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February 2013

It's a Girl! Second Southern White Rhino Baby for Australia Zoo

Rhino cu

Australia Zoo announced the birth of their second Southern White Rhinoceros calf, a baby girl. The calf, born February 7, is the first offspring for parents Inyeti and DJ. This is Inyeti’s first calf, and only the second rhino to be born at Australia Zoo and Queensland. According to keeper Renee Schier, the baby is making great progress. “We’re very excited to announce that the calf is healthy, strong and weighs between 45 – 50 kgs (99-110 pounds)."

Southern White Rhinoceros are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), due to poaching threats and illegal use of Rhino horn. There are approximately 18 – 20,000 Rhino left in the wild and another 780 in captivity. Australia Zoo is part of a regional co-operative program working with other zoos in Australasia to maximize breeding potential and genetic diversity of the White Rhino.

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Rhino angle w mom

Rhino mom bum

Photo Credit: Australia Zoo

Despite arriving a little earlier than anticipated the baby is showing all of the normal signs for a healthy calf. Renee added, “We’re really happy with her progress. She is feeding and is quite active – she was walking within hours of the birth.”

Here is a video of the baby that was made to announce a naming contest. The public was invited to submit names last week and now everyone is waiting for Terri Irwin, and her children Bindi and Robert to announce the name. 


More pictures of mom and baby after the fold:

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UPDATE! Baby Orangutan at Zoo Atlanta Holds Hands with Mom

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This male baby Sumatran Orangutan was born on January 10 at Zoo Atlanta by Caesarian section, which is quite unusual -- it was one of only three to be performed on Sumatran Orangutans in recent years. You can read all about that HERE on ZooBorns. Mom Blaze has recovered and reintroduction of her baby has been a step-by-step process that has been going smoothly. The baby's activities in the Orangutan building have helped him to develop his motor functions and his senses. Every week he's more mobile, and today he weighed almost 6.4 pounds (2.90 kg)!

Due to the Caesarian, the baby could not stay with Mom until she healed. Keepers began working with the baby as a mother would, and in short order, they began reintroduction of the two via controlled interaction. Soon Blaze became very eager to see the baby and engaged in focused connection with him. She lay face to face looking at him for long periods and seemed fascinated by his hair, grooming him several times, touching his head and back repeatedly. Blaze gained confidence around him and began to gently pick him up, moving very slowly to place him in a pile of hay. At times she made cooing vocalizations and was playful with the baby. Perhaps one of the most tender moments was when Blaze reached out to hold her baby's hand! 

Orang hand

Orang meet
Photo Credit: Zoo Atlanta 

CLICK HERE to read regular updates on the baby's progress on the Zoo Atlanta website. It is quite a compelling story and a wonderful way to learn about this species, as well as tracking Mom and baby's progress.

See pictures and read more below the fold:

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Emperor Tamarin Twins Born at Banham Zoo

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Christmas Eve 2012 at Banham Zoo, UK, brought two little Emperor Tamarin twins!

Emperor Tamarins are ususally born in pairs. In tamarins and their close relatives the marmosets, the mother nurses her offspring but it is the father who carries them. The pair's older offspring may also help. These twins enjoy riding on their father and an older brother. 

The twins are beginning to explore and venture away from the family in short bursts. They were especially curious about the photographer, but soon ran back to cling to dad. 

Tamarin 1

Tamarin 3

Photo Credits: Banham Zoo

Learn more after the fold.

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Tiny Mouse Deer Born at Berlin Zoo

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This tiny baby Mouse Deer was born on Valentines Day at the Berlin Zoo. It fits perfectly into a man's hand. These shy animals are actually are the smallest hoofed mammals in the world, and are members of the animal family that includes pigs, antelopes, sheep, goats, and hippos! This baby will grow to a maximum weight of only about 5 pounds (2.5 kg) in adulthood, and its legs will be no bigger than the circumference of a pencil!  

Mouse Deer reach sexual maturity very early - at age five to six months. A female may give birth to a single fawn at any time of year. As is the norm with hoofed animals, newborn fawns are precocial and stand within thirty minutes of being born. The does wean their fawns at around twelve weeks. In the wild they roam mostly at night within a certain home range amid forest undergrowth, feeding on the leaves, roots and tender shoots found there, aided by their long tongue!

Deer nurse

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Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin and

The birth of this baby at the Berlin Zoo was coordinated within the EEP (European Endangered Species Programs). In it's native home, Southeast Asia, the Mouse Deer is hunted, even though they are so small and have hardly any meat. With the good care found in a zoo, these animals can live for up to 10-12 years.

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Budapest Zoo Welcomes a New Baby Elephant - Their First Since 1961

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This baby Asian Elephant was born early in the morning on Valentines Day at Zoo Budapest, after a 22-month gestation. The mother is 12-year-old Angele, and her father is named Assam. A public vote held on the zoo's website to name the baby just wrapped up. The choices all began with the letter A, to mirror her parent's names. They were: Asha, Anita, Angyalka, Amelie, Aishwarya, Aurora. The winning moniker was announced just today: She will be called Asha!

Budapest Zoo considers this a very important baby, as this is the first Elephant birth there since 1961. She can be seen out in her exhibit with mom as weather permits, but the hours outside will be short, as the baby is still bonding with mom. 

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Ele nurse

Ele w mom
Photo Credit: Zoltan Bagosi

Watch the baby out in the exhibit, nursing and following Mom around:

Baby Gorilla Leaves Texas for New Home in Cincinnati


A four-week-old female Gorilla born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, made a cross-country trip on a private plane to her new home at the Cincinnati Zoo last week.

Cincinnati Zoo Primate Team Leader Ron Evans and Nursery Head Keeper Dawn Strasser accompanied the baby on the private flight.  “The baby was great,” said Strasser.  “She never left my arms.”



Photo Credits:  Gladys Porter Zoo & Cinncinati Zoo


The baby, who is still unnamed, was born on January 29 to 14-year old female Kiazi and 28-year-old silverback male Moja.  Because Kiazi was not providing appropriate maternal care, the baby was being hand-reared by keepers at the Gladys Porter Zoo. All parties agreed that relocation was the best course of action for the baby and because the Cincinnati Zoo has two female Gorillas available to serve as potential surrogate mothers, it was decided that the baby should go there. Her introduction process to a new Gorilla troop will be gradual to ensure a favorable integration.

The baby will spend time behind the scenes for the next few days as she is evaluated by zoo veterinarians. She will then move to her more permanent home at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Two African Penguins Hatch at Mystic Aquarium


Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium announced the recent hatching of two African Penguin chicks.  The chicks hatched on February 1 and February 10 and are growing quickly.  The younger chick weighs 281 grams, and the older chick weighs 696 grams, demonstrating the exponential growth seen in the first few weeks of a Penguin chick’s life.



Photo Credits: Mystic Aquarium

During the first 40 days of life, Penguin chicks cannot maintain their body heat, so they stay warm by tucking underneath their parents.  When the very vocal chicks announce that they’re hungry, mom and dad oblige by offering food.  Once the chicks are weaned at about 50 days old, keepers will begin training the chicks to accept food from their hands.  You can watch all the action on the aquarium’s African Penguin webcam.  

The chicks will fledge at 75 to 100 days of age.  At that time, their fluffy down will be replaced with the brown and white feathers of juvenile Penguins, and they’ll be introduced to the 26 adult Penguins in the flock.  The chicks’ genders will be determined using a DNA test when they’re about six months old.   

African Penguins are an endangered species, and their breeding is managed by the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

See more photos below the fold.

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Twin Andean Bear Cubs Thriving at National Zoo


The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s eight-week-old Andean Bear cubs received a clean bill of health this week during their veterinary exam. The cubs received a complete physical, which included listening to their hearts and lungs; checking their mouths, eyes, legs, feet and genital area; and feeling their bellies. The cubs also received the first of a series of routine vaccines. Although it is difficult to determine the sex at such a young age, the cubs appear to be male and female. The larger cub weighs 10.1 pounds; the smaller weighs 9.2 pounds.


Photo Credit: Beth Branneu / Smithsonian's National Zoo

You read about the cubs on ZooBorns soon after their birth on December 14.  The cubs have spent the past two months bonding in the den with their mother, Billie Jean. Animal care staff and the public have had the unique opportunity to watch Billie Jean give birth, nurture her cubs, and watch them play and grow via the live Andean Bear Cub Cam.

The family’s public debut will take place later this spring.  Andean Bears—also known as Spectacled Bears—are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and it is estimated that there are only 2,000 left in their natural habitat. They inhabit mountainous areas from Venezuela to Bolivia.

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Odense Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe


Denmark’s Odense Zoo enjoyed a mid-winter boost when a Giraffe calf was born on February 20. The female baby weighs 132 pounds (60 kg) and stands about five-and-a-half feet (170 cm) tall.   


Photo Credit:  Odense Zoo

The Odense Zoo staff eagerly awaited the arrival of this little calf.  The calf’s mother and father are both first-time parents, but they’ve adjusted well to their new roles.  With this most recent baby, the zoo now has seven Giraffes, including two other calves born since 2011 when a new African exhibit opened at the zoo. 

Giraffes are the world’s tallest land animals, well adapted for foraging in the treetops on savannahs south of Africa’s Sahara desert.  Acacia leaves are among their favorites, despite formidable thorns on the trees’ branches.  Giraffes strip the leaves from the branches with their 18-inch-long tongue.

Giraffes gather in loose groups on the savannah, providing a distinct advantage for each individual:  many pairs of eyes can survey the area for potential threats, such as lions. 

Related articles

Meet Frick and Frack, Point Defiance Zoo's Newest Additions

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The Meerkat gangs at Point Defiance Zoo have grown again, and the newest kits – Frick and Frack – are now on exhibit in the Kids' Zone. The two were born to mom Darwin on Feb. 3 and weigh about 140 and 150 grams. That’s around 5 to 6 ounces -- about the same as two-thirds of a cup of water! They will grow to be about 1.5 to 2 pounds each and will measure approximately 14 inches long, not counting the length of their tails.

Meerkats are very social animals, and live together as families known as gangs. Each gang at the Zoo is referred to by the dominant female’s name. So Frick and Frack bring the number of Meerkats in the Darwin gang to seven. There are two other gangs - the Amelia gang of nine and the Huxley gang of five. Each assume roles within the group; Darwin has had help from one or more "babysitters" in the gang, who look after the new babies as they explore and adapt to the habitat. Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannahs in the south of Africa.

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Meer duo

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Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo

See more of Frick anf Frack after the fold!

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