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June 2012
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August 2012

July 2012

Meet National Zoo's Bustard and Burrowing Owl Chicks


The Smithsonian’s National Zoo welcomed two Kori Bustard chicks that hatched June 9 and 10. Keepers are hand-raising the chicks, which increases the likelihood that the chicks will breed successfully once they reach sexual maturity. Hand-rearing has another benefit; several wild birds of prey reside on Zoo grounds, and raising the chicks inside the Bird House eliminates the chance of conflict. The Zoo’s Nutrition department developed a specialized diet that contains pellets, crickets, peas, greens and fruit, and keepers feed the chicks every two hours between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Although the chicks will not be on exhibit until late August, Zoo visitors can see their parents at the Kori Bustard exhibit, located outside of the Bird House.

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Also making their summer debut at the Zoo’s Bird House are two Burrowing Owl chicks, hatched on May 24. At first the chicks are helpless and their eyes are closed. By age 2½ weeks, they are able to control their body temperature and begin to emerge from their burrows to beg for food. At 3 weeks old, they begin jumping and flapping their wings, and at 4 weeks, they are able to take short flights. Visitors can easily identify the chicks by their juvenile plumage, which lacks any of the white bars and spots of the adults. Burrowing Owls are one of the smallest owl species in North America. The average adult is 10 inches in length—slightly larger than an American Robin.

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Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

White Rhino Baby Big Bundle of Joy for Singapore Zoo


Singapore Zoo recently celebrated the birth of its thirteenth White Rhino -- an adorable and curious youngster. Aptly named Jumaane (which means born on Tuesday), he arrived on Tuesday, April 10, weighing approximately 155 pounds (70kg) at birth -- undoubtedly one of the biggest babies the Zoo has welcomed to date. He can be seen running or rolling around in the mud in his spacious exhibit at the Wild Africa region. Mom Shova is always close by, keeping a watchful eye.

White Rhinos are considered near threatened in the wild on the IUCN’s* Red List of Threatened species. Together with the Indian Rhino, it is the largest species of land mammal after the elephant. They are hunted for their horns, which some believe to have medicinal properties. In fact, the horns are actually made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails, and there has been no scientific evidence to suggest that they are a cure for any condition.

Singapore Zoo currently has eight of these majestic creatures in its collection, and boasts the most number of White Rhinos bred in a single zoo in Southeast Asia. Of the 13 babies born there, some have been sent to Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and Korea as part of the Zoo’s ex-situ conservation efforts through its worldwide exchange program.




Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Columbus Zoo's New Stars Have Stripes!

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Ohio's Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have new stars... and they have stripes! Two male Amur Tiger cubs were born on June 28 and 29 to first-time-mom, Mara. They are the first ever born at this zoo -- the last birth of any tiger subspecies there occurred in 1990. 

Weighing just two to three pounds at birth, the newborns are currently in intensive care in the Animal Health Center. Their condition is not yet stable and it is unknown when visitors will be able to see them. The first arrived at 10:41 p.m. and the second about four hours later. The newborn cubs, weighing just two to three pounds at birth, were initially monitored by the animal care team using a remote feed from a camera mounted in the den.

The team was already concerned about the health of the first cub which, despite nursing successfully shortly after the birth of the second cub, had not nursed for an extended period and appeared to be weakening when the Zoo lost power on the evening of June 29 due to a storm. Since they were unable to monitor the activity in the den, the team made the decision to remove both cubs for hand rearing. The cubs are being raised together for companionship and socialization.




Photo Credits: G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 


First Leopard Cubs, Now a Baby Lion For Jacksonville Zoo!


There is more cause for celebration at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. On the heels of the arrival of two Amur Leopard cubs comes a 3 and one-half pound bundle of joy. A tiny female lion cub was born June 30th to second time mother Tamu and father Mshoni. Mshoni is one of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' most genetically valuable Lions, making this a significant addition the AZA's population. With so little maternal experience, Tamu is unable to adequately nurse the newborn. Zookeepers and veterinarians have stepped in to supplement the cub's diet with formula bottle feedings and to closely monitor her to ensure her good health. This is first surviving lion birth at Jacksonville Zoo since 1974.



Photo credit: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Adonis Catfish Fry Hatch - A First at the Shedd Aquarium


Aquarists at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium noticed a large clutch of eggs being guarded by an Adonis catfish, (Acanthicus adonis) on February 27. The fish continued to guard and fan the eggs, which hatched 5 days later. Most of the fry were removed to reserve for grow out, but some were left with the parent, who continued to guard the fry.  

The fry that were left with the father stayed near him for another 2 1/2 weeks. Aquarists estimate that the clutch numbered around 1000 individuals. This is Shedd Aquarium’s first birth with this species. The fry on reserve are growing and doing well. 



Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez

UPDATE! Fishing Cat Kittens at Smithsonian's National Zoo


You may have seen these Fishing Cat kittens on ZooBorns on June 15, the first ever at the Smithsonian National Zoo, born on May 18. 

On June 29, at 6 weeks old, the two kittens - a male and female - received a clean bill of health from zoo vets. The team performed a complete physical exam, which includes listening to the kittens’ heart and lungs, checking their mouth, eyes, legs, feet and genital area and feeling their bellies. The kittens also received the first of a series of vaccines that protect against feline distemper and some upper respiratory viruses.

Their birth marked an important milestone: this is the first time fishing cats have successfully bred and produced young at the National Zoo. Keepers are monitoring mother Electra and her offspring through a closed-circuit camera, allowing the family time to bond. The kittens are very active and spend much of their time playing and watching Electra fish in their enclosure. Although the family will not make its public debut until later this summer, Zoo visitors can see their father, Lek, on exhibit at the Asia Trail.




Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

Welcome to Baby Mouse Lemur Season!

Baby Mouse Lemurs Duke Lemur Center 1

The Duke Lemur Center is smack-dab in the middle of baby Mouse Lemur season with seven little ones, born to four mothers, in the month of June alone. Four more Mouse Lemur females are pregnant so there are more of these feisty little guys on the way. The first photo shows a set of frantic Mouse Lemur triplets who arrived on June 5th. The second photo and video show a much calmer singleton. These four are named Bluebell, Blackberry, Pipkin and Dogbane.

Gray Mouse Lemurs are among the world's smallest primates, weighing only about 1/8th of a pound as adults At night this species hunts alone, leaping between thin branches in the treetops. By day they curl up in tree holes with up to fifteen other Mouse Lemurs to sleep in a furry heap. There are seventeen different species of Mouse Lemur, but they all look nearly the same, making research challenging. Only through genetic testing can scientists be sure of what species they are observing. 

Baby Mouse Lemur Duke Lemur Center 2Photo credits: Duke LemurCenter / David Haring

You Must Have Been a Beautiful Victoria Crowned Pigeon Chick


On June 5, a pair of Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Violet & Ozzy, hatched a healthy chick for the first time at Colchester Zoo. The chick was first seen with its head peering out of the nest by keepers on the June 9. The chick will be tended to by both parents until it is 13 weeks old, when the chick becomes independent. 

Curator, Clive Barwick says, “Victoria Crowned Pigeons are known to be notoriously clumsy parents as both eggs and chicks have been known to be accidentally kicked out of nests! The first week after the chick hatched was very tentative, but we are glad that our young and inexperienced hen proved highly competent”.

According to the IUCN Red List the Victoria Crowned Pigeons current status in the wild is vulnerable due to hunting and logging. Colchester Zoo is proud to be part of the conservation of this species and are very pleased to have their first ever Victoria Crowned Pigeon chick. Victoria Crowned Pigeons are one of the largest pigeons in the world and are native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Their habitat is generally lowland forests and roosting in trees, their diet consists of fruit and seeds.

Chick 3

Photo Credit:Colchester Zoo

Bath Time for Tiny Tiger!

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Minnesota Zoo’s 3-week-old Amur Tiger cub is growing strong and thriving under round-the-clock care from a crew of dedicated zoo keepers.  Born on June 17, the cub was removed from first-time mother Angara because she was not caring for her baby.  The cub is being hand-raised by zoo keepers.

Zoo staffers report that the female cub is very active and feeds every four hours, day and night.  The cub weighs 5.5 pounds and her eyes are now open.  Mother Tigers normally wash their cubs by licking them with their rough, sandpapery tongue.  To bathe this cub, zoo keepers gave the cub a bath with the help of water, soap, and a thick towel.  The result:  a clean and fluffy cub!

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The largest of all cats and one of six remaining tiger subspecies, Amur Tigers are a top predator of far eastern Asia. Thick fur and padded paws protect them against the extreme cold and icy winds of winter, while stripes help render them nearly invisible to prey. Amur Tigers are carnivores, eating mostly large mammals such as deer and wild boar. They will travel over extensive forest territories in search of food. With stealth, speed, and sheer strength, Amur Tigers are well-suited to their role as a hunter. 

Amur Tigers’ home range, reputation as a threat to livestock and humans, and value to poachers has led to their population decline. Around 1940, wild Amur Tiger populations in Russia were estimated to be as low as 20 or 30 individuals. In 2005, scientists estimated that the population had recovered to 430-500 individuals, but it is thought that wild Amur Tigers have declined since then to about 350. Concerted conservation efforts help protect the remaining endangered tigers from the persistent threats of poaching and habitat loss. 

Wolf Quints Make Their Debut

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Five furry European Grey Wolf pups made their debut last week at Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.  Born on May 25 to mum Elara and dad Puika, the still-shy six-week-old pups are starting to explore their forested habitat, aptly named Wolf Wood.   It’s been 12 years since Wolves were born at the park.

The pups’ genders are not yet known, but park officials have already decided to name one of the pups “Forty,” in honor of the park’s 40th anniversary.   

 “The pups, especially one particularly bold individual, are now beginning to wander around the large wooded enclosure, which does seem to cause their mother some anxiety,” said Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager.  “The Park is visited by quite a number of people with a special interest in Wolves and it is hoped that this latest breeding success will generate further interest in this much-maligned species, especially as it is an animal that formerly roamed over most of the country.”

Wolves were once common throughout Europe, but in the 1800s, they were eliminated in most of central and northern Europe.  Since then, Wolves have been reestablished in some parts of the region, despite threats from overhunting and poaching.  Today, the largest wild European Grey Wolf populations are in the eastern European countries of Poland and Romania, and in the Balkans.

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Photo credit:  Alex Riddell