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November 2011

One Day Old Capybara Trots Out to Say Hello


This single capybara baby made its public debut yesterday at the San Diego Zoo in California. At only one day old, this little baby weighs 3 - 5 pounds (1.36-2.27 kgs) and has teeth that let it nibble on grasses!

In fact, the word capybara means "master of the grass" and its scientific name, Hydrochoerus, means "water hog" because of its love for water. The capybara, however, is not a pig as that implies, but the world's largest rodent species. An adult male can weigh up to 141 pounds and a female up to 146 pounds! and end up to be about two feet tall.

Capybara are highly social and live in groups controlled by a dominant male. Capybara females in a group are known to help care for and even nurse each other's young. This is the second capybara born in the past week and at this time, its gender is unknown.

Capybara are found in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas and Peru, south through Brazil, Paraguay, northeast Argentina, and Uruguay. Semi-aquatic, they frequent dense vegetation surrounding lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes, and ponds.


Baby mom
Photo Credits: Sand Diego Zoo

Baby Giraffe Kicks Up Its Heels at Tel Aviv Zoo

Mom & baby

On November 13 a baby giraffe was born at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv Ramat Gan-SafariThe new addition to the reticulated giraffe family is named Dolittle because of the dramatic way he was born.

Once labor started, the mother started pushing the baby out legs and head first in the usual "Para diving" position. This is where both front hooves come out first, followed by the head and shoulders. However, soon the keepers noticed that the labor did not progress as expected and that the calf was stuck in the birth canal with only its head and front limbs showing. Dr. Horowitz, the zoo's vetrenarian, rushed to the giraffe barn and decided to help the mom by gently pulling the calf. Every time the mother pushed, the vet pulled... hence the name Do-little!

Because the mom was trained to stand in a chute it was possible for the vet  to intervene without danger of being kicked. After a few stressful moments, the calf landed on the ground, and soon stood up!





Photo Credits: Tibor Jager

Little Dolittle stayed for a few days in the night stall with this mother and grandmother and now everyone can see him roaming in the yard -- or testing out his long legs, as in the video below -- with the rest of the family, his aunts and young cousins Diana and Darwin.

France Finds Success Breeding Fossa Pups!


The Fossa, an unusual carnivore native to Madagascar, is the island's largest predator. With only 2000 individuals surviving, it is considered to be among the world's most endangered species. In order to preserve the species, a European breeding program was initiated under the EAZA (The Association of European Zoos and Aquariums). The breeding of this species in captivity is extremely difficult.  In September of this year, Calviac Zoological Reserve in France became the only European institution in 2011 to succeed with the births of two baby Fossas.

Now nearly 3 months old, the youngsters dexterously climb branches over 13 feet high. Fully weaned at 6 months, wild Fossas remain with their mothers until the age of 18 months, after which they will live in solitude.





Orphaned Baby Mhorr Gazelle Thriving at Al Ain Zoo


Al Ain Zoo in the UAE has just closed a naming competition for their newest member... an endangered baby Mohrr gazelle. Keep an ear out for the winning name in the near future.

Born in late October, 2011, the baby was orphaned after it's mother passed away just hours after giving birth. A team of vets and zookeepers have been hand raising the little male, and he has been thriving.  They are taking the steps necessary to ensure the gazelle can be easily re-integrated into the herd one he's weaned and can feed himself. 

The baby is bottle-fed 5 times per day. Though he's kept in a separate area for now so he can be closely monitored as he grows, the enclosure is in close proximity to his herd, allowing connection and contact with them.

Dr Arshad Toosy, Manager of Venerinary Operations at Al Ain Zoo said, “We are delighted to welcome the new baby Mhorr gazelle to our western sub-species of the Dama gazelle, once lived in the Sahara desert areas in Morocco. Their numbers have rapidly declined due to hunting, over grazing by domestic livestock and civil unrest, and today the Mhorr gazelle exists only in captivity, where breeding and re-introduction programs are its only hope for survival.”


Photo Credit: Al Ain Zoo

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Special Delivery: Sitatunga Baby at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo


When a baby sitatunga was born the morning of November 10, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo keepers kept a watchful eye on the tiny new calf and his mother, Shiloh. Hoofstock usually stand and nurse within a few hours of birth, but this calf wasn’t able to stay on his feet. “He was too weak to stand, and since he couldn’t stand, he was unable to nurse,” says African Journey Manager Amber Eagleson.

By that afternoon, keepers decided to bottle-feed the calf to help him gain strength. “We bottle-fed him every four hours,” Eagleson says. “At first, he would only take a small amount because he was so weak, but by Friday afternoon he was steadily drinking from the bottle.” 

Shiloh did her part by waiting patiently when her calf was moved to a separate stall at feeding time. When keepers returned the calf to her, she groomed him vigorously to remove all traces of human scent. By Monday, keepers saw the calf nursing for the first time.

“We’re still giving him a bottle and weigh him once a day,” Eagleson says. The calf weighed only 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg)  at birth - significantly less than the other sitatunga calves born at the zoo, but he’s catching up. “If his weight increases over the next week, we’ll drop the bottle feedings and let mom take over completely,” Eagleson says.  She adds that keepers hope to name the baby in the next few weeks.

The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has had great success breeding these unique marsh-dwelling antelope. Five calves have been born there since 2006.


Weigh in

Curl up
Photo Credits: Fort Wayne Zoo

Tiny Tano Finds a Home After a Rocky Start


Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany is now home to Tano, a tiny baby Gorilla who was transported from his birth place in Zoo Prague just a week ago. His inexperienced mother Bikira was unable to care for him, so Zoo Prague moved him to Wilhelma in coordination with the European Endangered Species Programme. Tiny Tano is not a complete stranger to Wilhelma, he is the great-grandson of former Stuttgart gorillas Dina and Banjo. His mother Bikira was also hand raised at Wilhelma  from 1995 to 1998. Tano has been doing very well in his new surroundings so far, being expertly hand-reared by keepers, he is sleeping well and drinking plenty of milk.




Photo credits: Wilhelma Zoo

Listen closely for the tiny breaths Tano takes as he adjusts himself in his surrogate mother's arms in this video below.

It's been quite a start to life for little Tano.  While at Zoo Prague, keepers rushed him to an incubator because without the body warmth of Bikira, he would not have survived. Attempts were made to return him to his mother's arms. Sadly, these were unsuccessful. In order to ensure the infant's survival, hand-rearing was the only option. The combination of round the clock care, a hot water bottle and a fur cloth as well as a device to mimic the beating of a gorilla mother's heart are all employed to ensure as normal an infancy as possible under the difficult circumstances.

There are a number of short videos and another picture beneath the fold...

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A Handful of Cougar Cubs at Oregon Zoo!


Three orphaned cougar cubs with baby-blue eyes, fuzzy spotted coats, and much-too-big feet have briefly taken up residence behind the scenes at the Oregon Zoo until they can be moved to permanent homes in Nashville and Houston next week.

The 10-week-old cubs, all three male, were found in Washington state after their mother was illegally shot by a hunter. When wildlife officials learned the cubs were still alive, they quickly contacted Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ population manager for cougars.

“I’m usually the first person fish and wildlife departments call when orphaned cubs are found in the wild,” Schireman said. “Young cougars can’t survive without their mothers, so I work with accredited zoos to find them new homes.”

Keeper Liz Bailey, keeper Michelle Schireman and veterinary technician Kelli Harvison (from left).



Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

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A Baby Gorilla for Lincoln Park Zoo


Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo has a new baby - a healthy, Western Lowland Gorilla, the first to be born at the Zoo since 2005. The baby has yet to be named. First time mom, Bana, is a 16-year-old. Dad Kwan, a 22-year-old silverback, seems proud of his new offspring and has stayed protectively close to mother and baby. Born on November 19, the baby joins a troop of 7 at the Zoo. The other gorillas are "respectfully curious" according to Curator of Primates, Maureen Leahy.

“Bana has taken very well to motherhood,” said Leahy. “She is showing all of the signs of a doting new mom and is appropriately tender toward and watchful over her infant. The baby is gripping tightly to Bana and making great eye contact with her during this crucial bonding time.”

Keepers are watching closely to make sure Bana and her baby continue to do well, as the first few weeks are critical in the survival of newborn Gorillas.



Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo


More pics below the fold...

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