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July 2011
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August 2011

Fishing Cat Kittens Just Two Weeks Old!

Fishing Cat Kittens 01 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Three Fishing Cat kittens, two males and one female, were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Jul. 29, 2011. These photos were taken during a routine vet check-up, but for now these water-loving felines are with their mother in a secluded den where they will remain for the next few weeks. This is the first offspring for this pair of Fishing Cats that came to the Columbus Zoo in 2010 as part of the Species Survival Plan for these endangered animals.

Fishing Cat Kittens 02 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Fishing Cat Kittens 03 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto credits: Grahm Jones

Adult fishing cats are twice the size of a domestic cat and range in weight from 15-35 pounds; males weigh significantly more than females. True their name, Fishing Cats love nothing more than a good fish dinner, but will also snack on crustaceans, mollusks, frogs and snakes. In fact, these cats are large to enough to hunt larger game and occassionally will take down a small wild pig or deer. 

The nocturnal Fishing Cat is found in southern Asia in densely vegetated areas near marshes, mangroves, rivers and streams as well as in tropical dry forests. Water pollution, clearing of forests for settlements and agricultural use, and over-exploitation of local fish stocks are a threat to the Fishing Cat. The Columbus Zoo’s conservation program has supported assessments of distribution, status and movements of fishing cats in their native habitat as well as workshops and school awareness programs in Fishing Cat range countries.

Ariel the Dolphin and Her New Calf Frolic!

Dolphin Mom Arial and Calf - SeaWorld2

In late July, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed a newborn Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin calf to mother Ariel. Mother and calf have been seen nursing and playing, indicating they are bonding well. To ensure mother and calf have some privacy and nuturing support, the pair are currently being kept in the Dolphin Nursery, which they share only with other pregnant dolphins and new mothers with calves.

Dolphin Mom Arial and Calf - SeaWorld1

Dolphin Mom Arial and Calf - SeaWorld3

Dolphin Mom Arial and Calf - SeaWorld4Photo credits: SeaWorld Orlando

Potoroo Is out of Its Pouch!


Taronga Zoo's Nocturnal House is home to a Potoroo joey! The joey was first seen sticking its nose out of the pouch by keepers and in mid-July the joey ventured out of mum’s pouch. Keepers estimate the youngster is between 4-5 months old and are yet to find out whether it’s a male or female. Potoroos are in the Macropod family which include kangaroos and wallabies. Potoroos are endangered due to habitat loss and predation by introduced species.


Photo credits: Taronga Zoo

Are You My Mother? Guinea Fowl Chicks Raised By Peahens!


There's something a little different going on at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, but it's working. Two clutches of Guineafowl chicks were incubated by Feta and Blue, the Zoo's Indian peahens. The chicks hatched on July 7 and 14, and though an entirely different kind of bird, Feta and Blue are now raising the chicks too -- even though they look, act, and sound nothing like them. Their roles have been simple: help the chicks avoid common zoo quandaries such as pedestrians, Motor Safari trams, and predators like the occasional overhead hawk. This is important since both species have free range of the zoo grounds every day and night.

The practice of switching eggs is not as unusual as it may seem. Other zoos have had success with chickens incubating pheasant eggs, and the method has been tried with cranes, many of which are endangered in the wild.

“Zoogoers may not notice anything unusual between the moms and chicks, but there are definitely differences and several barriers that they needed to overcome, including language and behaviors,” said Tim Snyder, curator of birds for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. “The first two weeks were a little precarious because the chicks needed to learn what the peahens’ vocalization meant and adapt to different behaviors that are not instinctual to them.”

Crop 2

Crop 3

Crop 1
Photo Credit: Chicago Zoological Society

For instance, Guineafowl chicks naturally scatter and hide when frightened or threatened, while peachicks run toward their mother. Additionally, Guineafowl moms and chicks move as a group and help care for each others’ young, which is the opposite of independent peafowl. Another difference between the two species is the length of time the juvenile birds stay close to Mom. Probably much to Feta and Blue’s dismay, the Guineafowl chicks will be tagging along with them for about a year until the next breeding season, which will be in the spring. In the wild, Guineafowl tend to stay together as a flock, including the males, while peafowl juveniles tend to become independent of Mom much sooner.

This is Feta’s second time and Blue’s first of being successful surrogate moms to Guineafowl chicks at Brookfield Zoo. Although they have free range of the entire park, the family groups can generally be found roaming near The Swamp, Tropic World, or the Formal Pool.

In the wild, Guineafowl are found throughout western, northeastern, and southern Africa in open areas, including forest edges, savannahs, scrublands, and cultivated areas. Indian peafowl, also known as blue peafowl, are the national bird of India and are protected in that country. The species prefers the open forests of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

They Don't Call 'em Puffins for Nuthin'


Back in 2006, The National Aquarium was happy to report the first successful hatching of its first puffin chick. The parents, Victor and Vixen, presented it with another healthy chick in 2010, later named Vinny.  On June 28, 2011, they hatched their third little puffin! The chick weighed 40 grams at the time of the hatch, and weighed 90 grams at 8 days old. This follows the weight pattern of his older brother.

Just a little over a week later, on July 6, first-time puffin parents Tex and Kingster hatched their own chick, making this the Aquarium’s first year for multiple puffin hatchings. This chick weighed 39.4 grams at the time of the hatch and 168 grams at 12 days old.

Photo credits: The National Aquarium

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Meet Tia, a Rare Baby Mongoose Lemur

Mongoose Lemur baby born Linton Zoo 13.05.11 shown at two months old (5)

Born May 13th at the UK's Linton Zoo, this rare baby Mongoose Lemur, named "Tia," has just begun to adventure about her exhibit. Both Mum "Maggie" aged 16, and 21 year old dad "Henry" are clearly pleased with the new arrival. "Megan" their five year old daughter is as excited as any sibling would be. She too is helping out with the daily care of her new sister and as well as having a boisterous new play mate, she is gaining lots of essential parental skills ready for when she too becomes a mum.

Mongoose Lemur baby born Linton Zoo 13.05.11 shown at two months old (4)

Mongoose Lemur baby born Linton Zoo 13.05.11 shown at two months old (1)

Like all lemurs, Mongoose Lemurs are native to Madagascar. However unlike all but one other lemur species, Mongoose Lemurs can also be found outside of Madagascar on the Island of Comoros. 

A special European breeding programmed aimed at saving this species from from extinction is managed at Linton Zoo. Careful co-ordination and constant monitoring of the European population with recommendations on various husbandry techniques and diets is beginning to pay off and Linton Zoo is very proud to successfully breed this wonderful lemur again. This baby is the first born in the captive population for over four years! 

Mongoose Lemur baby born Linton Zoo 13.05.11 shown at two months old (2)

More outstanding photos below the fold.

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First Ever Birth of Pallas' Kittens with the Help of Advanced Science


Three healthy Pallas’ Cat kittens (two males and one female) were born on June 8th, 2011 at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden following a laparoscopic oviductal artificial insemination (AI) procedure conducted by scientists from the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW).  This pregnancy and birth are the first ever in Pallas’ Cats from artificial insemination.


Photo credits: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The AI procedure was performed using laparoscopy or minimally invasive surgery combined with a new oviductal insemination technique for cats that was developed at CREW.  The Zoo’s female Pallas’ Cat, Sophia, was treated with two hormones to stimulate ovarian follicle growth and ovulation and then was inseminated in both oviducts with semen collected from the Zoo’s male Pallas’ Cat, Buster.  Three healthy kittens were born following a 69 day gestation.  The kittens, now 9 weeks of age, are being raised by their mother in an off-exhibit enclosure.

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Palm Beach Zoo Tiger Cubs Get a Taste of the Outdoors


How they've grown! Here's a plethora of pictures of Malaysan Tiger cubs, now, and at three and a half weeks, playing in their outdoor exhibit for the first time at Palm Beach Zoo in Florida. They were born back on May 12; You can read their full story and see their newborn pictures on their first Zooborns post here.




Cubs at play 2

Cubs at play 3

Cubs at play 8
Photo credits: Palm Beach Zoo

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Baby Meerkat Mania!


Keepers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Ashford, United Kingdom, were delighted when they spotted that Tiggs, the matriarch of the Meerkat group at the wild animal park, was once again expecting. Tiggs had her first litter of three in April this year and on the June 28th keepers excitedly welcomed the latest additions to Tiggs’ growing ‘mob’.

Head Keeper Richard Barnes said: “I am delighted that Tiggs is such a good mum – I hand reared her when she was a kitten due to an illness, she recovered well and became strong and healthy and has now given birth to two healthy litters. The newborns are already playful and it’s hilarious to watch them teasing their siblings.”



Photo credits: Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

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Bundle of Good News for Last Surviving Baboon Species


Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury in England is home to three Gelada Baboons – one male, named Agolo, and two females named Jima and Sereba. Keepers were thrilled when they discovered that Sereba had been successfully mated by Agolo resulting in the birth of a male baby named Leena. Agolo and Sereba have proved themselves to be very successful parents while Jima has taken on the role of Aunt to help out hardworking Mum and Dad.

Primate Keeper Jamie Wharton said: “It’s great watching Leena investigate his open-top enclosure and graze with his parents. As he gets older he will develop an impressive mane like his father.”  As the male Gelada develop they grow a mantle (a mane of hair) that surrounds their head and neck.

Neil Spooner, Animal Director, said “These baboons are quite unique in that they are the last surviving species of grass grazing primates. To have a successful birth is great news for the future.”



Photo Credit: Dave Rolfe

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