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July 2012

Little Lynx Kitten Born at the Montreal Biodome

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On May 27 this little Lynx kitten was born at the Montreal Biodome. The baby is growing very quickly -- just this week it opened its eyes and as of today it weighs 2.5 pounds (1.135 kg). Having recently started to pad around with it's relatively big paws, the kitten is showing great curiosity about its surroundings. Its mother is very protective and keeps a careful watch over her little one. In the wild, young stay with their mothers for about nine months before they go out on their own.

Their rich, thick fur keep them warm in harsh winters and their large paws spread out to act as snowshoes. That fur causes them to be hunted for their pelts. Largely solitary animals inhabiting high-altitude forests in Europe, North America and Asia, small groups of Lynx have been known to travel and hunt together on the ground, in trees, or even by swimming to catch fish. These carnivores feed on a wide range of animals, hunting at night and steering clear of humans, so they are rarely seen. However, keepers expect this Lynx to take its place in the habitat in late July. 

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Photo Credit: Biodôme de Montréal


And Babies Make Three: ZooAmerica's Trio of Black-tailed Prairie Dog Kits

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ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pennsylvania is now home to 11 baby Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. The babies round out the Zoo’s Prairie Dog colony to a total of 20. These playful and sometimes vocal rodents were first spotted at the beginning of May and continue to be an entertaining highlight for visitors to the Big Sky Country region of the Zoo. A member of the squirrel family, as adults they will grow to weigh between 1-3 pounds and 13-17 inches in length from nose to tail. Their lifespan in the wild is from 3-5 years ,but can be up to 8 years in captivity.

In the wild these rodents live on North America's prairies and open grasslands in only a fraction of their former numbers, in underground burrows. They make a series of tunnels, sectioned off for different purposes - sleeping quarters, nurseries and a latrine! Family groups, called coteries, share these burroww, their food, groom each other and supply protection from predators such as snakes, foxes and burrowing owls. 

Much of the Great Plains has been converted to farmland or pastures where Prairie Dogs are not welcome. Because their landscaping is considered destructive, they are often considered to be pests and killed. Where at one time they were arguably the most abundant mannal in North AMerica, about 98% of all Prairie Dogs were exterminated, while their range has shrunken to about 5 %.

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Photo Credit: ZooAmerica

The Prairie Dogs are being bred at ZooAmerica to act as ambassadors for their species to teach and educate the public about their role in nature and why it is important to conserve and protect the places they are found. 


It's Two Tiny Roadrunner Chicks for ZooAmerica

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Pennsylvania's ZooAmerica welcomed two Roadrunner chicks in June.These chicks will grow to be 20-24 inches (50-61 cm) from tail to beak and 10-12 inches (25.5-30.5 cm) tall. A large black-and-white mottled ground bird with a distinctive head crest, Roadrunners scurry across the terrain in American deserts, as depicted in the well-known Warner Bros. cartoons. It can fly, but for only short distances as its wingspan can't keep its large body in the air for long. These chicks are members of the Cuckoo family, characterized by feet with 2 forward toes and 2 behind. 

Roadrunners feed on insects, scorpions, lizards, snakes, rodents and other birds, supplementing their diet with plants in winter. Because of its lightening quickness, it can prey upon rattlesnakes. It snatches a coiled rattlesnake by the tail, cracks it like a whip and hits its head against the ground until it's dead. It swallows the snake, but often can't take in the entire length at one time. That doesn't stop the Roadrunner! It will continue to on it's way with the snake dangling from its mouth, consuming another inch or two as the snake slowly digests.

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Photo Credit: ZooAmerica 

Read more about ZooAmerica's Roadrunners below the jump:

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It's a Baby Boy Giraffe, the Fourth for Binder Park Zoo

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A new arrival at Michigan's Binder Park Zoo is making his debut -- a baby Reticulated Giraffe named Mosi (meaning first-born) can now be seen in their Wild Africa habitat. The 113 pound, 5 foot tall calf came into the world on May 17 and is the fourth Giraffe born at Binder Park Zoo. The first three, also boys, were born in 2009. He brings the Zoo’s herd up to 10, 5 females and 5 males, which continues to be one of the nation’s largest herds of Giraffe. 

Mom Kay arrived at Binder Park Zoo in 2011 from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. Within a few months, zookeepers began to notice changes in her and suspected that she was pregnant. An ultrasound confirmed it and several weeks later Mosi was born. He was very small at birth, but Kay has been an excellent mother and he is doing very well.   

“After working with Giraffe for over 17 years, it is still amazing to get up close with these beautiful yet strange animals,” said Jenny Barnett, Binder Park Zoo Director of Wildlife Management, Conservation and Education. “They have an incredible grace about them from the moment they are born.”

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Photo Credit: John Grap/Battle Creek Enquirer

Read more about Binder Park Giraffes after the jump:

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A First for Akron Zoo: A Pair of Baby Snow Leopards!

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On May 14, for the first time in its history, Snow Leopard cubs were born at the Akron Zoo in Ohio. The two males are healthy and thriving indoors in a cubbing area with their mother Shanti. Born weighing about 2 pounds, at six weeks old the cubs weigh all of six pounds and their eyes have opened. They are able to walk and are starting to climb too. 

The Animal Care Staff suspected Shanti was pregnant in March and began watching her closely. In the evening of May 13 they started noticing changes in her behavior and began monitoring her via cameras set up indoors at her exhibit for the impending birth. The first cub was born at 4 a.m. on May 14 and the second at 5:51 a.m. Shanti, a first time mom, has been very attentive to the cubs, successfully caring for them on her own. As in the wild their father, Roscoe, does not participate in the rearing process. He will never have direct contact with the cubs. 

Snow Leopards are an endangered species primarily due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and body parts and killings by local herders when one has preyed on their livestock. There are only 155 Snow Leopards in the SSP (Species Survival Plan) in the U.S. and there are believed to be as few as 4,000 left in the wild. Only nine cubs have been born at zoos this year as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SSP. 

Dr. Kim Cook

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Photo Credit: Akron Zoo

Read more after the jump.

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Four Sea Lion Pups Share Spotlight –and the Same Dad

Sea lion pup Hellabrun Zoo
When four California Sea Lion pups were born in a single month at the Munich Zoo, park officials were ecstatic.  The pups were each born to different mothers and include three females, named Mona, Melly, and Momo, and one male, named Max. 

What’s even more amazing is that all four pups were sired by Barney, the Munich Zoo’s prolific adult male Sea Lion, who has already sired a record 28 offspring.  Barney got a head start on fatherhood because he became sexually mature at age three – two or three years earlier than the average male Sea Lion.

The Sea Lion pups are already perfecting their swimming techniques in the zoo’s Polar World exhibit.  Thanks to the rich milk produced by their mothers, the pups will grow dramatically in the first year of life.  By the time they are fully grown, the females will weigh over 200 pounds and the males will tip the scales at up to 800 pounds.

Sea Lion pup Hellabrun Zoo 1

Sea Lion pup Hellabrun Zoo 2

Continue reading "Four Sea Lion Pups Share Spotlight –and the Same Dad " »