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February 2012

A+ For Chicago's Brand New Baby Aardvark


Chicago's Brookfield Zoo is happy to announce the birth of an Aardvark on January 12, 2012. Because of the dedicated care provided by the Society’s zookeepers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and nutritionist, the now healthy 13-pound calf has a bright future ahead of it. Although the calf will not be on exhibit for several months, zoo guests will be able to view it via a live video monitor In the near future. 




Photo credits: Brookfield Zoo

A newborn Aardvark, which weighs about 4½ pounds at birth, is very fragile for its first few weeks of life. To ensure its best chance for survival, Animal Programs staff decided to assist the calf’s 7-year-old mom, Jessi, in rearing her infant. Since its birth, the unsexed calf has received around-the-clock care that has included a neonatal examination and extra hydration and supplemental feeding when needed to make certain it is healthy and gaining the proper amount of weight. The supplemental Aardvark formula the calf receives replicates the fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrients of a mother Aardvark's milk composition.

More photos below the fold...

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It's a New Baby Goeldi's Monkey for Lee Richardson Zoo

CU baby and mom

Something important has happened at Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas... a baby black Goeldi's Monkey was born February 19. It's too early to tell the baby's gender. The little one's parents, Domingo and Sucre, average just 14 to 18 ounces in size to begin with, so the baby is quite tiny and can barely be seen as it clings to it's mother's upper back. 

Sucre is a first time mom but she's showing excellent maternal instincts, and will care for the baby on her own for the first two weeks before allowing the father to help. 

Goeldi’s monkeys live in the rain and mixed deciduous forests of South America’s Upper Amazon basin. This “elfin” primate powerhouse navigates it arboreal home, leaping from tree to tree, and may cover 13 feet in a single bound. Listed as Vulnerable in the wild, the species is threatened by deforestation and poaching.  


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Photo Credits: Stacy Plocher/Lee Richardson Zoo

Read more about how the Goeldi parents met after the jump.

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Three Little Wolf Pups


Maned Wolves at Sweden's Nordens Ark Zoo had two pups in late January; one male and two females. The zoo's breeding pair is a key pair in the Maned Wolf breeding program worldwide, making this birth especially important for conservation. Maned Wolf pups are born all black, and gradually change color as they grow older. By around six months of age, they'll be nearly completely reddish brown. The pups will remain close to their mother in their den for now, but by spring visitors should have a chance to see them in person.


Photo credit: Tom Svensson/Nordens Ark

Maned Wolves come from South America and are currently listed as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List.

Tiny Spiny Turtle Update!

Photo Credit: Bill Hughes

Now you can see the highly endangered baby Spiny Turtle at Tennessee Aquarium in action after reading all about them in our ZooBorn's Post on February 13. It's evident where this distinctive turtle gets it's name -- from the pointy, spiky-edged prongs on it's shell. In effect, it's likened to a walking pin cushion! It's also called a 'cog-wheel turtle'. 

In the wild, Spiny Turtles usually live in the vicinity of small streams of south-east Asia. While their bony protrusions have been thought to act as armor from predators like snakes, as the turtle grows the edges get worn down, so that in adulthood, Spiny Turtles have a much smoother shell (as seen in the video below).

The gray-brown head and spots on the eyes and legs act as camoflage the turtle in it's natural leafy ground environment in the wild. Unfortunately the ability to hide well in it's habitat has not prevented huge numbers of turtles being caught for the food and pet trades, and in Indonesia the species is considered Critically Endangered, while populations elsewhere are also under threat. 

Sid The Sloth Goes on Display!


A young Sloth born at Bristol Zoo Gardens has finally gone on show after 10 months intensive hand-rearing by keepers. Sid the sloth was born in the Zoo’s nocturnal house, Twilight World, last April, weighing just 500g (1.1lbs). Her mother, Light Cap, was taken ill shortly after giving birth and underwent a spell in the Zoo’s veterinary hospital which prevented her from caring for her baby. Despite making a full recovery, Light Cap was no longer producing enough milk to feed her baby and the youngster, who was named Sid after the sloth in the popular Ice Age movie, had to be cared for round the clock by a team of dedicated keepers.


In the first few months of her life, Sid needed feeding every three hours, including through the night. She was fed a combination of puppy milk formula and goat’s milk. She also had checks by the zoo vet on an almost daily basis to make sure she was developing well. The hard work has paid off and now, after almost a year, Sid has re-joined her mother on show in the Zoo’s nocturnal house, Twilight World. She has developed into a strong, healthy and inquisitive youngster, with a particular penchant for green beans.

Continue reading "Sid The Sloth Goes on Display!" »

Big-Eyed Bongo Baby Born at Dublin Zoo


The Dublin Zoo in Ireland is celebrating the birth of an Eastern Bongo calf, a female born last month to parents Kimba and Sam. She weighed in at a healthy 44 pounds (20kgs). And it looks like half of that was all in her ears!

This is a particularly significant birth for Dublin Zoo as this baby is an important boost to the international breeding programme for this highly endangered species. Only between 75 and 140 eastern bongos exist in the wild. 

 Team leader Helen Clarke-Bennett, said, “We are thrilled with the arrival of the bongo calf. There is so few of them left in the wild that successful breeding is essential to the survival of this beautiful species."




Photo Credit: Dublin Zoo

Read more after the jump!

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Yipes! Stripes!


It's not uncommon for aquarists at New England Aquarium to find shark eggs in its Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank. Often, these eggs are not fertile, but a while back, keepers collected one that hatched some five months later, ushering in the arrival of a brand new baby female Epaulette Shark. Her stunning stripes will fade over time, leaving only dark spots, but as juveniles, these solid patterns serve to confuse potential predators in the wild.


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For now, the tiny shark pup is most at ease hidden safely inside a piece of tubing in her nursery tank. Until she's old enough to join the rest of the group in the Touch Tank, visitors can meet her parents and watch for newly laid eggs!

You can read more about the epaulette shark baby and learn more about this fascinating species on the Aquarium's Exhibit Galleries Blog: Did you know they can slow down their body functions to survive in low oxygen environments?

Ever See Pipefish Babies?


The Tennessee Aquarium recently received a shipment of 10 wild-caught Alligator Pipefish. Among them were two pregnant males, one of which delivered a few babies upon arrival. Female Pipefish lay between 60 and 200 eggs on the abdomen of the male and he develops a thin membrane around them.  His abdomen becomes soft and spongy, allowing the eggs to receive nutrients from him. Babies hatch after approximately 3 weeks and are about one centimeter in length. That's less than half the length of their father's snout! But this species grows rapidly, with males attaining a length of close to a foot and females being slightly smaller.

Pipefish have a prehensile tail like a seahorse that they use to hitch onto just about anything around them, including each other. They'll hang out in a backup area at the Aquarium until they are big enough to be placed on exhibit. In the wild, alligator pipefish (Signathoides biaculeatus) are found throughout the Indo-Pacific ocean. 

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Holding tails
Photo Credit: Tennessee Aquarium

Read more about these fascinating pipefish after the jump:

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St. Louis Zoo's New Baby Bongo

Bongo CU

The St Louis Zoo has seen a bounty of winter babies in their Hoofed Stock department and this is another addition: a Mountain Bongo. This little male calf named Tundra was one of the last births of 2011, having come into the world on December 27. At his neonatal exam, the calf weighed 52 pounds (23.6 kilos). 

Unlike the more common Bongo, the Mountain Bongo is an endangered subspecies of antelope that lives only in a few pockets of mountain forests in Kenya. This birth is the result of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Bongo Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program which manages Bongo in AZA zoos.

The new calf can be seen with his mother and herd at the Red Rocks area on warmer days.

Bongo pair

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Photo Credit: St. Louis Zoo

To learn more about bongos visit their page on the St.Louis Zoo website.