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November 2012
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January 2013

December 2012

Eight Lion Cubs Muddy Their Noses at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park


A spot of rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of eight Lion cubs at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park as they ventured outside for the very first time this week. The eight cubs, four males and four females, were born back in August, but hadn’t joined the rest of the pride until now. 

They certainly made up for lost time. Even the pouring rain didn’t seem to be a problem for the youngsters, who played and explored their new surroundings under the watchful gaze of moms Nikata and Louisa. Both the first-time mothers have impressed keepers with their attentive behavior.

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Within minutes of being released, the cubs were covered in mud and leaves and were taking turns trying to balance their way along a slippery fallen tree trunk. Several of the braver individuals practiced their ambush skills on Mom, although they were rather more cautious when dad Hugo came over to say hello.

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112 cubs

Keeper Bob Trollope said, “Both mums have four cubs with two of each sex. Hugo is also a first time father, but he's considerably less interested in the youngsters and soon went back to what male lions do best – sleeping!” 

113 looks in all directions

Longleat is famed for its Lions, which are kept in two separate prides. However this is the first time the ‘woodland’ pride has had cubs. At birth the cubs weighed just 2.2 pounds (1 kgm), but they now tip the scales at almost 18 pounds (8 kgs)! Males usually reach their full size by the age of two, while females will be about three years old before they’re fully grown. Adults can weigh up to 440 pounds (200 kgs).

"Miracle Monkey" Delivers Twins Following Tragedy


Conchetta, a Cotton-Top Tamarin at Australia's Alma Park Zoo who survived a kidnapping two years ago, has become a mother to twin babies.

In 2010, Conchetta and her mate Tonta were stolen from the zoo.  Tragically, Tonta was killed. Conchetta remained missing for four months but was eventually returned to the zoo.  She was paired with a new mate, Manny, and when Conchetta had a single baby last year she was dubbed the "Miracle Monkey" by local media.  Then in November of 2012, Conchetta had twins.  Twins are common in Cotton-Top Tamarins.


Photo Credit:  Alma Park Zoo

At birth, the babies were only about three inches (7 cm) long.  They spent nearly all their time clinging to Conchetta's back or nursing.  They are just beginning to explore their surroundings.  

Cotton-Top Tamarins are native to a tiny portion of northern Colombia, where they inhabit mature rain forests.  They are considered to be one the world's 25 most endangered primates, due to intense logging, argiculture, and hydroelectric projects which are destroying their habitat.

UPDATE: Beau the Orphaned Echidna Puggle is Going Strong


ZooBorns has been keeping fans of Beau the Echidna puggle updated on his progress ever since he was introduced on October 23.  That's when the Taronga Zoo first shared photos of the tiny baby Echidna after he was found orphaned on a hiking trail near Sydney, Australia.  Taronga Zoo staff estimate that he was about a month old at the time of his rescue.




Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

Two months later, Beau is growing strong under the care of the Taronga Zoo staff.  Beau will take milk from his keepers' hands for several more months, as Echidnas are not fully weaned until they are seven or eight months old.  Echidna puggles normally suck milk from patches on their mothers' bellies, rather than from teats. 

Echidnas are mammals, but they belong to a subgroup of mammals called monotremes.  This speical group includes Echidnas and Platypus, and they are the only mammals that lay eggs.

Name the Christmas Porcupette Born at Linton Zoo

Pork CU

Just when the staff at Linton Zoo thought that they were done with baby animal births for the year, they were delighted to discover this tiny bundle on the 10th of December, sporting more prickles than a Christmas tree! The baby African Crested Porcupine was born to first-time mom Halla and dad Henry, who are proving to be the perfect parents, regularly feeding and grooming the little porcupette and keeping it nice and warm under the heat lamp. The gestation period is approximately 112 days and a baby is born looking just like a miniature adult.

And now the public has been invited to suggest names on Linton Zoo's Facebook page. Since the baby's gender is not yet known, they ask for names that are suitable for either a male or female. The person who suggests the chosen name will receive an annual sponsorship of the porcupette. A sponsorship pack can be mailed anywhere in the world. 

African Crested Porcupines come from Sub-saharan Africa and live in rocky outcrops and hills. They are nocturnal and spend most of the day sleeping, waking occasionally to eat. Their quills, which are simply modified hairs, detach easily, giving rise to the myth that they ‘fire’ the quills... but that is untrue. If a predator approaches, the Porcupine will rattle the hollow quills in its tail, followed by a series of growls, grunts and foot-stomping. Only if this fails to deter the attacker will it charge backwards to impale the threat with their spikes. 

Pork w: dad(2)

Pork w. dad xxx
Photo Credit: Linton Zoo

Naturally the new arrival is proving to be bit of a distraction. Due to infrared lamps, it’s easy for staff to see into the nest box without the porcupines knowing they are there. They find it fascinating to watch the interaction between the parents and their new baby. Both Mom and Dad are very attentative, especially Henry, who’s often left to babysit while Halla goes forraging for food.

Watch this video to see for yourself; it shows how really tiny the porcupette is!

Elephantastic News! African Elephant Born at Tampa Zoo


In the closing hours of Wild Wonderland on the eve of Christmas Eve, a wondrous event occurred at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. A female African Elephant named Mbali, one of 11 elephants rescued from culling in Swaziland, Africa, and brought to the U.S. nearly a decade ago, became a mother. Mbali gave birth to her first calf, a female, on Sunday, Dec. 23 at approximately 9 p.m.

The African Elephant birth is the second in the zoo’s history, and the first born in Tampa from the rescued herd. The newborn, sired by Sdudla, a Swaziland bull, is significant to the population because the calf introduces new DNA into the gene pool of elephants managed in North America, which averages three or four births each year.


Photo credit: Dave Parkinson / Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

“The birth of this calf demonstrates the maturity of our African elephant care and conservation program,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, VP and director of animal science and conservation. “Our elephant facilities and experienced staff allow the Zoo to contribute to sustainability strategies for this species, furthering elephant conservation worldwide.”

Continue reading "Elephantastic News! African Elephant Born at Tampa Zoo" »

Rescued Baby Loggerhead Arrives in Monterey

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After a full day of travel on December 20, this baby Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) touched down in Monterey, California, around 10 p.m. Steve Vogel, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Husbandry Curator who accompanied the little turtle on its journey, brought it immediately to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where it went straight into the water behind the scenes.

Turt swim

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The next morning, Veterinarian Dr. Mike Murray examined the hatchling. At just four months old, it weighs almost half a pound (0.22 kg), and its shell measures about 4.4 inches (11.2 cm) long and 3.4 inches (8.7 cm) across. The turtle passed the exam, but is being keep it behind the scenes until after Christmas to acclimate to a regular feeding routine. 

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Turt vetPhoto Credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium

This Loggerhead is one of nine on loan to various U.S. zoos and aquariums from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. They were late hatchlings that didn’t make it to the water with their nest-mates. All of them were rescued from nests on North Carolina beaches and will eventually be returned to the wild. This little turtle will stay at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for as long as two years before its return release back in North Carolina.

This new turtle will serve an important role during it’s stay, acting as an ambassador for its species. The Aquarium will make it the focal point of an exhibit that highlights the threats facing sea turtles and other ocean animals from unsustainable fishing practices. In the wild, sea turtles often die when they’re accidentally caught in fishing gear, primarily in trawls and longlines. sea turtles around the world also face deadly threats from ocean pollution – particularly plastic debris.

Since the turtle eventually will be released back into the wild, the aquarists will take a “hands-off” approach and not hand-feed it or spend more time with it than necessary, though they will continue to keep track of the hatchling’s weight through routine exams.

Tumbili Loves Shangwe at Artis Zoo

Shangwe Kisses Tumbili 1

Once again Dutch photographer extraordinaire, A.J. Haverkamp, has shared some amazing photos of Chimpanzees at the Artis Royal Zoo. This time he has captured some tender moments between the Artis Zoo's new baby, Shangwe, and alpha male, Tumbili (Billy for short). 

While Chimpanzee groups are led by a dominant male, this individual is often not the biggest or strongest. Rather the alpha male is the best at forging relationships within the group and building alliances, so other group members will support him in times of conflict. Sometimes this maneuvering can be downright manipulative, with the alpha male turning group members against would-be challengers. Sound like any other species you know...?

Tumbili Kisses Shangwe 1

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Shangwe with Mom 2Photo credit: A.J. Haverkamp

Wonderful photos of Shangwe with Mom below the fold

Continue reading "Tumbili Loves Shangwe at Artis Zoo" »

Watch Southwick's Zoo's Lion Cubs Grow and Play

Photo by LaURA VEAR

Three African Lion cubs were born at Southwick's Zoo on October 23. Mom Savannah gave birth to two males and one female. One of the males is under the care of another zoological facility while the other male and the female remained at Southwick's. Their father is Leroy. 

The gestation period for a Lion is approximately 110 days. Young cubs are vulnerable to predation by hyenas, leopards and black-backed jackals. The cubs begin hunting at 11 months, but remain with their mother for at least two years. But because Savannah is a young, first-time mother, she didn't quite realize she had babies, so Zoo staff had to step in and help to raise them.

L Yawn

L sleep

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The cubs began to grow very fast....which can easily be judged by looking at the size of their paws - and those nails!

L Paw

L tongue

The female has become very adventurous and one day shimmied up a tree. Once she got up, she wasn't quite sure what to do from there. But she managed to figure out how to get down... which is all part of growing up!

L Tree

Zoo Staff described the little male as "a typical, lazy male Lion," not as quite adventurous as his sister... but if you give him a ball or something to chase, he will "attack" ...then go back to taking a nap! One day he was given a big blue ball outside to play. Good thing it was hard plastic because he kept trying to dig his claws into it! 

L 12-11 ball

Photo Credits: Southwick's Zoo and Photo 1, Laura Vear

See the two in action below:

World's Oldest Gorilla Celebrates Birthday at Columbus Zoo

Baby Colo.4

Meet Colo, the world’s oldest known Gorilla. Born December 22, 1956 at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Colo was the first of her kind ever born at a zoo. In fact, it would be another five years until a second Lowland Gorilla was born at a zoo and a further five years for a third.

For Colo’s 56th birthday this weekend, the Columbus Zoo presented her with a specially prepared cake and presents that included her favorite food... tomatoes!  Guests joined in on the fun by singing happy birthday to her, along with the staff.

Baby Colo 1

Baby Colo.2

Now, at 56 years old, Colo has also broken the longevity record previously held by Jenny at the Dallas Zoo, who died at age 55 in 2008. And, in 1983, her grandsons were the first twin Gorillas born in the western hemisphere.


All in all, Colo is the mother of three, grandmother of 16, great grandmother of seven and great great grandmother of two! Colo had three babies, Emmy, Oscar and Toni. Emmy was the first second-generation Gorilla born in a zoo and Toni gave birth to Cora, who was the first third-generation Gorilla born in a zoo. 

Colo Adult.2

Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

There are currently 15 endangered Lowland Gorillas at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium including Colo, her daughter Toni, grandson Mac, granddaughter Cassie and great-granddaughter Dotty.

Sadly, life for Western Lowland Gorillas in the wild is much different than Colo’s. Habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal bushmeat trade are constant threats for this critically endangered species. The Columbus Zoo helps protect Western Lowland Gorillas in the wild, supporting conservation efforts and distributing more than $1 million annually in conservation grants worldwide.

Update: White Oak's Cheetah Cubs Explore Their World

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Three Cheetah cubs born at White Oak on November 26 are growing rapidly and thriving under the care of their mother, Sweeney.  Zooborns shared photos of the Cheetah cub trio when they were just one week old.  The five-week-old cubs are now eagerly exploring their outdoor habitat, though they rarely stray far from mom, who serves as a climb-on toy, shady rest stop, and all-around comforter. 

Cheetah 5

Cheetah 1

Cheetah 7

Sweeney is a first-time mother who is expertly caring for her babies.  White Oak staff conducted a health check on the cubs, but they are allowing Sweeney to raise the cubs just as she would in the wild.

Cheetahs in the wild are in drastic decline.  These stunning predators, capable of running at speeds up to 75 mph (120 km/h), are unable to outrun the threats to their survival.  Low genetic diversity in both the wild and captive populations contributes to the challenges facing this species.  About 12,500 Cheetahs remain in the wilds of eastern and southern Africa. 

White Oak works collaboratively with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) as well as the Conservation Center for Species Survival (C2S2). White Oak is one of the most successful Cheetah breeding centers in the world.  These cubs are the 145th, 146th, and 147th Cheetah cubs born at White Oak.

Photo Credit: Karen Meeks

Continue reading "Update: White Oak's Cheetah Cubs Explore Their World" »