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February 2012
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March 2012

How About a Couple of Baby Cheetahs?

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On February 29th, Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon welcomed the birth of two baby Cheetahs. The cubs, named Mchumba and Khayam, are being hand-reared by park vets to ensure their safety. Their mother displayed strange behavior following their birth and experts agreed that round the clock care was critical to their survival. A public debut of the cubs is planned for the Memorial Day Weekend.

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Photo credits: Wildlife Safari

Triple Play! Capybara Babies at Twycross Zoo


A trio of Capybara babies were born at Twycross Zoo this month and they are out in the sunshine, exploring their habitat. Capybara usually only breed once a year, and have a gestation period of 5 months, giving birth to up to 8 young. The babies are born weighing just about 2 pounds (.91 kgs).

The Capybara can be found in several types of social groupings, ranging from simple male-female pairings, to parents and young to larger mixed groups, with one male that is dominant over all the females in that group. Here the little ones mix easily with the adults, but look pretty small in comparison!

The babies nostrils, eyes and ears are all positioned on top of its head because they will spend a lot of time in the water -- and in the wild, they'd need to look out for predators while swimming. Their webbed toes will help them become both excellent swimmers and divers. Their diet is based on water based vegetation and grasses. Water plants, young buds and soft tree bark are eaten in the day and fresh grass in the evening.

The range of the Capybara covers much of South America east of the Andes down to south Uruguay where they inhabit densely vegetated areas around ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes and swamps.




Photo Credit: Twycross Zoo



Golden Lion Tamarin Babies Are A Boon For Conservation


The arrival of new baby Golden Lion Tamarins on February 14th has brought particular joy to Zoo Basel. Castor (17) and Lilian (5) have become an experienced breeding pair with their second delivery of twins. Last year, they made the headlines with Basel Zoo’s first golden lion tamarin birth in twenty years. This year’s two baby Monkeys are full of energy and doing very well.

The zoo has had to wait a long time for these happy events, as the last opportunity to marvel at young golden lion tamarins in Basel was twenty years ago. The first pairing between Castor, from Sweden, and Lilian, imported from Holland, took place following an approach phase of just under two years in exile whilst the monkey house was being renovated. Apparently they now feel equally at home in the re-opened monkey house, demonstrated by the arrival of their two offspring on 14th February this year. Twin births are common in Tamarin and Marmoset pairings, and are standard for Golden Lion Tamarins.

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Photo credit: Zoo Basel

Golden Lion Tamarins live in family groups of up to ten. In Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest, their area of origin, a family will claim a territory covering an area at least four times the size of Basel Zoo. What is particularly fascinating about these monkeys is the way in which social frameworks vary greatly from family to family. The most common framework is a pairing for life (monogamy), followed by a female with multiple male mates (polyandry) and a male with multiple female mates (polygyny). All members of the group are needed to successfully rear young. For example, the father offers energetic help in carrying the young monkeys around on his back.

Continue reading "Golden Lion Tamarin Babies Are A Boon For Conservation" »

Baby Got His Bottle After A Rough Start


This week, the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) welcomed its first stranding patient for the 2012 season. On Monday, residents of Port Heiden discovered a deceased Northern sea otter and her surviving male pup along Meshik Beach. The Port Heiden community provided overnight care for the otter, feeding him every four hours as instructed by Center staff. The pup was then flown to King Salmon, where ASLC senior veterinarian Dr. Pam Tuomi joined him on his journey to the professional care facility in Seward. Both Dr. Tuomi and the otter arrived safely at the Center late Tuesday night.


Photo credit: Alaska SeaLife Center


Meshik, named after the location where he was found, is approximately three weeks old and weighs almost seven pounds. Husbandry Director Brett Long reports that Meshik “is doing well, eating a healthy mixture of formula and fluids.” The ASLC staff would like to thank the residents of Port Heiden for their considerate effort caring for Meshik and their cooperation regarding the incredible logistics of this multi-community transport. 

Continue reading "Baby Got His Bottle After A Rough Start" »

Baby Pygmy Hippo Takes Her First Steps Outdoors

Mom and baby

A Baby Pygmy Hippo named Eve was the last birth of 2011 for Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, with mom Ellen giving birth right on New Year’s Eve. Mom and baby seem to have a really strong bond. An excellent parent, Ellen gave birth to her first calf, another girl called Leishan, in 2009. Eve is a little shy and tends to stick close to her. Just this week something new happened -- the little one started venturing into her outdoor enclosure from the cozy pygmy hippo house, under the protective gaze of her mother.

Baby Eve grows in confidence every day, having tackled swimming lessons from mom just a few days after she was born. Surprisingly, given their love of water, pygmy hippos have to be taught how to swim.Very strong swimmers, Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa, and can often be spotted paddling around and making a splash in their enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Perfectly adapted to this love of the water, they have muscular valves that close their ears and nostrils when submerged.

Donald Gow, senior primate and hoofstock keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Pygmy hippos are endangered in the wild and numbers are declining, so it’s fantastic that Edinburgh Zoo has such a natural mom like Ellen. She’s got great maternal instincts."


Photo Credits: Edinburgh Zoo

Read pygmy hippo facts after the jump:

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Critically Endangered Kitten Born To A Domestic Cat!

Photo credit: Audubon Institute

An adorable newborn kitten at Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species represents an innovation in reproductive technology pioneered in New Orleans at Audubon Nature Institute. An African Black-footed Cat kitten was born February 6, 2012, to an ordinary domestic cat, becoming the first of its kind to be born from inter-species embryo transfer.

This birth is the latest breakthrough in assisted reproduction for endangered species from Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans.


Story Begins Years Ago
The story of the newborn kitten goes all the way back to 2003, when sperm was collected from a 6 year old male named Ramses by scientists at the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Center for Conservation and Research, in Omaha, Nebraska. The sample was shipped overnight to Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans where it was frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen. In March, 2005, the sperm was thawed and combined with eggs from Zora, a black-footed cat living at the Audubon research center.

Continue reading "Critically Endangered Kitten Born To A Domestic Cat!" »

A Camel Kid Named Georgie


On February 6, Belfast Zoo keepers celebrated the zoo's first birth of 2012, to parents Douglas and Colonia, with the arrival of Georgie the Vicuña.

Vicuñas are the smallest member of the camel family and originate from the mountainous regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. This species was once hunted to the brink of extinction for their wool and meat. However, in the 1960’s, the creation of national parks and trade restrictions helped to protect the species.  Zoos also played their part in their conservation and vicuña are now part of a European breeding program.

Zoo Manager, Mark Challis, is delighted with the arrival, “The vicuña family live right at the top of the Belfast Zoo site and visitors can now visit Georgie and her parents in their hilltop enclosure. Their Cave Hill home is perfect, as vicuña are specially adapted to live in rocky and mountainous terrains. We are looking forward to celebrating the arrival of many more!”


Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo 

It's a Red River Hog Piglet Duo for Calgary Zoo

Mum two

The Calgary Zoo has two new residents! On the morning of March 12 first time mom Ine (Swahili for “four”) gave birth to two Red River Hog piglets. The wee ones were observed nursing well and the building has re-opened. This will be the fourth litter of red river hogs for the Calgary Zoo.

Red river hogs are native to West and Central sub Saharan Africa to Northern South Africa and Madagascar. Their gestation period is 120-127 days. Red River Hogs are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP), a network of breeding recommendations between accredited zoos to provide for the best possible genetic diversity of the species.

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Photo Credit: Clagary Zoo


Significant Birth: Hamilton Zoo's Southern White Rhino

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On March 6 a female Southern White Rhino calf was born at Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand, the sixth to be born at the facility and the seventh to be bred there. The new calf is the second for mother Moesha, age 18, and the fourth for father Kruger, age 23. The "little" one brings the zoo’s current herd population to seven.  

Hamilton Zoo Team Leader of Mammals Samantha Kudeweh, said the birth of the calf is significant for the species as a whole. “Zoo populations have an important role to play in the conservation of species such as rhinos,” she said. “Rhinos bred and housed in zoos, such as this new calf, serve as ambassadors for wild populations and conservation projects, as well as provide genetically sound reserve populations in case of major decline in range states.”

Southern white rhino have been a major success story of wildlife conservation – while their numbers were reduced to less than 100 animals in the early 1900s, conservation efforts have seen the wild population increase to over 20,000 as at the end of 2010. A recent boom in the black market price for rhino horn has been driven by its perceived value as a traditional Asian medicine remedy and has resulted in a dramatic increase in poaching over the past two years.  



The end

Photo Credit:Hamilton Zoo