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August 2012

Tawny Frogmouth Chicks Are Not Impressed.

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On July 9th and 11th, the Brookfield Zoo welcomed two Tawny Frogmouth chicks. Often mistaken for owls, these Australian birds also hunt at night, but prefer to relax and let their prey come to them, sometimes literally waiting for insects to crawl onto their feathers before snacking.

For reasons unknown, these chicks' parents—Eunice, who is on loan from Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina, and Gullet, who is from SeaWorld Orlando—abandoned the nest about halfway during the incubation period. To give the unborn chicks a chance at life, staff pulled the eggs and placed them in an incubator. Once the eggs hatched, they received round-the-clock care. Now at 3 weeks old, they have grown, are eating well, and appear to have a bright future ahead of them.

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Tawny Frogmouth Feeding Brookfield Zoo

The pairing of the adults was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Tawny Frogmouth Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited AZA zoos and aquariums. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Until the chicks are a little older, they will remain off exhibit while being cared for by Animal Programs staff. Guests are able to see the adult pair in the zoo’s Feathers and Scales building. The species is monogamous.

Tawny Frogmouth Brookfield Zoo 3Photo credits: Brookfield Zoo

More info below the fold

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Tennessee Aquarium has a Nursery Full of Tiny Turtles

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Florida Chicken Turtle

The Tennessee Aquarium’s collection of more than 500 Turtles from 75 different species got a boost with 21 babies from four species hatching this summer.

Aquarium senior herpetologist Bill Hughes reports eight Yellow-blotched Map Turtles hatched this year. This species is endemic to Mississippi. “They are declining in the wild because of habitat loss and are currently federally-protected,” Hughes said.  The sex of these hatchlings depends on the incubation temperature. Aquarium experts are able to manage the temperature carefully to get an even number of male and female Yellow-blotched Map Turtles. This is critical for the long-term success of any Turtle breeding program.

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Red-headed Amazon River Turtles

Seven endangered Red-headed Amazon River Turtles hatched this summer, as did three endangered Four-eyed Turtles. The Four-eyed Turtle gets its name from the false eye markings on the neck. The majority of the U.S. population of these Turtles is at the Tennessee Aquarium, the only zoo or aquarium currently breeding this species. “Critically endangered species, including many Asian species such as the Four-eyed Turtle, face a very real threat of disappearing in the wild,” said Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s curator of forests.

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Four-eyed Turtle

Finally, two Florida Chicken Turtles joined the baby boom at the Aquarium. This species is not threatened or endangered in the wild.  They were once commonly sold in southern markets as food. The meat was said to “taste like chicken.” Collins says breeding success among these rather abundant Turtles can help other endangered species.

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Four-eyed Turtle (left), Yellow-blotched Map Turtle (right)

Photo Credits:  Bill Hughes / Tennessee Aquarium


Rescued Manatee becomes a mom at Lowry Park Zoo

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An adult female Manatee named Joannie, who was rescued from a Florida river, gave birth July 13 to a full-term male calf at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The birth marks only the fourth in the zoo’s history, with the first occurring in May 2000. While at the Zoo, Joannie has also became a surrogate mother to an orphaned calf.

The male newborn, nicknamed Lad, is healthy and weighed 66.8 pounds after birth, and has been growing at the rate of approximately 10 pounds per week.

At the time of her rescue on January 31, Joannie was suffering from cold stress, which can be likened to hypothermia in humans.  The consequences of cold stress can be severe and often result in death.  Aware that she was expecting, the Zoo's Manatee rehab team monitored Joannie carefully to find out if the calf had survived its mother's life-threatenting condition.

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After the birth of Lad, Joannie became a surrogate mother to an orphan Manatee nicknamed Cheeno.

Cheeno arrived at the Zoo on February 15 suffering from cold stress as well. Though not a newborn, he has now established a bond with Joannie. On occasion, Lad and the 142-pound Cheeno can be observed nursing at the same time, on opposite sides. With Joannie’s help, Cheeno is packing on the pounds. 

The Zoo’s Manatee rehab team hope to release the mother Manatee with her own dependent calf and “adopted” orphan calf this fall or winter. 

Photo Credits:  Dave Parkinson


Two Nyala calves at Newquay Zoo for the 2nd year in a row!

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Last year staff and visitors at the United Kingdon’s Newquay Zoo celebrated the birth of two Nyala antelope, the first time ever the species was successfully bred at the Zoo. The zoo has done it again, with two more Nyalas born this summer.

Zoo Director Stewart Muir said, ‘‘I am thrilled at the success we are having with this species at Newquay. It is really important that we breed this species in captivity, as they disappeared from much of their range due to habitat destruction through farming and over-grazing by cattle. The species has managed to bounce back thanks to effective protections, re-introduction to certain areas and the contribution of zoos like Newquay to organised breeding programmes.’’

Mother Nyalas typically hide their newborn calves in thickets to protect them from predators, visiting them only to nurse and clean the calves. Although the species is not considered to be endangered, their numbers in the wild are decreasing in their home range of southeastern Africa.

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Photo credits:  Newquay Zoo

 

 

 

 


Gentoo Penguin Trio Debuts at Tennessee Auqaiurm

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A trio of Gentoo Penguin chicks is delighting guests at the Tennessee Aquarium.  Two chicks hatched on July 18 to different parents, and another chick hatched on July 30.  All three are on exhibit, so aquarium visitors can see the parents caring for and feeding the chicks throughout the day.

Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich says the first 30 days are critical for young birds, but all three are doing well under their parents’ care. “So far the parents are feeding well and the chicks are all very vocal, seem strong and are all moving around the nests, but they still have a long road ahead,” said Aldrich.   She notes that the dynamic in the Penguin colony has changed with the chicks’ arrival.  “The parents are very protective of the chicks and their nests, but even the birds without chicks are still very excited about what’s going on in the other nests,” she said.

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Senior aviculturist Amy Graves notes that for now, the adults sit right on top of the Penguin chicks in the nest.  “It’s just amazing to see such big birds sitting on such a tiny, fragile little chick in a rocky nest. They have to be so careful because one wrong move and they could injure the chick,” she said. 

Photo Credit:  Tennessee Aquarium
Video Credit:  Jane Corn

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Checking-in on Orphan Baby Walrus in I.Sea.U

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Two weeks ago we brought you the touching story of an orphaned Pacific Walrus calf rescued, cared for and comforted at Alaska SeaLife Center. Today we check back-in on the 275 lb. toddler and see he is making good progress and enjoying playtime in his pool. This calf also marks the first patient in Alaska SeaLife Center's newest animal care area,  the I.Sea.U critical care unit.

On June 8, the I.Sea.U was officially opened during World Oceans Day festivities as a nursery for stranded Sea Otters. Since no live Sea Otters were admitted to the stranding program this summer, the I.Sea.U remained unoccupied until now. “We prepared first for our most common species requiring intensive care, the Northern Sea Otter. Readying the space to house walrus had been planned for Phase 2 this coming winter, but we’ve gotten there more quickly with this pressing need,” said Brett Long, the Center’s husbandry director. The new unit will also have dedicated staff support and is physically separated from the other established stranding areas of the building.

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Great video of the Pacific Walrus calf rocking out in his pool

The unit was made possible through the generous donations from Barbara Weinig, the MK LeLash Foundation, ConocoPhillips, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and the Minnesota Zoo. The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska responding to stranded marine mammals. The Center responded to four stranded walrus calves between 2003 and 2007, but this year’s calves are the first walrus admitted in the last five years.

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Once a stranded marine mammal is admitted to the ASLC, it receives care from an experienced and dedicated veterinary and animal care staff. The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds, and encourages people who have found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal; instead, those individuals should call 1-888-774- SEAL (7325).


Newborn Grevy's Zebra Gives Mom the Run-around

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She may be only three-weeks old but a rare baby zebra born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is already making her mom earn her racing stripes. The as-yet-unnamed Grevy’s Zebra, born on July 17, can be spotted giving mother Henna the run around and gambolling in the paddock they share with the rest of the herd, including dad Abeba.

Africa section team leader Mark Holden said: “Henna is doing a great job of looking after her new arrival. It’s her first-born so she’s very protective but both of them are doing really well. The foal can often be seen up and running with the rest of the herd or having a rest with mom.” The leggy youngster was born with brown stripes that will turn black as she matures – her striped pattern is as unique as a fingerprint; no two zebra patterns are the same.

She is the 27th foal to be born at the Zoo as part of a European Endangered Species Program and is an important addition to the species which is classified as 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species -- with only an estimated 2,500 animals remaining in the wild. In the past, particularly in the 1970s and 80s, the Grevy's Zebra suffered declining numbers due to commercial hunting for their skins and have continued to be affected by habitat loss.

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Photo Credit: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


A Personal Appeal from ZooBorns

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We here at ZooBorns love what we do - sharing the newest, cutest baby animals from accredited zoos and aquariums and showcasing them as ambassadors for conservation. To pay the bills, we rely entirely on sales of the ZooBorns books and, more recently, our iPad and iPhone app for toddlers, entitled ABC ZooBorns.

Today our ABC ZooBorns app was featured in the iTunes App Store. This is a huge development for us and reflects the thought and effort that went into creating this beautiful, educational and extensive app, which includes 200+ photos, 50+ video, mountains of text. To date, the app has received exclusively five star reviews.

While this is all good news, we need your help. When you are featured in the App Store, you have a very narrow window of (realistic) opportunity to get your app ranked #1 in its respective category. In short, it's now or never. If you have an iPhone or iPad and a young child, we would sincerely appreciate your support. We promise you won't regret it. If you're not the parent of a young child, ABC ZooBorns makes a great gift, which you can send easily by clicking here and following the two step guide below:

Gift ABC ZooBorns App

We wish we had an Android app but, for the moment, we simply don't have the resources to get one developed. Perhaps if ABC ZooBorns for iPhone and iPad kicks butt, we can make it happen. Just like our books, 10% of our app revenue goes directly to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund. 

Sincere thanks for your support. We are privileged to have you as fans. 

- Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland (and we suspect Rochelle and Cheryl)

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Eighteen Ornate Box Turtles Hatch at Lincoln Park Zoo

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Lincoln Park Zoo's eighteen newly-hatched Ornate Box Turtles have a big future ahead. These quarter-sized turtles are part of a conservation effort between Lincoln Park Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that aims to restore the dwindling population of the threatened Ornate Box Turtle across the state. “Our job at Lincoln Park Zoo is to give these little guys the best possible head start. In a sense, we are a turtle nursery,” said General Curator Dave Bernier. “We love to work on these types of conservation projects, especially when an Illinois species that literally lives in our backyard is involved.”

The hatchlings will spend their first year at the zoo’s Kovler Lion House before being released into their natural home -- Illinois sand prairie. But it will take a village: Their zoo turtle team consists of Bernier, zoo reptile experts, and, unexpectedly, the exotic carnivore keepers at the Kovler Lion House. They will live in groups of six surrounded by comfy moss that they can use for nesting, and the climate will be kept warm and balmy – just the way turtles like it. Animal care staff will feed them specially formulated, high nutrient turtle chow. 

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Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

When the turtles are mature enough to be released, the zoo’s partners from USFWS will help them settle into their new home at Lost Mound Sand Prairie, a Unit of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Savanna, Ill. Located within the former Savanna Army Depot, the area used to be home to many Ornate Box Turtles before habitat loss caused by years of military activities drastically reduced the species’ population.

Read more about the conservation efforst after the jump:

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Camel Kisses And A Naming Contest In Brazil

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Sao Paulo Zoo in Brazil welcomed a male Dromedary Camel calf in the early hours of July 18th. Zara, the calf's mother, was not able to feed her baby, and zookeepers have begun to bottle-feed him with goat's milk. Until August 27th, the public can suggest a name for the baby and participate in a drawing to win a chance to feed him by hand!

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Photo credits: Carlos Nader / Sao Paulo Zoo

More photos beneath the fold!

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