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July 2011

Gorilla Birth at San Diego Zoo

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Kokamo, San Diego Zoo's  22-year old Western Gorilla, cradles her baby, who was born at 9 p.m. on June 17, 2011. It was determined that the infant was a male and he has been named Monroe! Monroe is the first gorilla born at the Safari Park since October 2000.

Both mother and baby are doing great and keepers report that the mother is taking excellent care of the baby, which is nursing often. The animal care staff report a very strong bond. A newborn gorilla grows quickly and can be expected to learn to walk on its own by six months; by 18 months of age, it can follow Mom on foot for short distances. Gorillas have been known to nurse for up to three years.

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Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park now has 6 western gorillas, a species listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.Western gorillas live primarily with in tropical rain forests. A great deal of their habitat has been destroyed for roads and developments which have helped with the Gorillas decline in population. All gorillas are threatened due to poaching, hunting, habitat loss and many other reasons, most of them human induced.

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Pygmy Slow Loris Birth Helps Boost Numbers

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This Pygmy Slow Loris baby, a vulnerable primate species, has been born at Shepreth Wildlife Park, delighting keepers after the mom's long, 6 month pregnancy. The Pygmy Slow Loris was the first official EEP (European Endangered Species Program) that the Wildlife Park joined. The male and female, who were introduced back in November 2010 under the recommendation of the EEP co-ordinator, have been transferred from other European collections and matched for their genetic diversity.

There is thought to only be 70,000 animals left in the wild, so with just under 100 individuals in the European captive breeding program, this birth has been well received by the wildlife park and co-ordinator of the program. “We are delighted to have positively contributed. Breeding endangered species, and raising both awareness and funds about the different plights such species face in the wild, is the direction in which Shepreth Wildlife Park wants to continue.”

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Photo Credit: Shepreth Wildlife Park

In the wild this nocturnal primate is found in the tropical dry forests of Vietnam, Laos, China and Cambodia. The Vietnam war nearly wiped out this species when forests were cut down or burnt. While military action has since stopped, unfortunately the destruction of forests for agricultural and development purposes continues today, alongside animals disappearing into the illegal pet-trade and medicinal market, where body parts are used in traditional medicines.


A Trio of Fuzzy: Southern Screamer Chicks

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Three Southern Screamer chicks hatched at Paignton Zoo, UK, on May 13, 2011. The father of these chicks came to Paigntion Zoo from Paris in September 2006.The mother arrived at Paignton Zoo in December 2006 from Blackbrook Zoo in the UK.

The Southern Screamer mates for life (the bird is thought to live around 15 years). Courtship involves loud calling by both sexes; this can be heard some two miles away. They nest on a platform of reed and straw near water. The female lays up to seven white eggs. The pair share incubation duties, which takes around 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks. Southern Screamers are native to South America.

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Photo Credit: Ray Wiltshire


Eight Tiny Hooves: Visayan Warty Pigs Born at Belfast Zoo

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Keepers at Belfast Zoo UK are delighted to hear the pitter patter of tiny trotters after the recent birth of Maleah and Malu, two very special Visayan Warty Pigs. Proud parents Malcolm and Mabel arrived at their newly renovated Belfast Zoo enclosure in March/April 2010 from Chester Zoo and Rotterdam Zoo. The pair soon became inseparable and three weeks ago welcomed their new arrivals. 

Zoo manager, Mark Challis is delighted with this achievement, saying, “The whole Zoo team is delighted and extremely proud that within just one year we have been able to renovate an enclosure, introduce two new critically endangered animals and successfully breed two piglets!"

"Visayan Warty Pigs are the most critically endangered of all wild pigs," he continued. "And while historically they were native to six islands within the Philippines they have already become extinct on four of them due to deforestation. And they are hunted for meat and by farmers to protect their harvest. With such a high risk of extinction in the wild, it makes the birth of Maleah and Malu very special and a real achievement for Belfast Zoo.” 

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Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

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Seeing Double: Sumatran Tiger Cubs at Frankfurt Zoo

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Two Sumatran Tiger cubs were born in early May, 2011 at Zoo Frankfurt in Germany, to mother Malea. Tiger cubs often stay with their mothers for about a year and a half, before venturing off on their own. They made their debut in the habitat on May 25 and seem to trade off between romping and napping. These pictures show the cubs at just five weeks old.

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Photo credits: Emmanuel Keller

This tiger is named for its home, the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Javan and Bali tigers, the other two Indonesian tiger sub-species, are now both extinct. Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species, with only about 400 remaining in the wild, according to the Sumatran Tiger Trust. About 350 live in captivity. Human impact and deforestation are the main reason for the decline of the Sumatran tiger population.


Four New Meerkat Kits Add to the Mob at Belfast Zoo

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At the end of May, four meerkat kits came into the world at Belfast Zoo in the UK.For the past four weeks, mom Fraggle has been caring for her babies in their underground burrow. But just a few days ago, the four kits emerged for the first time! They are enjoying the sunlight and beginning to explore their habitat with their parents. 

Belfast Zoo manager, Mark Challis is delighted with the new arrivals, “The meerkats are definitely one of the most popular animals in the zoo and in the past few years we have had great success with our breeding group. In fact, last year several of our meerkats were transferred to other zoos in the UK and have since gone on to have their own young.”

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Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

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Update: How Does A Baby Hippo Play Under Water?

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You may remember that a baby Hippo was born in late January 2011 at the San Diego Zoo, in front of about a hundred zoo guests. A crowd gathered during the mother’s two-hour labor to watch as mom Funani gave birth in the pool. At 11:30 a.m. You can read more about that and see the earlier Hippo baby pictures and video by CLICKING HERE.

The baby has been determined to be a male and was named Adhama. He is now 5 months old.

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Photo Credit: Sand Diego Zoo

And exactly how does a baby hippo play under water?

 

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It's A Girl! Baby Asian Elephant Born at St. Louis Zoo

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The Saint Louis Zoo announced the birth of a female Asian elephant on June 24, 2011, to mom Rani, who is 15 years old.

"Mother and baby are bonding very well," says Curator of Mammals Martha Fischer. "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around." The elephant care staff hasn't yet confirmed the weight or height, because Rani is being very protective of her newborn.

This is Rani's second baby and the third for Raja, the baby's father. Raja was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Now, at age 18, he has his own family, with daughter Maliha, born on August 2, 2006, and Rani's first daughter, Jade, born February 25, 2007.

"The River's Edge staff has been busy preparing for this particular baby for the past two years, says Fischer. "It's so rewarding to have made it to this day. We are all just overjoyed to have the baby with us and welcome a new member to our family."

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Photo Credit: Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo

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