. 





Photo credits: Michael Durham / Oregon Zoo

Single Snowy Owlet Hatched at Woodland Park Zoo

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Snow is in the forecast at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA, with the hatching of a Snowy Owl chick on June 13!  The chick marks the first offspring between the mom, estimated to be 22 years old, and the father, 14 years old. It's gender has not been determined.

“At this time the chick isn’t visible to visitors because the mom is sitting on the nest and providing very good care,” curator Jennifer Pramuk said in a statement from the Zoo. “Our expert zookeepers are monitoring the owlet, which appears to be in good health. It’s growing very quickly, so visitors should be able to spot it in a week or two.” 

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Photo Credit: James Scott

In zoos, the Snowy Owl population experienced a dramatic decline due to West Nile virus, which is spread by infected mosquitoes to birds. Owls and hawks were especially susceptible to the virus, causing acute death. Few zoos have been successful in breeding Snowy Owls within recent years. 

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Meerkat Kits at Paignton Zoo!

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About a month ago, these tiny Meerkat kits were born at Paignton Zoo in the UK. In these pictures they are about 10 days old.

The babies were born to mum Aurora and dad Kang. A Meerkat mother usually has two to five young, usually once a year, after a gestation period of 11 weeks. Kits come into the world with eyes and ears closed and are sparsely furred. Various adults will baby-sit the youngsters while the mother feeds. 

Group meerkats

Mom kits

The kits are now old enough to be seen on exhibit, and will be a part of the Zoo's Meerkat Encounters. Senior keeper Andrew Fry said: “We take visitors in to meet the mob and talk about their habits and their characteristics, then let people help out at feeding time. The pups are keen to get in on the act!”

A web camera has now been set up overlooking the meerkat enclosure. To view this, go to:

Older meerkat
Photo Credit: Ray Wiltshire

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Point Defiance Zoo's Clouded Leopards at Nine Days


The Clouded Leopard twins born on June 14th at Point Defiance Zoo are back!  These new photos from the zoo show the cubs, which are being hand-raised at just 9 days old. Point Defiance Zoo is one of only three zoos in the country breeding endangered clouded leopards, along with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo & the Nashville Zoo. The birth of the cubs at Point Defiance Zoo brings the total number of cubs born this year in the United States to eight.



Photo credits: Point Defiance Zoo

Baby Bongo Born at Franklin Park Zoo


A bongo calf, the offspring of Annakiya, age 7, and Junior, age 5, was born on exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA, on June 15, before the Zoo opened to the public. The gender has not yet been determined. Mom Annakiya was also born at the Zoo and the calf can be seen on exhibit with her.

“The baby has been observed nursing and is moving around, which are very positive signs. As with all new births, we will closely monitor the mother and baby,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO, adding, “This is not only an exciting birth for the zoo, but it is also a significant one. This calf will join the rest of our animals in delighting visitors and highlighting the importance of protecting natural habitats around the world.”

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 Photo Credit: Photo 1 Sarah Woodruff, Photo 2-4 Christina Demetrio

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First Colobus Monkey Born in Eleven Years!

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On May 20, a male Colobus Monkey was born at the St.Louis Zoo in Missouri. His name is Mosi. This is the first Colobus to be born at the Zoo in 11 years. 

The Zoo said Tuesday that mom Roberta, 23 years old, has been an attentive mother, holding the baby with one arm when moving around and against her abdomen when at rest in the Zoo's Primate House. Mosi is very active; after only a few days in the world he was seen hopping from mom to the ground and back!

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Photo credits: Photos 1 & 2 Ethan Riepl, Photo 3 Robin Winkelman

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Can You Guess What This Image Is? No Scrolling!


If you guessed a baby Kangaroo, you were right! Woodland Park Zoo's six-month-old Tree Kangaroo joey is showing its face a bit more these days, if only in quick peeks. A Tree Kangaroo joey will typically remain in its mother’s pouch for about 10 months. Once out, it’ll continue to return to its mother’s pouch until it is fully weaned, usually at around 13 months. Tree ‘roo mom Elanna is taking good care of the joey and the two are doing well in a quiet, behind-the-scenes exhibit at the zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo is home to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program that is working to protect the endangered tree kangaroo and help maintain the unique biodiversity of its native Papua New Guinea in balance with the culture and needs of human communities.




Photo credits: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

If you’d like to help conserve tree kangaroos, you can go to, or use your cell phone to donate $5 to the program today by texting ROOS to 20222. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. All gifts will be doubled by a generous $1 million match from Conservation International until June 30, 2011. For more info visit