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October 2012

Australia's Monarto Zoo Welcomes Leggy Zebra Foal

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Ths new baby Zebra is a female, born on October 1 at Monarto Zoo in Australia. The filly is the third youngster for Mom Kenya, and Dad Zambezi. Zebras mate year round, and after a gestation of 12-13 months, they produce one foal. This birth follows a recent string of breeding success for the zoo.

James Morrison, Ungulate Zookeeper, reported that the baby was born on exhibit, which meant lucky visitors and zookeepers alike got to see the calf come into the world and enjoy its first few hours of life. "Kenya is a seasoned mother; she's caring for her new baby well, with the filly looking healthy and strong,” James said. 

The biggest threats to Zebras are habitat loss due to ranching, and competition for water with livestock. They are also hunted for their skins. Since they are herbivores, eating mostly grasses, leaves and shrubs, one of the newer threats is climate change, which has affected the young's ability to forage for enough food to survive. Drought can force them to water holes that increase the chance of disease transmission and also make them more vulnerable to predators that find them gathered there. 

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Photo Credit: David Mattner for Monarto Zoo

Orphaned Walrus Calves are Home at Last

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The dramatic journey of two male Pacific Walrus calves, found stranded this summer near Barrow, Alaska, made a huge leap forward this week when they arrived at their new permanent homes – the  Indianapolis Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium. 

The touching stories of Mitik and Pakak, each just a few months old, began when they were found alone and suffering from dehydration on separate occasions in late July.  The tale of their rescue and rehabilitation at the Alaska SeaLife Center was first chronicled by ZooBorns on July 27 and their progress updated on August 10.  Readers around the world were captivated by the way the calves immediately bonded with their caregivers through touching and snuggling. 

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Walrus are very tactile and social animals, and the dedicated staff and caretakers at the SeaLife Center provided the social interaction that the calves needed. Walrus calves almost immediately adjust to human care, so they are not candidates for release back into the wild. 

Because the SeaLife Center is it not large enough to permanently house all the wildlife it rescues, Pakak moved last week to the Indianapolis Zoo and Mitik traveled to the New York Aquarium.  The staffs at each institution are understandably thrilled with their new arrivals, but fans will have to wait awhile to see the new calves:  both will undergo a routine quarantine period, with numerous health checks, before being introduced to the adult Walruses living at each zoo.  It may be several months before the calves are seen by the public.

The 24-hour care the calves received at the Alaska SeaLife Center continues in their new homes, fulfilling their nutritional and social needs until they are introduced to their new companions.  In Indianapolis, Patak will join longtime zoo resident Aurora; Mitik will share the New York Aquarium’s exhibit with Kulu, age 17, and Nuka, age 30.

Both calves were in poor health at the timke of their rescue, but have steadily improved during their rehabilitation period.  The calves currently weigh about 240 pounds, and as adults they could weigh more than 1,500 pounds. 

Walruses face environmental threats in their Arctic habitat. Because of the lack of suitable ice, more and more Walruses are congregating on land. Overcrowding in these areas may play a role in spreading disease among populations.

Photo Credits (top to bottom):  Sybille Castro; Alaska SeaLife Center; Shauna Gallagher, Indianapolis Zoo; Indianapolis Zoo

First Photos of Zoo Antwerp's Lion Cub


Patience has paid off for fans at Zoo Antwerp!  The Lion cub born there on August 29 made its public debut this week.  The cub spent the first month of its life indoors with its mother, Maouli, but is now enjoying time in an outdoor pen where it can be seen by visitors.   The youngster is getting more independent every day, but still stays close to mom.





The cub’s gender is not yet known.   When the cub gets its first veterinary checkup, the sex will be determined and it will get its first set of vaccinations.  Once the gender is known, the cub will be named.  The name will start with N, like all of the babies born at Zoo Antwerp in 2012. 

Though Lions are at the top of the food chain, they are still vulnerable to human-induced changes in their environment, especially in areas outside preserves and national parks.  Wild Lion populations have shrunken by half in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa.  Managed breeding in zoos is helping to ensure a strong genetic foundation for this magnificent species.

Photo Credit:  Zoo Antwerp

Tiger Buddies Bond at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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Dumai, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium's 7-week-old male Sumatran Tiger cub, has a new buddy! Berani, a 6-week-old male Malayan Tiger cub, arrived at Point Defiance from the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum a few days ago.  (Berani is on the left in the above photo.)  Both cubs were the only members of their litter, and they were not cared for properly by their mothers.  As a result, they were removed from their mothers’ care and hand-reared by zoo staff. 

The two cubs are already getting acquainted in the Cub Den at Point Defiance.  They enjoy playful swats, pouncing, wrestling, and snuggling, with plenty of naps in between.  The staff is thrilled that the two cubs are getting along so well.

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ZooBorns has profiled Dumai several times since his birth on August 22.  You can see dozens of photos if this adorable cub on ZooBorns. 

Sumatran Tigers, listed as critically endangered, are the smallest subspecies of Tiger and their fur is a darker orange than that of Malayans.   As few as 300 live in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  Malayan Tigers are native to the tropical forests of peninsular Malaysia.   Fewer than 500 remain in the wild.  Each of the Tigers will reach 275-300 pounds when fully grown.

Berani’s move to Tacoma is a fantastic example of the cooperation that exists among zoos to provide the best for each animal in their care.  In this case, the cubs will grow up socializing with another cat, which will better prepare them to enter the breeding programs of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoo & Aquariums (AZA). 

Photo Credit:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 

My, what a long snout you have! Giant Anteater born at Nashville Zoo


The largest Giant Anteater group in the United States, located at the Nashville Zoo, just got a little bigger with the birth of a male baby on September 19. The pup brings the total number of Giant Anteaters at the zoo to 12.

Once found throughout the northern two-thirds of South America and much of Central America, Giant Anteaters are believed to be extinct in portions of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Uruguay.  They remain Vulnerable to extinction in the rest of their range.  “Nashville Zoo is a leader in conservation efforts to save Giant Anteaters from extinction,” said Connie Philipp, mammal curator at the Zoo.



This is the third birth for mother Emilia, a wild-caught Anteater from Paraguay. Baby Anteaters typically cling to their mothers’ backs for several months, gradually becoming more independent.

Giant Anteaters' unique tubular rostrums and 24-inch-long tongues are specially designed for slurping up ants and termites.  Insect nests are torn open with sturdy, curved claws and up to 300,000 insects are gobbled up in a single day!

Photo Credit:  Aimee Stubbs

Minnesota Zoo's Tiger Cubs Are On Exhibit and There's Still Time to Help Name Them!


The Minnesota Zoo is holding a naming contest for its two female Amur Tiger cubs born this past summer. This contest is being conducted on Facebook and started October 3. Click here to submit your name suggestions through this Sunday, October 14.

Everyone who participates in the naming contest will be eligible for daily prize drawings, including a Family 4-Pack of tickets to the Minnesota Zoo and other great prizes.




Photo credit: (1-4) MN Zoo, (5) Ashley Ondricek / MN Zoo


Name suggestions will be accepted through Sunday, October 14, 2012. Zoo staff will then review all submissions and select the top three names for each cub to be posted on the Minnesota Zoo’s Facebook fan page to be voted on by the public, starting Thursday, October 18. The winning names will be announced on Monday, October 29.

Baby Chimp Gets a New Family Through Compassion and Collaboration Between AZA Zoos

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The Oklahoma City Zoo is known nationally for their capacity to foster infant Chimpanzees, and now there is a new member to their troop. Seven-month-old Ruben arrived on July 30, after being hand-raised at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Ruben's mother, Rukiya, died just 24 hours after giving birth during a medical proceedure. It was a rough start for baby Ruben both to lose his mom.  After being treated roughly by his biological dad and not be accepted by that zoo's surrogate mom, it was apparent: Ruben needed a new home.

Those who had given him round-the-clock care at Lowry Park Zoo accompanied Ruben when it came time to move, and stayed to monitor his progress during the first 72 hours of transition. And the effort has been a success! Just weeks later, Ruben is blending well and being accepted by his new chimp family. Starting with Kito, his surrogate mom, the baby has gradually been introduced to Mwami, the dominant male, and three others in the group.

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Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

Our zoo has had two successful Chimpanzee surrogate situations, and we are gaining a good reputation among accredited zoos for it," said Laura Bottaro, Oklahoma City Zoo Mammal Curator. The first occurred in 2008, the second in 2011.

Read more after the fold:

Continue reading "Baby Chimp Gets a New Family Through Compassion and Collaboration Between AZA Zoos" »

Five Alligator Hatchlings Debut at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure

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Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Kansas announced the arrival of five baby American Alligators. They hatched on August 13 at St. Augustine Alligator Farm and went on display in the Reptile Building, “These young alligators are incredibly popular”, says Peter Burvenich, Curator at Rolling Hills. “They are quite intriguing to watch – especially when you think about how big they’ll become”.  

The American Alligator is listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Historically, hunting decimated their population; the American alligator was listed as an endangered species by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Subsequent conservation efforts have allowed their numbers to increase and the species was removed from the list in 1987.

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Photo credit: Rolling Hills Zoo

As part of the zoo’s mission to provide fun and educational experiences surrounding the preservation of wildlife, the introduction of these popular reptiles makes an excellent addition. Once they are about a year old, they will go to another institution that can accommodate adult alligators, and Rolling Hills will get another group of hatchlings. All five hatchlings are viewable to the public in the reptile building located at the northern end of the zoo.

Read more Alligator facts after the fold:

Continue reading "Five Alligator Hatchlings Debut at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure" »

It's Baby Tapir Time at Zoo Tel Aviv


Only 15 months ago, Zoo Tel Aviv's 7-year-old Tapir mother gave birth to her first calf. Now the zoo is celebrating the arrival of its first male ever male calf. The spotted bundle of joy weighs only 11 pounds and has already begun to explore his exhibit. Now experienced mother Passiflora has demonstrated outstanding mothering skills, but to ensure that her baby gets enough milk, keepers coax her to lie on her side with belly rubs. Father Tapiro is spending these first days separated from mom and her calf to allow them a stress free bonding period.

Brazilian Tapirs are considered "vulnerable" to extinction. Zoo Tel Aviv and its Tapir pair are playing a part in Tapir conservation through the EEP (European Endangered Species Program).





Photo and video credit: Tibor Jäger