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December 2012
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February 2013

January 2013

UPDATE: Zoo Brno’s Tapir Calf Gets Frisky

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Celestýnka, a Brazilian Tapir born this fall at Zoo Brno in the Czech Republic, is getting plenty of exercise these days as he runs, jumps, and plays in his snowy outdoor enclosure.  The calf has grown considerably since he was featured on ZooBorns as a little newborn.

Zoo Brno fans voted to name the chubby little calf, who was born to parents Cusco and Neny.  Celestýnka’s antics have made him a favorite with zoo visitors and staff, as well as a capybara that shares his enclosure (look for this large rodent in the photos).

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Brno

Brazilian Tapirs are native to the northern half of South America, where they roam the underbrush of rain forests in the region.  They are often found near waterways and are excellent swimmers.  Tapirs’ aquatic habits make them vulnerable to attacks by crocodiles and anacondas.  Jaguars and cougars prey on Tapirs sleeping on riverbanks. 

Predators are not Tapirs’ only threats: Tapirs are listed as vulnerable to extinction due to large-scale habitat destruction and poaching for their meat and hide.

Somali Wild Ass Foal Frolics at Zoo Basel

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The rarest animal at Zoo Basel has given birth:  a Somali Wild Ass foal was born on December 27.  Named Jana, this female youngster is “extraordinarily lively,” according to her keepers.

Among Jana’s favorite activities is frolicking with other members of the zoo’s Wild Ass herd.  Her mother, Tana, doesn’t tolerate this precocious behavior from her daughter and immediately intervenes.  Jana is also very interested in the ponies, penguins and ducks that live near her enclosure.  She has been observed walking slowly toward a resting duck, then dashing back to her mother’s side when the duck makes a sudden move!

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel

Jana is treasured at Zoo Basel not only for her endearing personality:  She is one of only about 200 Wild Asses living in zoos worldwide.  In the wild, less than 1,000 Wild Asses remain in parts of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.   They are considered critically endangered – just one step above extinction.  Zoo Basel is a leader in breeding these rare animals.


Baby Gorilla's Arrival Celebrated at Prague Zoo

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The Prague Zoo received a very special Christmas present this year:  Western Lowland Gorilla Kijivu delivered a healthy baby boy on December 22, just a few months after another of her offspring died in a freak accident.

The baby’s delivery went smoothly with no problems, according to Prague Zoo staff.  Kijivu is an experienced mother, and this is her fourth baby with the zoo’s male Gorilla, Richard. 

In July, Kijivu’s second offspring, 5-year-old male Tatu, accidentally hanged himself with a climbing rope in the Gorilla enclosure.  This devastating event was called one of the worst tragedies in Prague Zoo’s history, and makes the new infant’s arrival even more significant for the zoo staff and the captive Gorilla population. 

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Western Lowland Gorillas are the most widespread of all Gorilla subspecies, inhabiting the dense rain forests of western and central Africa.  In some parts of their range, the population is decreasing by 5% each year as Gorillas are captured as pets or killed for bushmeat.  As timber and mining companies encroach on the area, valuable Gorilla habitat is destroyed.  The deadly Ebola virus is estimated to have killed up to one-third of wild Gorillas. 

Photo credit  Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo

Are Those Hippos Smiling? Lowry Park Zoo's Newest Baby Gets Her Name


You may have read about the naming contest for the new baby Pygmy Hippopotamus at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo HERE, on ZooBorns. Just a little over one and a half months old, this little girl received a name for Christmas. This rare calf will be called “Zola,” an African name meaning “to love,” as chosen by the Zoo’s online community with more than 3,100 unique votes cast. The vote was close with a one point margin separating the top two names. Zola received 43.5 percent, followed by “Zuri” with 42 percent and “Zawadi” with 14.3 percent.

Zola was born November 15 to second time mother “Zsa Zsa,” only the second hippo birth in the Zoo’s history (the first occurring in 2008). Classified as Endangered, the Pygmy Hippos at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are one of more than 90 species in the Zoo’s Species Survival Plans, cooperative breeding and conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to carefully maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population.   

Below you'll see Zola covered in hay one morning, the equivalent of bed head. She takes a dip to get cleaned off until Mom clearly has something to say about it...

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Photo Credit: Lowry Park Zoo

UPDATE! Baby Patas Monkey Gets Her Name

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”We are pleased to announce that our youngest Patas Monkey is a girl,” said Ted Fox, Director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. “She has been named Zarina.” And so the result of the naming contest for the New York Zoo's newest baby monkey was known.  

After the birth of the baby on November 30, the public was asked to vote on names. Since the baby is female, the choices were: Cheche, Kenya and Zarina. After nearly a week of voting, Zarina rose to the top with 54.5 percent of the votes. Marishka Biela, age 7, of Bernhard’s Bay, had submitted the winning name in 2011. It is an African word meaning “golden.”

Zarina is the second offspring to parents Sara and M.J.  Her brother Ty was born earlier in the year, on January 17. She also has two half sisters, D.J. and Kibibi. You can read all about the baby, see several great pictures and watch another video of her HERE on ZooBorns.

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Photo Credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo  

Watch below as she practices a few wobbly steps to catch up with Mom.

Baby Koala Noses Its Way Out of the Pouch at Planckendael

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The Koala family in Planckendael has had a baby! After seven months, Dad, Goonawarra, and Mom, Guwara, welcomed their little bundle, who recently announced itself from Mom’s pouch with a fairly loud squeak! Koalas are timid, sensitive to stress and fussy eaters. It can be difficult to see them in zoos, but this little one made it easy to snap some photographs. The baby seems to be most active in the afternoon.

Like other marsupials, the baby is born after approximately 34 days, though underdeveloped. Emerging hairless and blind and about the size of a bean, it makes its way into the mother’s pouch, where it attaches itself to the nipple. There, in safety and security, it continues to develop and grow over a period of about six months. Then they are ready to peek into the world, as this little one has done.

Once the gender of the baby is known, he or she will receive an Aboriginal name with a beautiful meaning, starting with the letter N -- thus following a tradition that all born at the zoo in 2012 will have names beginning with an N. 

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Photo Credit: Planckendael / Jonas Verhulst