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February 2013

Two Handfuls of Clouded Leopard Born at Smithsonian National Zoo

Clouded leopard hero

On February 6th, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute of Smithsonian National Zoo

Six days later, the zoo announced that the cubs had opened their eyes and had healthy appetites, drinking milk seven times a day! 

Clouded leopard 1
Clouded leopard 2
Photo Credits: Janice Sveda / Smithsonian National Zoo

Watch caretakers of Smithsonian National Zoo hand-rearing Clouded Leopard cubs born in March 2011. Sita and Ta Moon are the mother and father of this year's newborn cubs as well as the cubs in the video. 

Learn more about Clouded Leopards after the fold. 

Continue reading "Two Handfuls of Clouded Leopard Born at Smithsonian National Zoo" »

Tiny Takin Twosome Named at Lincoln Park Zoo

Tak duo 1

Not just one, but two baby Sichuan Takins have been born at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, arriving on January 31 and February 9 respectively. Both are males. Just yesterday it was announced that the babies have been named Xing Fu, meaning happy good fortune, and Mengyao, meaning superior handsomeness! Last week Lincoln Park Zoo's animal care experts picked six Mandarin names to honor the species’ roots, and put them out for a public vote.

The species is native to China and surrounding mountain ranges, where they graze on shrubs and grasses. They’re Vulnerable in the wild, a consequence of hunting and habitat loss. Lincoln Park Zoo manages the species in partnership with other zoos through the Sichuan Takin Species Survival Plan (SSP)®, a shared conservation effort managed by the Zoo’s general curator, Dave Bernier.

Tak duo w mom

Tak solo

Tak fam
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

The addition of these two babies brings the Zoo’s Sichuan Takin herd  to five animals, along with their father, Quanli, who arrived from Montgomery Zoo in 2011 as part of an SSP breeding recommendation, and both moms, Jinse and Mei Li, a first-time mom who was born at the zoo herself in 2007. The herd will be on exhibit in the Antelope & Zebra area from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. for the next couple weeks as they adjust to life with the little ones. 

Watch this video of the little ones leaping and pushing around a ball:

Baringo Giraffe Calf Has Family Time at Bioparc Valencia

Ramses hero

Two-month-old giraffe Ramses is out and about with the rest of the herd at Bioparc Valenica, Spain. 

Born on November 30th, Ramses is the offspring of Zora and Julius. Zora's first calves were hand-reared by caretakers after the mother rejected her brood. But there's good news: Zora has bonded with her calf this time, and she nurses and devotes caring attention to Ramses. 

Now on display, Ramses shares his exhibit home with other species of the African savanna, including Thomson's Gazelles, Blesbok, Impalas, Crowned Cranes, and Jabirus. 

Ramses 1

Ramses 2

Ramses 4
Photo Credits: Bioparc Valencia

See and learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "Baringo Giraffe Calf Has Family Time at Bioparc Valencia" »

Orphaned Red Kangaroo Joey Rescued by Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Wildlife Hospital_Red Kangaroo joey (1)

Workers at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia are currently hand raising a Red Kangaroo joey after it was found orphaned in the wild. The little joey was brought to the zoo's Wildlife Hospital where veterinarians examined the youngster to ensure its health. It was then assigned a vet nurse who will act as a surrogate mother. This surrogate will help the joey thrive and grow for the next few months until it is ready to be released back into the wild.

Wildlife Hospital_Red Kangaroo joey (2)

Wildlife Hospital_Red Kangaroo joey (3)
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo

The Red Kangaroo, endemic to Australia like all kangaroos, is the largest mammal found on the Australian continent. The species is very abundant across the majority of the country and is currently listed as a species of "least concern" by the IUCN.

Update! Oregon Zoo's Baby Elephant is Two Months Old!


Lily, the now two-month-old Asian Elephant at Oregon Zoo, is full of energy! And she expends it daily, running around her habitat and rolling in the dirt and hay, all joy in action. She was born on November 30, which you can read about HERE, and our follow-up HERE, when she turned one month old, on ZooBorns.

The Oregon Zoo is recognized worldwide for its successful breeding program for Asian Elephants, which has now spanned 50 years. Lily's grandmother, Me-Tu, was the second Elephant born at the zoo , and her great-grandmother, Rosy, was the first Elephant to live in Oregon.


Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

See how playful Lily has become on the video below:

Meet Jarrah the Quokka Joey from Taronga Zoo

Joey 1

Jarrah is a six-month-old Quokka joey being hand-raised at Taronga Zoo by Keeper Kristal. Kristal was delighted to become a surrogate mum after the youngster left its mother’s pouch too early. At this age, the joey is tiny and needs full time care. 

For the next few months, wherever Kristal goes Jarrah will go too. By day Jarrah stays in a specially set-up nursery with a bag that mimics a pouch which the youngster can hop in and out of. While Kristal is doing office work, Jarrah likes to be extra close, curling up near Kristal’s chest. This makes little Jarrah feel extra secure.

Joey nose

Joey stand

Joey 2

Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo

Read about Jarrah's nighttime care, and see more pictures, after the fold:

Continue reading "Meet Jarrah the Quokka Joey from Taronga Zoo" »

Taronga Zoo Sees Double with Birth of Two Critically Endangered Foals

Foal solo

Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia have double the reason to celebrate with two Przewalski’s Horse foals born just three days apart, the first on January 29, and the second on February 1! Both foals are fillies, and will grow up to take part one day in the important breeding program for this endangered species.

Mothers Genghis and Suren are showing all the right maternal behaviors in caring for their offspring. Keepers have witnessed the foals feeding well from the time they were able to stand. Keeper Jackie Stuart observed, “Both foals are quite outgoing and enjoy a little gallop around the paddock and after a drink, have a nap in the sun at their mothers’ feet.” 

Foal sit

Foal dance

Photo Credits: Jackie Stuart/Taronga Western Plains Zoo

“This is Genghis’s second foal, so she is taking it all in her stride and is less concerned and protective of her offspring," Jackie continued, "while Suren, a first-time mum, is being kept on her toes with her very curious foal.” 

Keepers have named one of the foals ‘Zaria’, meaning ‘sunrise’ in Russian, as foals are often born in the early morning. While the Zoo has named one of the foals, they are welcoming suggestions on a name for the second foal from members of the public via their Facebook page. The foal to be named is a curious but outgoing female -- and suggestions should also reflect the origin of the species being Mongolian or Russian. 

See more pictures of these foals after the fold!

Continue reading "Taronga Zoo Sees Double with Birth of Two Critically Endangered Foals" »

UPDATE: Milwaukee's Jaguar Cubs Eat, Play, Grow


Two Jaguar cubs at the Milwaukee County Zoo can now be viewed in person by zoo visitors for the first time since their birth on November 13.  As you can see from the photos, the cubs are active, inquisitive, and growing fast!

The cubs were first introduced to ZooBorns fans here when they were about a month old. Since then the cubs have been expertly cared for by their mother, Stella.  The cubs’ father is Pat, who, unlike most zoo animals, was born in the wild.  These two male cubs represent an important contribution to the Jaguar gene pool because of Pat’s wild heritage.



Photo Credits:  Milwaukee County Zoo

Pat was captured in Central America after becoming a nuisance by attacking cattle.  Once Pat was safely living in Milwaukee, students in Milwaukee partnered with students in Belize to write a book about Pat, entitled "Pat the Great Cat: A Jaguar's Journey."

Now the zoo is taking the same approach to name the two cubs.  One of the cubs will be named through an online contest.  The other will be named by the Belizean children who helped write the book.

See and learn more about the Jaguar cubs below the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Milwaukee's Jaguar Cubs Eat, Play, Grow" »

Orphaned Tigers Cubs Rescued in Russian Wilderness


Three orphaned Siberian Tiger cubs, alone in the snowy Russian Far East, were rescued from certain death last fall by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which operates the Bronx Zoo.  The capture and rehabilitation of the cubs – who are part of a rapidly vanishing species – illustrate the challenges of saving Tigers, one animal at a time.  Fewer than 500 Siberian Tigers, which are the largest of all Tiger subspecies, survive in the wild, including 330-390 adults.  Worldwide, only about 3,200 Tigers exist in the wild, and they face poaching, a reduction in prey species, and habitat loss.


Photo Credits:  Dale Miquelle © WCS

WCS assisted Russian wildlife officials by deploying two of their staff members, brothers Kolya and Sasha Rybin, who are expert Tiger trackers. The cubs were seen stalking a dog near a small village, so the team knew where to start.  Fresh tracks led the team to the forest, where they found the cubs staring curiously at them from the middle of a road.  Moments later, the cubs vanished into the forest, but the team was able to capture the smallest cub, which weighed only 35 pounds.  The cubs were determined to be about four months old.

Researchers believe that the cubs’ mother was likely killed by poachers.  A 20-year WCS project determined that poaching accounts for nearly 75% of adult Tiger deaths.  Bones and body parts from a single adult Tiger can fetch up to $5,000 for the poacher alone, and once processed for use in traditional Asian medicine, far more.  Female Tigers with cubs seem to be the most vulnerable, because they will defend their cubs rather than flee.

These three cubs probably remained in the spot where their mother was killed, leaving only when they became too hungry to wait any longer.

The team was unable to capture the two remaining cubs for several days.  One was followed for 13 kilometers, yet managed to avoid capture until it ventured onto a military base.

The third cub eluded the team for two more days.  Weak and struggling to walk in the deep snow, the dehydrated animal was captured, warmed, and given fluids and food before making the four-hour trip to the rehabilitation center to meet his siblings.

Over the next seven to eight months, the Tiger cubs will have very limited interactions with people to avoid associating humans with food.  This spring, small prey will be introduced so that the cubs can learn to hunt. They will eventually be released in a remote part of Siberia – three living, breathing symbols of hope for this imperiled species.

Ten Ostrich Chicks Hatch at Zoo Basel


The Ostrich herd at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel has grown significantly with the hatching of ten chicks since December 20 to mother Manyara, age 21, and father Baringo, age 20. Manyara and Baringo shared the job of incubating their eggs, with the male taking the night shift and the female brooding during the day.  Their efficient system has been perfected over years of practice:  Manyara and Baringo have produced more than 110 chicks since 2000.  All the chicks were brooded and hatched naturally, with no incubators or human assistance.




Photo Credits:  Zoo Basel

Ostrich chicks are precocial birds, beginning to gather their own food as soon as they hatch. Because food is scarce on the African savannah, wild Ostriches will eat whenever food is available.  In captivity, Ostriches will do the same, and have a tendency to become obese. As a result, it’s important for the zoo staff to carefully monitor the chicks‘ food intake. 

Obesity or overly rapid growth can have a negative impact on bone development in young Ostriches. Therefore, feed quantities for the baby Ostriches are tailored to the age and number of animals. Care is also taken to ensure that the feed has the ideal ingredients. For example, calcium – a mineral important for bone growth – is given to the animals via greens, shell limestone, and a special mixture of vitamins and minerals.  The chicks are also weighed regularly to monitor their healthy growth and development.   

Learn more below the fold.

Continue reading "Ten Ostrich Chicks Hatch at Zoo Basel" »