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April 2012
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May 2012

Baby Seal Takes the Plunge Minutes after Birth

Harbor Seal Pup and Mom 1

Most Harbor Seals give birth to their first pup at age four or five, but mother Shelby just had her first baby at age 16! The female pup was born April 26 in the Aquarium of the Pacific's Seal and Sea Lion Habitat. The little girl weighed around 20 pounds at birth. The pup appears to be healthy and behaving normally. As you can see in the first video below Harbor Seal pups can swim immediately after birth!

Staff members are currently allowing the mother and pup to bond and will continue to monitor the animals. Aquarium staff members closely monitor the health and well-being of all of the Aquarium’s animals on a continuous basis. Shelby’s pregnancy was discovered during a recent exam by Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. Lance Adams. Husbandry staff members determined that keeping Shelby on exhibit in her normal surroundings would be the best option for keeping her comfortable during the pregnancy.

Baby Seal Loves Instagram!Habor Seal Pup and Mom Instagram 1

Harbor Seal Pup Aquarium of the Bay 1
Photo 1 and 2 credits: Terri Haines. Photo 3 credit: Hugh Ryono

Pup's Birth and First Swim!

Flipper Fight!

“Since Shelby is a first-time mother, she does not have experience rearing young. The Aquarium’s marine mammal experts will be watching Shelby’s parenting skills to ensure the pup is receiving the proper nutrition while Shelby and her pup begin to bond. The staff is cautiously optimistic, as seal pups are at the highest risk during the first few weeks of life,” said Dudley Wigdahl, the Aquarium’s curator of marine mammals.

Follow the pup's progress on the Aquarium's blog.

Puma Cubs Greet the Day in the UK

The UK's Exmoor Zoo just announced the birth of three beautiful Puma cubs! Born on March 31, the zoo kept them a secret until they could be seen at the mouth of their den in their enclosure. These five-week-old cubs look nothing like their parents as they are all covered in camouflaging spots.
Curator Danny Reynolds said “We are all so proud of Fu and Nikko, our adult pumas, as this is the first time either have been parents." The parents and cubs progress has been carefully monitored by zoo staff and the babies are thriving.
Pumas are one of the most secretive large cats in the world. They go by many names, from Mountain lion to Cougar. Very few are maintained in Zoos compared to years ago; Fu and Nikko have both been bred in Europe and brought to the UK to help reverse that scenario. The UK has less than three actual pairs spread around its shores. In the wild, this cat has one of the largest distributions of any mammal covering two of the biggest land masses on earth -- North and South America encompassing both the Andes and Rockies as well as the Amazon rainforest. Like the leopard, the puma is extremely adaptable and able to live around people without being seen or noticed in the wild. Their terriroty often can cover an area of 100 square miles.



Photo credit: John Hammond 

Better Bottle Feed That Baby!


Keepers at Des Moines, Iowa's Blank Park Zoo sprang into action when it became clear the mother of a new born baby Japanese Macaque was neglecting her infant. The female baby monkey, born April 20, is now being bottle fed every couple of hours and will remain in keepers' care until she is fully weaned and able to rejoin the Macaque troop. 

“This is a positive step forward for the Japanese macaque breeding program, but we can’t call it a success until the mothers learn how to care for their young” said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation. “None of our females of breeding age have raised a baby before so that is why keepers had to intervene.”




Japanese macaques are threatened due to deforestation and the loss of their habitat. As human development invades the territories of these macaques, human and macaque encounters increase, and about 5000 macaques are captured or shot each year (despite protection from the Japanese government) for they are considered as agricultural pests.

Continue reading "Better Bottle Feed That Baby! " »

Baby Bear Quadruplets for Zoo Sauvage

Baby Bear Cubs Zoo Sauvage Up Close 1

When Zoo Sauvage's twelve year old mama Black Bear emerged from the den after hibernation this spring, she brought a surprise… or four. Bear cub quadruplets are rare and usually reflect a healthy mother who is larger than your average bear - this she-bear fits the bill. Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien's Black Bears live in an open 824 acre habitat called Nature Trail Park.

Baby Bear Cubs Zoo Sauvage With Mom 1Photo credits: Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien

Spot On! Newly Born Jaguar Cubs at San Diego Zoo


One of two Jaguar cubs born at the San Diego Zoo on April 27 takes its turn on the scale. The 12-day-old cub, which weighs 4.2 pounds, is still too young to get on and off the scale on its own. The two unnamed siblings will remain in the den for a couple of months until they are able to walk outdoors on their own. Keepers have yet to determine the sex of the cubs. The pair are the first Jaguars born at the San Diego Zoo since 1989.

Although these two young cubs may look adorable, females can grow to 70 pounds while males can reach 120 pounds. Jaguars are the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest of the world's cats. The South American native word for Jaguar, yaguara, means "animal that kills in a single bound."


Photo credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

Unfortunately, demand for the Jaguar's beautiful rosette-covered fur is one of the reasons this species is endangered. In addition, loss of habitat and the human-animal conflict have reduced populations of Jaguars throughout their range from North America through South America.

Update: New African Penguin Chick Video from Georgia Aquarium

Penguin chicks

Get your fuzzy here! The world's largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium located in Atlanta, recently announced that they successfully hatched two African Penguin chicks within two weeks of each other in early January. These valuable baby birds have been hand-reared behind-the-scenes by keepers. Watch the video below for their story and read our ZooBorns article from April 6 that's packed with pictures of their growth over 35 days. 

A Quartet of Critically Endangered Egyptian Tortoises


A Quartet of tiny Tortoises (critically endangered Egyptian Tortoises to be exact) has hatched at Marwell Wildlife in Hampshire, U.K. The first youngster to hatch weighed just 3.9g and measures slightly taller than the height of a nickel! New hatchlings may be small but this species can go on to live for up to 50 years.

Egyptian Tprtoises are nearly extinct in the wild. Their habitat (two small populations remain in Libya) has been largely destroyed by human activity. The species is also threatened by the illegal pet trade.




Photo credit: © Solent Newsagency

Marwell currently houses 10 adults in its Cold Blooded Corner. A full size adult can grow to around 15 centimeters long and weigh 500 grams. Two of Marwell's females laid eggs earlier in the year and these were removed and placed in an incubator to ensure optimal conditions for their development; precisely 30 degrees centigrade and 75% humidity.

Feisty Wolverine Cubs - First-ever in the UK!

Wolverine Cub at Cotswold Wildlife Park 1

The United Kingdom just welcomed it's first-ever Wolverine cubs at Cotswold Wildlife Park. While the trio were born in January, the cubs are just now making their debut from the den. Born to mom Sharapova and her mate Sarka, the cubs are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP). There are only eighty wolverines in zoos worldwide.

The cubs are born blind, with a cream colored fluff, which turns darker at the same time as the typical face mask develops. After spending around nine weeks in the den, keepers (and visitors) are finally seeing the rare cubs as they venture out and explore their new woodland enclosure. Wolverines feature prominently in many Finnish myths and legends, so the cubs have been given Finnish names: Ensin (meaning ‘first’, as they are the first to be born in this country, Nalka (meaning ‘hungry’, due to their voracious appetite) and Niemi (named after the Curator’s daughter).

Wolverine Cubs Together Cotswold Wildlife Park

Wrestling Wolverine Cubs at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Jamie Craig, Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park and member of the EEP committee for Wolverines, said: “The Wolverines are a particular favorite at the Park and certainly do not deserve their fearsome reputation! Having said that, Sharapova is extremely protective of her cubs and keeps a close eye on the inquisitive male, Sarka. We are delighted to be the first UK collection to breed this species and the cubs will eventually move on to become important breeding animals in other European zoos.”

Wolverines are the largest terrestrial mustelid, which puts them in the same family as weasels, martins, otters and other animals . The elusive beast has a reputation for its power and ferocity and is also known as ‘The Glutton’ due to its rapacious appetite, consuming large quantities in one sitting. Wolverines possess one of the most powerful bites per square inch of any mammal.

Santa Ana Zoo's Golden-headed Tamarin Baby a Boost for the Species


The Santa Ana Zoo in California announced the April 26 birth of a Golden-headed Lion Tamarin. Closely related to the golden lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarins have a black body with a golden-orange face and that same coloring on their hands. Weighing less than 1 pound as adults, the babies tip the scale at about 1/8th of a pound!

These rare monkeys are found only on the Atlantic coast of Brazil and are on special loan from the Brazilian government. Zoos have worked together for several decades on the conservation of this species. Captive breeding, habitat restoration, conservation education and reintroductions into the wild are all part of the international effort to protect and presesrve them. This baby is a great boost to the conservation program. The Santa Ana Zoo’s four golden-headed lion tamarins, combined with eleven closely related golden lion tamarins, make up one of the largest groups of lion tamarins in North America.

Photo Credit: Ethan Fisher/Santa Ana Zo

Two Little Reindeer Born at Prague Zoo

Nose pose

Prague's Zoo Praha has two new baby reindeer, a boy and a girl. The male was born on Friday the 13th and the female came along about three days later. They went out in the zoo's large paddock for visitors to see for the first time on April 20. The mothers can be seen with their babies following closely behind them.  The father of both is Mirda, who himself was born in Prague Zoo.

Their large, broad hooves spread apart to form a nearly circular print and help them navigate the soft ground that covers much of the tundra in which they live in the wild. They also aid in digging for food under the snow. 

Reindeer are a species of deer found in the far northern areas of arctic Europe, Asia, and North America extending onto the tundra above the tree-line. They are called Caribou in America. Domesticated for thousands of years, they were mainly used as beasts of burden and farmed for milk, meat and their hides, reindeer have been the economic basis of the Lapp culture. Today they are raised in many areas of the world outside of their native arctic.




Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha