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July 2012

Oregon Zoo’s 12-year Effort to Save Endangered Pygmy Rabbits

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The Oregon Zoo’s 12-year effort to save the endangered Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit drew to a close on July 19, when the zoo released its last 14 breeding rabbits and their offspring at the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area in eastern Washington. The Pygmy Rabbit is America’s smallest native rabbit, weighing less than one pound when fully grown, and is the country’s only burrow-digging and sagebrush-climbing rabbit. The shy species is dependent on sagebrush, which makes up the majority of its diet and grows in deep, loose soil, where the rabbits dig burrows.

“We’ve helped give these rabbits a chance for survival, and now it’s time to send them off into the world,” said Michael Illig, Oregon Zoo animal curator. “Our hope is that they’ll continue to breed and establish a stable population at Sagebrush Flat. A strong Pygmy Rabbit population there will keep the local community involved and help preserve the habitat.”

The recovery program ends on a high note for these federally endangered bunnies. Nearly 30 kits were born under the Oregon Zoo’s watch this year. The rabbits, currently housed at the zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation in rural Clackamas County, are headed for a six-acre transitional enclosure at Sagebrush Flat that will acclimate the animals to their surroundings, encourage breeding and protect them from predators. Rabbits recently released from the enclosure have been tracked and are successfully living in the area — a good indication for future population growth, according to Illig.

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Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

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It's Here! ZooBorns' First Ever Interactive App!


Gift-shop-iconThe newest, cutest baby animals from the world’s zoos and aquariums are here to teach through sight, sound and touch! Let your child explore an exotic, adorable world of tiger cubs, penguin chicks, baby giraffes and more through captivating photos, fascinating videos, interactive scenes and spoken fun facts. This unique adventure is brought to you through a special collaboration between Peapod Labs’ award-winning ABC Series and Download it now at the App Store!







♥ So Many Baby Animals! — Tons of pictures, sounds, videos, spoken fun facts & interactive games
♥ Extends Vocabulary — 50+ animal words
♥ Links Letters To Words — navigate through the words by tapping letters
♥ Made Just For Them — simple interface so they’ll never get stuck
♥ More Than Just A Furry Face — animal and conservation facts educate while they entertain
♥ Carefully Curated Content — every video has been screened by parents


♥ An Animal Exploration — everything from aardvark to zebra
♥ Interactive Scenes — 50+ touch activities with baby animals
♥ Fun Videos — 100+ videos that let them see and hear baby animals

What's New at the Houston Zoo? This Masai Giraffe Calf!


The Houston Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a ­­male Masai Giraffe. Mom Tyra delivered the healthy baby shortly before 8 p.m. on July 14 following a 14 month pregnancy. This is 14-year-old Tyra’s seventh calf. The proud first time father, Mtembei is 5 years old. 

“Tyra went into labor at approximately 4:50 p.m. on July 14 and delivered her baby boy at 7:48 p.m.,” said Houston Zoo Hoofed Stock Supervisor John Register. The calf was standing on his own and nursing by 8:27 p.m. John added, “The calf weighs about 160 pounds (73 kilos), and is over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall. He’s a strong healthy baby."  

While Masai Giraffes are not threatened or endangered in their native habitat, there are 92 Masai Giraffes living in 24 North American zoos. Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal. The average male is about 17 feet tall and can weigh 3,000 pounds, while an average female is over 14 feet tall.  With this new arrival, the Houston Zoo’s herd of Masai Giraffe has grown to 8, including 5 males and 3 females.

The Houston Zoo is holding an online naming contest for the newest addition to the giraffe herd.  Visit the Zoo online at to cast your vote for your favorite choice from the list of names chosen by the Zoo’s giraffe keepers.



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Photo Credits: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

Rescued Manatee Gives Birth at SeaWorld!


A pregnant Manatee rescued by SeaWorld’s Animal team in June has given birth to a healthy Manatee calf. Born early on Wednesday morning, between 3 and 6 a.m., the newborn calf has been nursing and bonding with mom in a back area pool. SeaWorld’s Animal Care team is on 24-hour watch keeping a close eye on the pair, who are both doing well.




Photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando


Read the story of the rescue and the birth below the fold.

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There's a New Texan in Town


There's a new Texan in town, with big brown eyes, a white speckled coat, and a frisky gait. The Queens Zoo's longhorn calf lives with her mom and brother on the zoo's Farm exhibit. She seems particularly fond of her neighbors, the Scottish highland cows, who share her barnyard home.  

The female calf was born in May to Joan, a 7-year-old cow. The calf weighed 60 pounds at birth and is active and energetic. 

Texas longhorns are a domestic breed of cattle that developed as a result of cross breeding between feral and domestic cattle and are a popular symbol of the American Southwest.

Texas longhorns are known for their beauty and intelligence, and are named for their signature horns that can extend up to 6 feet from tip to tip. These hardy animals thrive in the Southwest's rugged terrain, and are the foundation stock of the region’s cattle industry. 



Photo Credit:  Julie Larsen Maher

Much ado over baby Pudu!


A baby Pudu, the world's smallest species of deer, recently made his debut at the UK's Bristol Zoo Gardens.

This male Pudu was born May 6 and has recently ventured out into his paddock for the first time.

The fawn weighed only about two pounds (1kg) at birth.  At one month, he weighed only four pounds (1.8kg) -- about half the weight of a newborn human baby! The tiny youngster is part of an international conservation breeding program. As with all Pudu fawns, he has distinctive white spotted markings on his back which help to camouflage him from predators.

Assistant curator for mammals Lynsey Bugg said, “Behaviour at the moment is still what you would expect from a young fawn. He enjoys hiding in shrubs and undergrowth where he feels most secure. Mum is very good at moving him around as she sees fit but he will always choose a quiet and secluded spot to settle."



Pudus are classified as a vulnerable species. They live in lowland temperate rainforests in Chile and south-west Argentina but their numbers have declined due to their rainforest habitat being destroyed and cleared for cattle ranching and other human developments, as well as natural predators such as pumas and foxes.

Pudus are the world’s smallest species of deer, standing about 14" (38cm) at the shoulder when fully grown and weighing around 20-33 pounds (9-15kg).  A male’s antlers only grow to four inches (10cm) long.

Photo Credits:  Bristol Zoo

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FREE Copy of ABC ZooBorns!


**The entry period for this giveaway has expired.  Thanks for entering, and lookout for new promotions and announcements of a winner!**

ZooBorns is giving away one FREE copy of its new book ABC ZooBorns! You must like us on facebook and visit our facebook gift shop as a fan. Please note, you will not receive instructions on how to enter unless you "like" ZooBorns on Facebook. Good Luck!

Black and White Striped Baby Zebra Bounds Around at Baton Rouge Zoo


On July 17, a Plains Zebra foal was the 23rd of its species born at BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo. It has been seen kicking up its heels, enjoying the grass and sunshine, when not sticking close to mom. While keepers have been unable to get near enough to tell it's gender, they believe it is a boy. Until they know, they will wait to name the energetic little one. 

While this baby weighs about 70 pounds (32 kg) now, it will grow to weigh between 450 - 600 pounds (204-272 kg) and stand 4 - 4.75 feet (1.2-1.5 meters) at the shoulder. The stripes of Zebras differ between species. Plains Zebra typically form a Y shape in their midsection, (also called their saddle). 

In the wild Plains Zebras live in southern and eastern African countries, such as Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, inhabiting savannas, open woodland and forest areas. Their diets consist of a variety of long and short grasses, leaves and other vegetation. Plains Zebras face several threats including poaching and habitat loss due to human encroachment. Watering holes and rivers are especially dangerous due to the threat of hungry lions, hyenas, crocodiles and other predators.



Photo Credit: BREC' s Baton Rouge Zoo

The Emerald Isle's Newest Baby Is A Tall One!

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Dublin Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Rothschild Giraffe calf. The confident female giraffe was born June 27 and joined the herd on exhibit just 3 days later.

Helen Clarke-Bennet, team leader of the African Plains said, “She is a beautiful, strong and healthy calf.  She is very confident for her age as most calves would not join the herd until a week after they are born, however she has integrated very well.  We are delighted with our new addition.”

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Photo credits: ©Patrick Bolger Photography

The Rothschild Giraffe is one of the most threatened of the nine Giraffe sub-species.  Rothschild male Giraffes grow to six metres in height and can weigh over 2000kg, fewer than 700 now live in the wild.  Their coat is a distinct mix of dark patches that are broken up by bright cream channels.  

See more photos and learn more below the fold...

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