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February 2013

Baby Gorilla Smiles for the Camera at Twycross Zoo


A baby Western Lowland Gorilla born at the United Kingdom’s Twycross Zoo on January 3 adds a third generation to their already close-knit Gorilla group.


Ozala and Baby - Credit Twycross Zoo
Photo credits: Gillian Day taken at Twycross Zoo


Ozala was born at Twycross Zoo in 1994. The newborn joins a family unit made up of father Oumbi and grandmother, Biddi. Ozala's half-sister Asante will also provide a helping hand as the young Gorilla grows up.

Charlotte added: "The baby will be carried around by mum for the next couple of years but will, of course, gradually become more independent, just going back to Ozala for reassurance and comfort.”

Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, fewer than 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas remain in the wild, bringing the species dangerously close to extinction. Hunting, habitat loss and the Ebola virus have contributed to the species’ decline.

Zoological Director Sharon Redrobe added: "Because the Western Lowland Gorilla is such an endangered species every Gorilla birth is important, and this infant represents another vital contribution to the European Endangered Species breeding programme and to the conservation of this species.”

See more photos below the fold.

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It's a Tiny Baby Titi Monkey for Belfast Zoo!

Titi Look

Belfast Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a tiny Titi! The zoo has been home to Red Titi Monkeys since 2010 when mother, Inca, and father, Aztec, arrived from London Zoo and Blackpool Zoo respectively. They welcomed daughter, Maya, in July 2011; with this new baby, the Zoo is now home to a total of four Red Titi Monkeys.

Delighted Zoo manager, Mark Challis, said, “2013 is already proving to be an exciting year for Belfast Zoo, with the birth of our Linne’s Two-toed Sloth and now, the arrival of our Red Titi Monkey. The whole team is excited about what the new year has to bring!”

Red Titi Monkeys are found in South American rain forests and are an unusual primate, as they are monogamous and mate for life. Aztec and Inca can often be seen sitting or sleeping with their tails intertwined. It will, however, be Aztec who has his hands full with the little one. Male Titi Monkeys play a very active role in the parenting, often carrying and caring for the young.

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Titl fam
Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

Watch Out! Feisty Komodo Dragons Hatch at Memphis Zoo

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It’s been a long wait, but the last of the Komodo Dragon clutch at Memphis Zoo in Tennessee has finally hatched! 

Norberta, the nine-year-old mother, laid a clutch of eggs last May. The first eggs started to hatch on January 2nd, and three weeks later the zoo had sixteen healthy babies.

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Komodo kocht 3
Photo Credits: Karen Pulfer Focht

This is the third time in little less than a year that Memphis Zoo has successfully hatched Komodo Dragons. These babies represent a joint conservation effort between zoos: the mother, Norberta, was loaned to Memphis Zoo in 2007 for breeding purposes. The babies will all go to different zoos. They may get some display time at Memphis Zoo before they move on to their new homes.

Although a mother Komodo Dragon incubates her eggs for around nine months in the wild, the babies are on their own once hatched. "They'll bite, first day out of the egg," said Chris Baker, assistant curator of reptiles for the Memphis Zoo. "She'll eat them if she can catch them. When they hatch out of the egg, they have to be ready to go right then."

Learn more after the fold.

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Rare Red Panda Triplets Born at Hamilton Zoo


The Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand recently announced the birth of three rare Red Panda cubs. The cubs, all male, were born on December 20th. They joined their mother Tayla, father Chito, and older brother Ketu at the zoo, doubling the zoo's Red Panda population.

Now, at eight weeks old, the cubs are continuing to grow and thrive off exhibit in their mother's den. "Red panda cubs are slow to develop so the first months are really crucial,'' explained zoo Curator Sam Kudeweh. ''We have been undertaking regular weigh ins with the cubs so that we can keep an eye on their progress - but need to balance this with hands off approach as much as possible so we can leave mum Tayla to look after her cubs," she continued. At the first weighing, when the cubs were 19 days old, they tipped the scales at 225 grams. They have continuined to grow and have now ballooned up to 400 grams, about the weight of a can of beans.

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Red Panda 3
Photo Credit: Hamilton Zoo


Red Pandas, despite their name, are more closely related to raccoons, skunks and weasels than Giant Pandas. Native to the Eastern Himalayans and Southwestern China, the Red Panda feeds primarily on bamboo. However, they are omnivorous and will eat insects, birds and eggs to supplement their bamboo diet.

See more videos and learn more after the fold.

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UPDATE! Omaha Zoo's Five African Lion Cubs Strike a Pose

Lion younger 5

Getting five Lion cubs to look at the camera at the same time is not easy, but the staff at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium enjoy trying. You may have first learned about these two male and three female African Lion cubs, born on December 29, here or here on Zooborns.

First-time mom Mfisha, six years old, has her paws full but is clearly doing a great job. The cubs are weighed every day and are growing as they should, including one female, who was having trouble nursing early on. After spending eight days in the hospital to improve her health, she was put back with her siblings, mom and aunt, though she continued to be bottle fed by keepers. 

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). Over the last 20 years the lion population has estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African lions live in sub-Sahara Africa with the majority in east and southern Africa.

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Photo Credit: Henry Doorly Zoo

Read more about this beautiful species after the fold:

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Update! Honolulu Zoo's Lion Cubs Use Play to Grow Strong

Lion trio

The furry-bellied Lion cub trio at Honolulu Zoo that you may have read about here on ZooBorns are getting bigger! Born on December 15, at six weeks old their weigh-in had them at a healthy 14 pounds (6.35 kg) each; since then they have continued to grow at a good pace.  

The cubs are not yet ready to be in the large exhibit so they spend their time behind the scenes with their mother, Moxy. Zoo staff worked with the City’s Department of Information Technology to provide a live feed for public viewing of them on a monitor at the old gift store display window. Zoo staff hopes that after they complete their inoculations (within the next 60 days), and get the approval of Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Ben Okimoto, they can be introduced to their habitat. 

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Lion solo paws

Lion squeak
Photo Credit: Honolulu Zoo

The cubs are becoming stronger, thanks in part to play, which develops motor skills, balance and hunting behavior. With three cubs, it's three times the fun, as captured on the Zoo's closed circuit cameras.

Baby Elephant Birth the First in Prague Zoo's History!

Ele mom

This baby Indian Elephant came into the world at 1:20 p.m. on February 11, at Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic. Very shortly after, the baby succeeded in getting to its feet. The next step was to nurse.  This is cause for extra celebration, as it is the first elephant born at the Zoo in their 82-year history. 

The birth follows on the heels of the growth of the Indian Elephant herd, when two female elephants arrived from Sri Lanka to join the male and three other females living at the zoo. This new calf's mom, Donna, was one of those females, and herself had arrived from Rotterdam, already pregnant! Jaroslav Simek, Prague Zoo's Deputy Director, said that this birth was very special as it is a great help in expanding the genetic base of European breeding of Indian elephants. 

The herd now lives in the newly completed large mammal pavillion and habitat created especially for them, which will open to the public on March 30. Zoo guests will then be able to see the baby for the first time.

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Ele solo
Photo Credit: Miroslav Bobek, Zoo Praha

Black Duiker Mom Plants a Kiss on Her Baby at the San Diego Zoo

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Meet Rashidi, the nosy new member of the Black Duiker family at the San Diego Zoo. Born in mid December, his name means "rightly guided" in Afrikaans. He nursed for the first few weeks, forming a close bond with his mother, Robin. He has now moved on to solid foods and is growing as he should, starting from about 5 pounds at birth to weighing 17 pounds now, at a little over 7 weeks old. He will continue until he reaches between 25 to 55 pounds at full maturity.

This is the second offspring for parents Robin and Luke. Kodi, their first baby, was the first Duiker to be born at the San Diego Zoo. The species is categorized as Near Threatened in the wild, mainly due to natural predators and agricultural burn off, making these babies significant for the genetics of the species. Black Duikers are native to the continent of Africa and get their name from the Afrikaans word duikerbok, which means "diving buck," because when frightened they tend to dive into bushes to hide.

Zoo staff captured this kiss from Mom to her baby just the other morning! 

Duiker kiss

Duiker side

Photo Credit: Ken Bohn/Sand Diego Zoo

Click the video below to see the little one enjoying his favorite snack - acacia leaves - and nosing the camera, while in the habitat that the Duiker family shares with two Okapis.

Tree Kangaroo Joey Pokes Its Head Out of Mother's Pouch

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Staff at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle Washington are just now catching glimpses of one of their newest residents, a little Tree Kangaroo joey. Although the little critter was born way back in June, it immediately crawled up its mother's stomach and into her pouch where it has spent the past eight months growing and developing.  The joey is now venturing out of its mother's pouch for periods of time to learn to forage and avoid predators. For now, the little one still comes back to the comfort of its mother's pouch every night or whenever it gets nervous. Soon the baby will leave its mother's pouch for good, venturing into the world on its own.

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Tree Kangaroos, native of Papua New Guinea, are an endangered species. The Woodland Park Zoo is home to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program which aims to both study and conserve Tree Kangaroos in the wild through habitat conservation as well as to breed the species in captivity. This rare birth is a success in the fight to preserve the species. The baby has yet to go on exhibit so it can grow in a quite environment, but it won't be long before visitors can catch a glimpse the newest addition Woodland Park Zoo Tree Kangaroo collection.

A Great Season for Penguins at SeaWorld San Antonio

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A Gentoo Penguin chick.

Texas' SeaWorld San Antonio celebrated another record-breaking penguin breeding season, with a total of 31 Gentoo, Chinstrap and Rockhopper Penguin chicks hatching in December and January.

The breeding season at SeaWorld San Antonio begins each year in September, as aviculturists haul in over 7 tons of rocks by the bucket load to form three distinct rookeries, or penguin nesting areas. Highly monogamous, Gentoo, Chinstrap and Rockhopper Penguins typically return to the exact same nesting location, with the same mate, year after year. 

SeaWorld San Antonio_Gentoo_Chinstrap_Rockhopper chicks
From left to right: Rockhopper, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguin chicks.
SeaWorld San Antonio_Chinstrap chick
A Chinstrap Penguin parent feed a chick. Photo Credits: Seaworld San Antonio

Most of the chicks hatched were incubated by their parents, although foster parents and incubators were utilized when necessary. Because penguins lay their eggs in rocky nests, the shells of the eggs are especially thick and protective. It can take chicks several days to hatch, so aviculturalists keep an eye on the little ones as they peck their way out of those tough eggs. 

Right after hatching, the exhausted chicks rest and gain warmth from their parents. After about twenty-four hours, the chicks gain an appetite and both parents take turns regurgitating fish for their young. 

The chicks spend their first few weeks of life being kept warm and safe by both parents, who share in the duties of brooding and feeding their youngsters.  Aviculturists carefully monitor all penguin families, and take frequent weights of chicks to ensure healthy growth.

Read more about penguins after the fold!

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