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September 2012

More Mischievous Meerkats at Taronga Zoo!

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The Taronga Zoo's Meerkat troop is growing with the addition of two new pups!  The new arrivals were born during Australia's winter season. 

Taronga's Meerkat mob maintains a strong hierarchy, with Bob taking on the role of alpha male.  Kenya and Pretoria alternate as dominant females.  As the alpha, it is Bob's job to settle the many daily disputes, both small and large, that take place within the troop.  You can be sure that Bob will play a role in disciplining these two curious youngsters as they learn their role in the troop.

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Meerkats are native to southern Africa, where they inhabit the Namib and Kalahari deserts.  They feed on insects and small animals.  Most young in a mob are the offspring of the dominant pair.  Meerkats spend most of the day foraging for food, then move into undergournd burrows at night.  One Meerkat will usually stand guard as a sentry to watch for danger while the mob is searching for food.

Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo


Peek-A-Boo! Little Goeldi's Marmoset gets first look at the world

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The Goeldi’s Marmoset troop at the Vancouver Aquarium welcomed a new addition in early September.  This is the fourth baby born to Ginger, the troop’s matriarch, and an important addition to the captive population of these primates, which are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Kristen Brown, the animal care specialist responsible for these animals, says that female Goeldi’s marmosets generally have two offspring a year. Kristen says the baby will spend the next couple of weeks hanging on to its mom’s shoulders, crawling to her belly when it’s time to nurse.  Eventually, the baby will begin to venture out on its own and become interested in what everyone else is eating: fruits, vegetables and insects.

After two months, the baby will start jumping and climbing as it grows stronger. And if past experience is any indication, it will also start to chase and be chased by its brothers and sisters.

Goeldi’s Marmosets are native to the upper Amazon Basin in South America.  These tiny primates are only about 8 inches (20 cm) long, excluding the tail.  Like most tropical primates, they feed on fruit, insects, and small vertebrates.  During the dry season, they feed on fungi, making them the only tropical primate to depend on this food item.

Photo Credit: Neil Fisher


Baby Hedgehog Update: Now the Size of a Golf Ball!

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Since you first met Cameron Park Zoo's baby Hedgehogs on ZooBorns a few weeks ago, these prickly hoglets have been busy growing.  Once able to fit in a teaspoon, the Hedgehogs, named Polaris, Storm, Magneto & Juggernaut, are now the size of golf balls.  When fully grown, these spiny wonders will be about the size of a softball.

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Hedgehogs are insect-eaters that use their spiny coat as a defense against predators.  When threatened, they curl into a ball with spines erect, making themselves a much less appealing snack. 

These four Hedgehogs are destined for use in the zoo's education programs, where they will inspire kids of all ages to appreciate wildlife.

Photo Credits:  Mark Randolph and Laurel Shannon

 


Little Grevy's Zebra Greeted Visitors Wednesday at Reid Park Zoo

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Reid Park Zoo announced the birth of an endangered Grevy’s Zebra on August 31. Female Zebra “Amira” gave birth on exhibit in the afternoon, and it's a boy! Keepers maintained a close watch on the baby to make sure he was healthy and nursing successfully because the baby had a low birth weight; he is indeed gaining and soon became ready to explore the larger habitat. He went out on exhibit just Wednesday for the first time and will now be there most mornings. Amira, who is a first-time mom, and her offspring will continue to be monitored for the next several critical months as the baby gains strength. 

Now he needs a name! Until now he's been called "baby Z". You can post your suggestion on Reid Park's Facebook page or e-mail them at reidzoo@tucsonaz.gov.The zoo would like his name to reflect his heritage. The Grevy's Zebra is an endangered species, and in the wild is found in Kenya. 

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Photo Credit: Reid Park Zoo


A Quick and Easy Birth For Third-time Rhino Mom

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This past Monday, Zoo Basel welcomed the arrival of a baby Indian Rhino. The birth was so quick, keepers named the baby Jarj (Nepalese for "instantly"). The calf was strong and vivacious from the start and immediately stood up to begin drinking his mother's milk.

This endangered species is threatened in the wild by poaching, and Zoo Basel coordinates the European Endangered Species Program (EEP) for Indian Rhinos. Jarj is the third calf for mother Quetta and the 33rd Indian Rhino to be born at Zoo Basel.

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Photo credit: Zoo Basel


Tiger Cub Can Be Seen for First Time This Weekend at Point Defiance Zoo

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Jaya, an endangered Sumatran Tiger at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, gave birth to a three pound (1.36kg) male cub on August 22. Zoological staff separated the cub from his mother a few days after birth because he wasn’t getting enough milk, was dehydrated and his temperature was low. Thanks to diligent hand-raising by his keepers, he’s now thriving... and visitors will have the chance to see him on exhibit this weekend!

The cub’s parents, Jaya and Malosi, are both in the rotation of tigers placed on exhibit each day in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary. All are critically endangered Sumatran tigers, and births in zoos are extremely rare. They are native to the island of Sumatra, where an estimated 300 Sumatran Tigers remain. Their lifespan is 10-12 years in the wild and 18-20 years in zoos. 

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Gestation lasts 100-110 days and the average litter size is 2-4 cubs. Cubs weigh a little over two pounds (.90kg) at birth and nurse about 6-10 weeks. By 18 months of age, tigers are ready to be out on their own and hunt their own food. Their diet in the wild consists of deer, tapirs, wild pigs, though tigers will eat anything they can catch. Maturity is reached by 3-4 years of age. They grow up to 7-8 feet (2-2.4 m) in length, are about 2 feet (.60 m) tall at the shoulder, and can weigh 200-275 pounds (90-124 kg).

Tigers are generally solitary animals. Both male and females map out their own territory by spraying urine on trees, bushes, and the ground. The specific range size of the Sumatran Tiger is not known, however the population density is approximately 4-5 adult tigers per 40 square miles (40 kms) in lowland rainforest. Tigers are not very active most of the time, sleeping about 18-20 hours a day. Sumatran Tigers are on cat that enjoys the water and will swim to cool down in the hot jungle.

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Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


Two Baby Gorillas In One Month!

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It had been 23 years since a baby Gorilla was born at North Carolina Zoo when on August 4th, "Bomassa", a healthy male, was born to 12-year-old "Jamani". Weeks later, on August 31st, a second yet-to-be-named baby Gorilla was born to mother "Olympia".

The rare births are cause for celebration not only for N.C. Zoo but also for the entire Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP®), the group responsible for the long-term sustainability of the western lowland gorilla population in North American zoos. With these births, the Gorilla SSP moves closer to its target population size of 360 individuals in 52 zoos.

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Photo credit: Tom Gillespie / North Carolina Zoo

Continue reading "Two Baby Gorillas In One Month!" »


Zoo Lends a Helping Hand to Orphaned Kangaroo Joey

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The staff at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa recently stepped in to assist a young Red Kangaroo joey that was rejected by its mother. Norvy, as the joey has affectionately been named, is the first baby for this mom and it’s believed that something must have startled her, causing her to scoop the joey out of her pouch. She wouldn't allow her joey back in, and the youngster was too uncoordinated, weak and young to climb back into the pouch on it's own.

When the joey was was found abandoned in the Kangaroo enclosure, she was immediately rushed to the zoo’s veterinary hospital where her body temperature was stabilized. Under normal circumstances, Norvy would need to stay in the pouch for another 1-2 months before peeking out, so she now has her own home-made, heated pouch in which to cozily complete that time. Norvy is fed a special milk mixture from a bottle every two to three hours and is doing very well.

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Normally, Kangaroos have a gestation period of 35 days where the underdeveloped joey crawls out of the birth canal, up the mom's stomach and into the pouch. There the joey attaches to one of the teats, which then swells in the joey’s mouth to prevent it from letting go of it. The joey will spend between five and six months in the pouch until it is old enough to venture out on its own. Once little Norvy is weaned and eating solids well, she will be introduced back into the family group through a safe step-by-step introduction program.

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Photo Credit: National Zoological Gardens of South Africa


Meet The Magnificent Seven

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It’s lucky number seven for one proud mother at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – following the birth of cheetah septuplets! The litter of Northern Cheetah cubs spent their first weeks tucked up behind the scenes with mum Dubai before making their public debut in the Zoo’s Cheetah Rock enclosure. At 12-weeks-old the playful youngsters are just beginning to develop their own personalities, with keepers spotting them climbing on rocks and chasing each other in the summer sunshine, becoming more adventurous by the day.

Senior keeper Marie Brown said: “All seven are extremely playful but mum’s very patient with them all and is doing a great job of bringing them up." The cubs are the second litter of Northern Cheetah to be born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – and provide a valuable rearing experience for Dubai of this endangered species.

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Photo credits: ©ZSL

 

The septuplets birth comes two years after Dubai gave birth to her first cubs, which were the first litter of Northern Cheetah cubs ever born in the UK.


Timid Snow Leopard Cubs Take Tentative Steps Outside

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Helsinki Zoo in Finland is known for successfully breeding Snow Leopards -- more than 100 of them since 1960. On June 23, one of their adult females gave birth to three cubs in her her den. All three are girls! The little family was allowed to bond and grow in those first weeks in the protection of the nest, but for the first time they ventured outdoors. 

Snow Leopards are an endangered species due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and killings by local herders in an effort to protect their livestock.It is believed that there are as few as 4,000 left in the wild. A tasty treat of a little meat helped lure them into the light outside. Watch the video below. They now weigh about 7-8 pounds or 3-4 kilos, a tribute to the successful care of their mother. Helskini Zoo is also a member of the Snow Leopard Trust.

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Photo Credit: Mari Lehmonen