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July 2012
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September 2012

August 2012

Tiny Greater Flamingo Chicks Beat the Heat


Covered in fluffy grey hair and standing just under 12 inches (30 cm) tall, the newest additions to ZSL London Zoo’s Flamingo flock are enjoying their first dip in the big pond. Hatched just two weeks ago, the pair of Greater Flamingo chicks have so far been watching mom and dad from the sidelines, but the hot weather finally tempted them to have a paddle in the water.

Flamingos make nests by piling up mud into a mound. A single egg is laid and is incubated by both parents, who also particiapte in rearing the chick. Nicknamed Wenlock and Mandeville by keepers, as these two have hatched just in time for the Olympic Games, the cute pair won’t develop their iconic pink feathers until they’re approximately a year old, and will eventually grow to be four feet tall.  

While Flamingos seem abundant in zoos and the wild, they have become vulnerable due to human disturbance of their colonies - their nests, eggs and habitat.

Mandeville 1
Photo Credit: ZSL London  


Four New Meerkat Pups a Hit at Blackpool Zoo


Four Meerkat pups are fast becoming the star attraction at Blackpool Zoo after being born last month. Their mother arrived from the Cotswolds Wildlife Park in January 2012 and became pregnant within months. Keepers were thrilled to find the four pups doing well and feeding from mum on the morning of July 4 after an 11 week gestation period. 

Sofie Fawzy, Senior Mammal Keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Meerkats have gone from virtual obscurity to super stars in the past three years here at the zoo, and we are really pleased to welcome the four tiny pups to our meerkat family. Meerkat adoptions have gone through the roof and there is always a crowd watching the comical creatures."

Over the next two months the babies will become more and more independent, becoming fully weaned and eating solids withing 49 to 63 days. Blackpool Zoo’s Meerkat mob is fed on a diet of chicken, mice, beef chunks, mealworms and fruit and vegetables. In the wild, Meerkats live in the deserts and grasslands of the southern tip of Africa.




Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

Help Name This Baby Eastern Black Rhino


A Eastern Black Rhinoceros calf was born on July 1 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and it's a boy! The calf weighed about 80 pounds (36 kg) at birth and is growing fast. In just four weeks he now tips the scales at about 150 pounds (68 kg). When fully grown he will weigh about 3,000 pounds or 1360 kg! Animal keepers will give mother and baby time to bond and hope they can be put on exhibit shortly in the Zoo’s African Savanna. 

The Zoo hopes the public will help name the calf by visiting and voting through August 9 for their favorite potential rhino name. Tthe winning name will be revealed on August 10.

The Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) is classified as “Critically Endangered” in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the primary organization for quantifying conservation assessment efforts.  The IUCN estimates there are less than 1,000 of this rhino subspecies left in the wild, concentrated primarily in Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has been very successful in breeding Eastern Black Rhinos as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Program; this is the fifth successful rhino birth at the Zoo since 2000. 




Photo Credit: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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This little piggy is one of 17 born at Ostrava Zoo


Two Mangalitza sows at the Czech Republic’s Ostrava Zoo gave birth to their first litters of piglets in late June.  Because the Ostrava Zoo only maintains female Mangalitza Pigs, the sows had been sent to the Vyskov Zoo in January, where they spent three months with a boar.  The result:  17 piglets!  One sow delivered ten piglets; the other seven.  These were the first litters for each sow.

Mangalitza Pigs, which originated in Hungary, are also known as curly-haired hogs due to their long, fleecy coat.  Once widely bred for their lard, Mangalitza pigs are now regarded as a rare breed. 



Photo Credits:  Ostrava Zoo

Hey, Kid! Markhor Baby Welcomed at Rosamond Gifford Zoo


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York welcomed a baby Markhor on July 20.  Born to parents Edith and Sunny, the 5.8 pound female kid is the first Markhor born at the zoo in nine years.

“The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has long been committed to international Markhor conservation efforts,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “We’ve been working on expanding our herd over the past year, and the addition of some younger animals is allowing us to make valuable contributions to the North American population.”

The Markhor is the largest member of the goat family, standing up to 45 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 250 pounds. There are several differences between the males and females of the species, with males having longer hair on the chin, throat, chest and shanks, and longer horns, which are up to five feet in length.



The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.  Its name comes from the ancient Persian words “mar” and “khor,” which translate into “the snake eater.” Although male Markhors have been known to occasionally stomp on snakes and kill them, they don’t actually consume the snake afterwards. Markhors are herbivores – the males are just protecting their harems (groups of females) from danger.

Photo Credits:  Amelia Beamish

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Weedy Sea Dragon Brood a first for Monterey Bay Aquarium


The Monterey Bay Aquarium animal care team and a nurturing weedy sea dragon dad have achieved a milestone reached by only four other aquariums in North America: the birth of a brood of sea dragon babies.

More than 80 of the inch-long fish – Australian relatives of the seahorse – began hatching on July 22. The father, who carried the eggs in a brood pouch under his tail, delivered the young, with the last eggs hatching on August 2.

The young are being raised behind the scenes for now, said Associate Curator of Fish and Invertebrates Jonelle Verdugo, who heads the seahorse husbandry team at the aquarium. If they survive and thrive, visitors may get to see them as part of a special exhibition. Others will be transferred to colleague institutions with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Verdugo said the papa weedy sea dragon remained on exhibit and was free to swim about as usual while he was giving birth. Each day, the young were moved behind the scenes as they hatched, and placed in smaller aquariums to receive closer attention from caregivers.



Photo Credits:  ©Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

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Coati Cuteness at Tiergarten Delitzsch


A pair of coatis debuted at Germany’s Tiergarten Delitzsch this week, providing plenty of entertainment for zoo visitors.  After spending the first few months of life secluded in their barn, the baby coatis are just beginning to explore their enclosure.

Zoo keepers have not yet determined the gender of the babies, which are the first to be born at the zoo since the mid-1990s.  This is the first litter for the zoo’s coati pair.

Coatis are native to Central and South America, where they live in a wide range of habitats, from arid grasslands to cold mountainous areas.  Closely related to raccoons, coatis feed on invertebrates, fruit, lizards, and bird eggs.  The long, flexible snout, which can be rotated in any direction, provides impressive sniffing power as coatis forage for food among the leaf litter.




Photo Credits:  Tiergarten Delitzsch

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Meet Hobbit, Highland Wildlife Park's Newborn Takin


The Mishmi Takin herd at the UK's Highland Wildlife Park has welcomed a newborn male calf called Hobbit. Born early in July to doting mum Cava and indifferent dad Raci, this Mishmi Takin is the first calf to be reared in the Highland herd since 2010.  Hobbit by name, hobbit in size - this youngster is easy to spot due to the size difference between him and the adults and his 2 year old siblings. He also has a white band of hair across his forehead where his horns will eventually be. At just 20 days old, Hobbit is still staying quite close to mum Cava, but has more recently been exploring the enclosure solo. Amazingly takin calves can follow their mums just one day after birth over a whole host of different terrain.

Due to their size and muscular strength the only predators for these feisty animals are tigers, leopards and possibly bears, although they now find themselves under threat in the wild due to hunting for meat, the traditional medicine trade and habitat loss.

Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said, "Because of their size and slightly bizarre appearance, the takin are fairly popular with our visitors, in part because most people cannot quite figure out what they are. From a conservation perspective, the Mishmi takin is listed as Endangered and the European breeding program, which is managed by staff from the Highland Wildlife Park, may be of increasing importance given the pressures upon the wild population."


Photo Credit: Alex Riddell

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Hang On! It's a New Baby Anteater for Busch Gardens


A baby Anteater was born in June at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Keepers are not yet sure if the little one is male or female but once they are able to identify the gender, it will be named. Just over a month old, the pup currently weighs less than 5 pounds (2.26 kg) but will grow up to weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kg) -- just like its parents, Adelhi (mother) and Buddy (father).

Anteater babies nurse for six months and are carried on their mothers’ backs for up to a year. The baby is born with a full coat of fur and its color, texture and pattern almost completely blends in; by these means it's protected from predators. Once an adult, this newborn will use its 4-inch-long (10 cm) claws to open termite mounds. There its 2-foot-long (.60 m) tongue will come in handy, extending up to 150 times a minute to eat as many as 35,000 termites and ants per day!

Giant Anteaters are called so because they are the largest of the Anteater family. Found in the grasslands and lowland tropical forests in Central and South America, they are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN due to loss of that habitat, and hunting. Only 5,000 animals estimated to remain in the wild. 



Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa

Five Bat-eared Fox Kits are Zoo Prague's Newest Handful


Prague Zoo has a new litter of Bat-eared foxes. The first weeks of their lives involve snuggling close to mom within a safe underground burrow, but the quintuplets are now venturing out into their exhibit. The adult foxes in the zoo's Bat-eared Fox family must patiently endure love bites and playful attacks from their young during these first weeks.





Photo credit: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo