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September 2011

New Baby Gorilla Makes 131!


Gorilla keepers at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury were delighted when another baby Gorilla was born on August 15. This is the fifth baby for mom Tamba, who is part of the Gorilla group headed by silverback Kouillou.

Neil Spooner, Animal Director at Howletts, said “Tamba and Kouillou are excellent parents and I’m so pleased that we have another addition to their family group”. The birth of this little one brings the total number of successful gorilla births between Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks to an impressive 131!

Tamba will hold her baby until it is about two months old, after which it will be able to ride on her back clinging to her fur. The baby will be dependent on Tamba for three or four years as it learns from her and the family how to find food, socialize, make nests and raise young. Gorillas breed very slowly. Females first breed when they are about 10 years old and give birth to a single infant every four to five years. Newborn gorillas are very small, weighing about 4-5 pounds (2kg), and are dependent on their mothers much like a human child.

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Baby mouth
Photo Credits: Howletts Wild Animal Park

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Baby Beaver Twins Start Swimming Lessons

Baby beaver and mom 1

The Jackson Zoo in Mississippi has recently added to their animal family with two baby beavers named Philly and Billy. Their appearance surprised to their keepers those two subsequent mornings of July 1 and 2; They suspected the female would give birth at some time soon because of her swollen mammary glands.The parents were hand-raised rescue animals that the Zoo obtained in 2006. Philly and Billy are just now venturing outside their den to swim with mom. Previous to that, they were sticking close to their parents deep within the nest box.

"If you do not see them outside, take a peek through the viewing window into the den where they continue to nurse and grow," said zoo staff. They have a beautiful outdoor exhibit so visitors may see them swimming in their pond. While their sex is not known yet, the vet does plan to give them their first physical very soon. 

The Jackson Zoo reported: "Pictures are hard to get because the babies have been sticking close to mom deep in their den."

Baby beaver and mom at Jackson Zoological Park 2

Baby beaver and mom at Jackson Zoological Park 3
Photo Credit: Jackson Zoo

American Beavers are not endangered but were once hunted to the brink of extinction for their pelts. Beavers live throughout North American and Europe. Known as the most skilled builders of all animals, their dams stop flowing water and create wetlands. That in turn provides habitats for frogs, turtles, birds, ducks, fish and other mammals. Because of this, the species is viewed as being critial to the health and stability of wetland environments.

Little L'hoest Monkey, Big Personality!

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Visitors to the monkey house at Edinburgh Zoo have been meeting the Zoo’s latest arrival, an inquisitive orange-eye baby L’hoest’s monkey. It's birth has special significance, as the baby’s mum, Tumbili, brought new genetics to Edinburgh from North America.

Animal Team Leader Lorna Hughes said: “Every birth is special, but this one has been really exciting. Tumbili came to Edinburgh from San Diego Zoo about eight months ago, bringing new genetics with her which will strengthen biodiversity here and in zoos throughout Europe.” 

Born on June 26 to mum Tumbili and dad Kizizi, the new arrival is already developing a big personality. “The baby is quite a confident little one. It comes right up to the window to have a look at visitors," Hughes added. "We’ll check to see if it is a boy or girl when it is about three months old, once the baby has started venturing away from mum a bit more. Once we know, we’ll be able to choose a name.”

  L'hoest 3

L'hoest Monkey 2
 Photo Credit: Edinburg Zoo

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Prevost Squirrel Babies At The Houston Zoo


The Houston Zoo’s new breeding pair of Prevost squirrels, Walnut and Mali, hit the ground running and produced its first litter on June 25th, fifty-one days after being introduced. The two male pups, Ranger and Danger, are thriving under the excellent care of their first-time mother. 

Native to the forests of Southeast Asia, the colorful Prevost’s squirrel has a gestation period of forty days. Mali choose to give birth in an off-exhibit area in a wooden nest box. Prevost’s squirrel mothers will carefully guard the nestbox, but due to Mali’s excellent training and her relationship with the keepers, staff had no trouble getting her to go into a travel crate for a few minutes, allowing for the pups to be checked. Keepers were able to obtain the weights of the pups and note milestones. The pups started to open their eyes at 16 days and began venturing out of the nestbox at about one month of age.

Ranger and Danger are not on exhibit yet, but may be exploring the habitat soon. As the youngsters grow up, zoo keepers hope that Walnut and Mali will continue to contribute to the zoo population of this beautiful, lively species.

Prevost's pinkies



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Photo Credit:Houston Zoo

Baby Tree 'Roo Is Popping out of the Pouch


Woodland Park Zoo's Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo joey is growing up fast, so here are some new photos and video to fill you in on how it is getting along in its behind-the-scenes exhibit. Now eight months old, the joey has begun to leave its mother’s pouch for short bursts, doing a little exploring and then retreating back to the pouch for naps. Keepers do not know the sex of the joey yet so for now he or she remains nameless. The joey is mostly eating leaves but also munches on greens including kale, romaine and celery. Mother "Elanna" is not so great at sharing, so the joey has learned to go after the food it wants for itself.

Follow Matschie's progress and other Woodland Park Zoo babies on their outstanding blog.

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Photo credits (from top): Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo, Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo, Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Video credits: Footage from keepercam, produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Elanna and joey are in a behind the scenes exhibit to give them the quiet and comfort this sensitive species requires, especially since Elanna is a first time mother. The Woodland Park Zoo is using cameras and students are assisting with observations so they can study the interactions between the mother and joey and keep a close eye on their progress.

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Popular as Pets, Endangered in the Wild - Baby Chinchillas in Minnesota


The Minnesota Zoo’s Zoomobile program has three new baby chinchillas! Born August 6, the trio were born precocial  -- with their eyes open and fully furred. They weighed about 47 grams (1.6 ounces) at birth. They are nursing and doing well with mom. Typically they are weaned between 6-8 weeks of age.

They are long-lived, with records of some scurrying about to the ripe old age of 20 years. Adult females are heavier than males, weighing up to 28 ounces (800 gms), while males are about 17.5 ounces (500 gms). These rodents are from South America and  were once abundant in the High Andes. While there are quite a few chinchillas in captivity, they are considered to be endangered in the wild due to exploitation because their thick, incredibly soft fur brings a very high price. Pelt hunting diminished populations greatly, but increased the demand as these shy animals became increasingly rare. Commercial trade of wild Chinchillas is now banned.



Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoomobile and its team of trained naturalists travel to schools and community events throughout the state of Minnesota and beyond, providing an educational and entertaining environmental experience to a variety of audiences. Zoomobile Naturalists use live animals, biological artifacts, theater techniques, story telling, and audience participation to create a dynamic, personal, and fun program for all ages.