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February 2012

Meet Little Douli, The Netherlands' Newest Baby Gorilla!

Artis Zoo Gorilla 4

On Monday, February 27th, after an 8.5 month gestation period, Artis Zoo Gorilla Dafina gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Artis, The Netherlands' oldest zoo, is already home to 10 gorillas, two of which were born last year. There are plenty of experienced moms for Dafina to learn from, although she appears to be having no trouble playing the part. From birth, gorilla mothers typically hold their young tightly to their belly buttons, making it difficult for keepers to determine their sex, often for weeks. By a stroke of luck, Dafina lifted the young baby in the presence of keepers late yesterday, giving them a clear view that the tiny baby is in fact a boy. He's been given the name Douli, after a place in the Gabon state of Africa.

Artis Zoo Gorilla

Photo credits: Artis Zoo

Double Delight: Two Rothschild Giraffe Babies for Prague Zoo

Female tongue

There are two reasons to celebrate this month at Prague Zoo. After 14 months of gestation, two Rothschild Giraffe calves were born within days of each other. The first arrived on February 9, born to mom Nora, one of the best known animals at the Zoo. Nora is 13 years old and a very experienced mother -- this is her fifth baby and she successfully raised all but the first on her own. The father of the newborn is the twelve-year-old Johan. Their calf is a female and has been named Apolena.

Mom and appolonia

Just two days later, on February 11, another female in the herd named Eliška began to go into labor. She had not eaten anything since the morning and was nervously pacing up and down the dormitory. As if to lend support, Nora paid close attention to Eliška's process from the neighboring dorm. Eliška successfully gave birth to a little male, cleaning him thoroughly. He stood and suckled soon after. His name will be chosen out of three options by public vote.

Male and mom


Photo Credit: Photos 1-4, Tomas Adamec/Prague Zoo, Photo 5: Martin Smrček/Zoo Praha

NEW Photos: Welcome to the World Gorilla Baby!


The Pittsburgh Zoo welcomed a new baby gorilla on the morning of February 9. Since giving birth, Mom Moka is often found sitting near the indoor viewing window in the gorilla area holding the baby, offering visitors a fantastic view of their bonding time, as captured in the video below. 

“Moka is a first time mom so we were anxious to see how she would handle motherhood, but she is doing a great job,” says Karen Vacco, assistant curator of mammals. “The baby is nursing and Moka holds him tightly against her chest.” Moka was raised by her mother and has a younger sister, so she learned maternal behavior from her mother.

First time dad Mrithi visited the baby after its birth and has been staying close to Moka, but not interfering. “The rest of the gorilla troop has been curious but respectful,” says Roseann Giambro, gorilla keeper. “They will take their cues from mom who will let them know when she is comfortable with them being close to her baby.”

Western lowland gorillas are endangered. In 2007, scientists had estimated their populations to be just about 100,000 in the wild, but an outbreak of Ebola destroyed much of the population dropping their numbers close to 30,000. 



Hands 2
Photo Credit: Sage RossCreative Commons License

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Berlin Zoo Welcomes A New Forest Buffalo To Its Herd


Born January 8th, this African Forest Buffalo joined Zoo Berlin's herd to the excitement of zookeepers and visitors alike. The African Forest Buffalo is slightly smaller than its close relative, the Cape Buffalo. Its native habitat is the equatorial forests of Central and West Africa. Forest Buffaloes feed primarily on grasses, twigs and shoots. Their main predators in the wild are Leopards.




Photo credit: Zoo Berlin

Baby Squirrel Monkey Clings to Mom at Virginia Zoo


A new baby squirrel monkey is now receiving visitors at the Virginia Zoo.

The mother, Marie, delivered sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning on February 17/18. She was discovered with the baby squirrel monkey clinging to her back Saturday morning by zookeepers. The tiny primate joins its mother, proud papa Jeebes and two other adult females.

"We probably won't name the baby until we know its sex," said zookeeper Aubry Hall, who works with the squirrel monkeys.

Found in the tropical forests of Central and South America, squirrel monkeys spend most of their time in trees and are primarily active during daylight hours. The tiny primates live together in groups of up to 500 males and females. Squirrel monkeys are omnivorous, eating primarily fruits and insects. They live roughly 15 years in the wild, but zoo residents can reach 20 years old.



Photo Credit: Virginia Zoo

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Pot-bellied Piglet Gets a Leg Up with Keepers' Help


A female Vietnamese Pot-bellied Piglet was born on February 2nd, 2012 at Wroclaw Zoo in Poland. Her two siblings, sadly, did not survive the birth and she was rejected by her mother. Keepers quickly stepped in to begin the hand-rearing process. The next day, the Piglet's aunt gave birth and hopeful keepers attempted to introduce the "orphaned" Piglet as one of her own with no success. In the next 3-4 weeks, keepers plan to put both young Pigs together.


Photo credit: Wroclaw Zoo

Valentine Baby - Giraffe Born at Paignton Zoo


This baby Rothschild's Giraffe was born at the UK's Paignton Zoo on Valentine’s Day. The new arrival was came into the world in the wee hours on February 14 to mom Janica and dad Yoda. The as yet unnamed male calf stands at nearly six feet tall.

Senior Head Mammal Keeper Matt Webb said: “He did not suckle on Tuesday. We hoped mother and calf would settle down and he would be able to feed, but keepers and the Zoo’s in-house vet team had to step in and feed him by hand."

While the baby bonded with it's mother, she didn't quite bond with him. Keepers were surprised, as she had previously reared this baby's little brother Tonda, who was born in February 2010, just fine. So he will be bottle fed by hand. It will take up to three gallons of hand-fed full-fat milk a day to help this little boy grow.

The baby, mother and father, along with the herd's other adult female are all Rothschild's (Baringo) giraffes. Rothschild's giraffes are classified as Endangered and there is a European Endangered species Program for the species.

Photo Credit: Paignton Zoo

Baby Dingoes Open Their Eyes!


These photos show Fort Wayne Children's Zoo's Dingo pups at 3 weeks old with their eyes open. The pups spend a lot of time yawning when they are awake. The puppies' parents Mattie and Naya are one of only about 75 pairs of pure Dingoes worldwide, so the pups are an important addition to the pure Dingo population.  In Australia, Dingoes have widely hybridized with domestic dogs, so pure Dingoes are rare. Mattie and Naya came to the zoo from Australia in 2010.




Cheryl Piropato/Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Rainbow Feathered Lovebird Chicks Hatch on Valentine's Day

Lovebird Chick 1

Love is in the air at the UK's Drusillas Park after four baby Black-cheeked Lovebirds hatched on Valentines Day! The birds are so named due to the obvious devotion between the male and female pairs. They mate for life and preen each other’s feathers -- a labor of love.

In an effort to egg on the romance, Head Keeper Mark Kenward has been playing Cupid over the last 18 months, monitoring the birds’ behavior and making changes to their diet and husbandry. During this time the zoo also enlisted the help of students from St Bede’s School to create bespoke boxes for the birds to nest-le up in. Their efforts finally paid off when zoo keepers made the happy discovery of four tiny tweets at the end of January. 

Mr Kenward said: “We routinely check the nest boxes every Monday and were over the moon to see the chicks within. All of the babies are doing well and we hope they will be the first of many. It’s a real feather in our cap to have bred these beautiful and rare birds, and to receive our special delivery for Valentine’s Day seems a very fitting tribute to lovebirds everywhere.”

These colourful birds are native to Zambia and are Africa’s most endangered parrot.

Lovebird pair
Photo Credit: Drusillas Park

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Perth Zoo's Red Panda Twins Receive Clean Bill of Health!


Perth Zoo’s latest breeding success – two Red Panda cubs – made their first brief public appearance today as veterinary staff gave them a health check and vaccinations. The cubs, who have been tucked away in their nest box under the care of their mother Tiamat since their birth on 20 December, were given a quick physical check and vaccinations this morning.




Perth Zoo senior veterinarian Simone Vitali said the eight-week-old cubs, which are not expected to start venturing out of their nest box for another six to eight weeks yet, looked to be strong and in good health.

More information and photos below the fold...

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