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August 2011
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September 2011

Two New Chicks Add to Saving Micronesian Kingfishers


The Smithsonian National Zoo's Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA., is celebrating the recent hatching of two Micronesian kingfisher (Todiramphus c. cinnamominus) chicks, a female and male, on July 25 and Aug. 20, respectively.This species has been extinct in the wild for more than 20 years. They are extremely difficult to breed due to incompatibility between males and females and the inability of some parents to successfully raise their own chicks. But these two bring the total population of Micronesian kingfishers to 131 birds. 

“We are encouraged that this pair showed an interest in one another and delighted that they produced fertile eggs,” said Warren Lynch, bird unit manager at SCBI. “We are hand-rearing the chicks, which involves feeding them at two-hour intervals, seven to eight times per day. Should the adults produce fertile eggs again, we will likely let them try to raise the chicks themselves while closely monitoring their parenting skills.”

Both chicks are thriving. The female flies short distances and is increasingly confident and vocal, and the male is beginning to grow feathers and has a healthy appetite for crickets, mice and small lizards.

Prop up


Photo Credit:Smithsonian National Zoo

Micronesian kingfishers are about 6 inches tall and have wide, dorsoventrally-flattened bills. Both sexes have a plume of blue-green feathers on their wings and brown-orange feathers on their heads. Males can be easily identified by their brown-orange breasts and females by their white breasts.

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Black-footed Ferret Milestone Year!


The Black-Footed Ferret, once thought to be extinct in the wild, was rediscovered in 1981 with a small population of 24 animals in Wyoming―30 years later the species’ future is brighter than ever. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is marking this anniversary with a record-breaking year―50 surviving Black-Footed Ferret kits were born at the Zoo’s Front Royal facility this year, helping to bolster the population of North America’s sole ferret species. Today more than 1,000 ferrets exist in the wild as the result of a successful reintroduction program at six breeding institutions, including SCBI. (For extensive information about SCBI’s success breeding the Black-footed Ferret, visit the Zoo’s Black-Footed Ferret press kit.)





Above, Dr. JoGayle Howard holds ferrets resulting from artificial breeding in 1988. Below, Howard with pups born in 1997.

Photo credits: Julie Larsen-Maher and Jessie Cohen (last 2) / Smithsonian's National Zoo

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Houston Zoo Welcomes Greater Kudu Baby

Kudu 1

This big eared baby kudu was born on Agust 31 in The African Forest at the Houston Zoo. She weighed approximately 15.9 kilos ( 35 pounds) at birth. Her keepers say, "She is bright eyed and quite curious - she's always looking around."

Gestation for Greater kudu is about 9 mo. Her mother, Clementine, has proven to be very good with her baby. "The birth was easy. It started in the afternoon and was all of two hours. And the baby nursed right away," the keeper continued. "The calf is doing well and being slowly introduced to the rest of her herd - dad Alfonzo and female Charlotte and her offspring Apollo".

She has yet to be named. The kudu share the habitat with a trio of Southern White rhinos in The African Forest. The newest member of the kudu family will be out in the exhibit after introductions to the rhinos occur.

Just born

Mom cleans


Under mum


Photo Credit: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

You can view a full photo album on the Houston Zoo's website.

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It's a Boy! Baby Grevy's Zebra Born at Great Plains Zoo

Foal 1

The Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has a new Grevy's Zebra baby born over Labor Day weekend to mother Demani.

"It's a healthy baby boy. He's pretty cute," said Allison Douglass, area supervisor at the Zoo.

The newborn has no name yet and is not seeing visitors. He's secluded in a birthing stall with his mom.
He weighs 100 pounds and his mother close to 1,000. Douglass said everything about the delivery was normal. Labor lasted a half-hour. The foal came out of the birth canal front feet first and then the head. He was up and moving around in 30 minutes and nursing within an hour.

If any birth is routine, then the dramatic element in Demani's delivery is her son's place in the world. He is a Grevy's zebra, a species that scientists say is endangered. Africa had 15,000 Grevy's zebras in the late 1970s. The population now is one-sixth that, about 2,500 in the wild, after 30 years of disturbance from people and competition from domestic grazing animals.

Foal 2

Foal 4

Foal 3

Photo Credit: Great Plains Zoo

Continue reading "It's a Boy! Baby Grevy's Zebra Born at Great Plains Zoo" »

Bright Orange Baby For Taronga!


Taronga’s Primate keepers have been busy with the arrival of another Francois Leaf-monkey infant! He is the second bright orange monkey to be born this year at Taronga and is great news for the zoo's breeding program as the species is on the cusp of extinction. Sadly there may be as few as 1000 left in the wild.

The male infant, named ‘Tam Dao’ after a National Park located in Vietnam north of Hanoi, was born to mother, ‘Meili’ and father ‘Hanoi’ and found cradled in its mother’s arms in the early morning of Saturday 20 August by zoo keepers who had been monitoring the pregnancy.




Photo credits: Ric Stevens

In The Midst of The Hurricane, a Lamb is Born


A lamb was born at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo in New York City on Saturday, August 27 --the day Hurricane Irene hit. Born in a stable as the city braced for the storm, she has been named Irene Hope.

Early Saturday morning as curators and staff were readying the zoo for the hurricane, the lamb was found cuddled next to her mother, Truffle, in the Tish Children’s Zoo. She weighed 4 kilograms or about 8 pounds. Her father is named Sid.  Irene Hope will nurse for approximately 3-4 months.

“On a day of great uncertainty for New York City, the lamb brought smiles and hope to all of us at the zoo,” said Susan Cardillo, an assistant curator for Central Park Zoo. “We had to name her Irene Hope. She was a big surprise. It is rare to see a lamb born in late August.”

After finding the lamb and making sure she was healthy, Irene Hope was secured with her mother in their stable as the storm roared through the area. The first 24 hours of nursing is critical to a lamb’s health. As flood waters receded around the zoo early on Sunday, Cardillo was relieved when she found lamb and ewe resting peacefully. Irene Hope is a Southdown or baby doll sheep, one of the oldest breeds of sheep that originate from Sussex, England. 

Mom & Lamb

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen/WCS


Cavy Pup Sitting Pretty

Cavy solo

A two week old Patagonian Cavy is the latest addition to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo.  The yet-to-be named pup joins its parents and older sister in the Tisch Children’s Zoo. 

Though they look like rabbits, Cavies are rodents whose closest relatives are guinea pigs. Cavies are the fourth largest rodent in the world, reaching about 18 inches in height. They are common in the Patagonian steppes of Argentina and other areas of South America.

Mum pup
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher/WIldlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide, through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. 

You can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places at!


What's a Muntjac?


A Muntjac, sometimes called a Barking Deer, is the oldest known species of deer. The Muntjac first appeared some 15 to 35 million years ago in Germany, France, and Poland, but its current range is South Asia including Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Japan, India and Indonesia. A.J. Haverkamp photographed this baby Muntjac at Amsterdam's Artis Zoo just days ago.





Photo credits: A.J. Haverkamp

Check Plus For African Lion Cubs First Check Up


Two little males and one female African lion cubs have just had their first trip to the vet at Milwaukee County Zoo. Born on July 24 and 25, these are the first offspring of mother, Sanura, and father, Themba, both of whom are 8 years old. The boys both weighed 5.2 kg (11.44 pounds) and the girl was 4.75 kg (10.45 pounds). These weights were taken on August 25th, when they were exactly one month old. 



Photo Credit: Michael A. Nepper, Milwaukee County Zoo

Early on, Zookeepers monitored Sanura and her cubs in an area not visible to the public mainly via video feed. They saw that the cubs were nursing, sleeping and showing signs of light activity. 

Twice daily, keepers entered into the off-public area for cleaning and feeding duties and reported that first-time mother Sanura was doing well with her cubs, paying attention to them and remaining calm and relaxed -- even with zookeepers nearby.


They are growing rapidly and are doing very well! It is the hope of Zoo staff that by three months of age, the cubs will make their “in person” debut to the public, when the youngsters can consistently shift on and off public exhibit with Sanura. The public can now see the cubs on a special video screen showing in the Florence Mila Borchert Family Big Cat Country. This will mark the first time the Zoo has exhibited lion cubs since 1974.