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February 2013
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March 2013

Baby Springhares Hop Into Zoo Berlin


Two South African Springhares hopped onto the scene at Zoo Berlin this winter:  One was born on December 14, and the other arrived on January 12. 

Because Springhares are nocturnal, they live their days in reverse at the zoo.  Daytime exhibit lights are dimmed to moonlight levels so zoo guests can see the Springhares when they are most active.  At night, when the rest of the zoo goes dark, the lights come up and the Springhares go to sleep. 


In the wild, Springhares burrow into tunnels during the day, plugging the entrance with loose soil, and forage on leaves and tubers at night.   When threatened, Springhares retreat to their burrows for safety. 

With powerful back legs for jumping, Springhares can leap more than 15 feet (5m).  They are one of the largest of all rodents, and are hunted for food by indigenous peoples in Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  Despite being extensively hunted, Springhares are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

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UPDATE: Maned Wolf Pups Come Out of Hiding to Visit the Vet


Two Maned Wolf Pups born at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Liberec on January 10 had their first visit to the veterinarian this week to receive vaccinations and determine their gender.  The pair, a male and a female, was proclaimed in excellent health by the veterinary staff. 

The pups, who were profiled on ZooBorns last month, weighed only about a pound (.5 kg) at birth, but they have rapidly gained weight.  At the exam, each weighed more than six pounds (2.8 kg). The pups are the first Maned Wolves ever born at Zoo Liberec.




Photo Credits:  Zoo Liberec

Native to South America, Maned Wolves are unique among canids.  They are distinguished by long legs, a bushy mane which is erected when the Wolf is threatened, and a skunk-like odor.  Maned Wolves live solitary lives roaming the grasslands of central South America.  They eat small mammals as well as tubers, fruits, and sugarcane.

Maned Wolves are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but in some parts of their range, notably in Uruguay, this species may be nearly extirpated (locally extinct). 


Addax Calf Adds a Boost to Declining Species

A delicate and rare Addax calf was born in early February at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  Named Yasna, which translates to ‘white rose’ in an African language, this little female calf is the third born at the zoo in the last 12 months.  Yasna is an important addition to the captive Addax population because fewer than 500 of these antelope remain in Africa’s Sahara Desert region.

Yasna has spent her first few weeks of life in hiding, which is exactly what this species would do in the wild.  She is now becoming bolder and mingling with the zoo's herd.




Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

Addax are distinguished by their 30-inch-long (80 cm) spiral horns, which are present on both males and females.  To escape the extreme heat of the desert, Addax find bits of shade and dig into the sand where they rest until sundown.  These nocturnal antelope feed on grasses and the leaves of certain shrubs. 

Because Addax are slow-moving, they are easy targets for hunters who prize Addax meat and hides, which are made into leather goods.  With the state of the wild Addax population so precarious, zoo breeding programs are vital to preserving the genetic diversity of this rare species.

Update! Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Gets Fuzzy Surrogates

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Recently we reported HERE on a little baby Gorilla who made a journey across the country from Texas to the Cincinnati Zoo to be hand reared after her birth mother wasn't able to provide her with proper care. We are happy to report that the little girl, who has since been named Gladys in honor of the zoo at which she was born, is doing well and has taken quite fondly to her surrogates. With a little help from some special attire that is. 

Keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo had faux fur company, Fabulous Furs, manufacture an artificial gorilla vest for surrogates to wear when taking care of little Gladys. The local company graciously provided the vests free of charge. “Helping animals is at the heart of everything we do at Fabulous-Furs and we’re long-time supporters of the Cincinnati Zoo’s animal conservation efforts,” said Donna Salyers, President of Fabulous Furs. “Fabulous Furs is known for the world’s finest faux furs and believing one of our fabrics might help make baby Gladys’ life easier made helping an easy decision. Now, as we share Gladys’ story with our kids and grandkids, their enthusiasm makes it even more meaningful. We’re absolutely thrilled to contribute.”

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Photo credits: David Jenike / Cincinnati Zoo


See and learn more after the fold!

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Asian Elephant Makes a Splash at Melbourne Zoo


Melbourne Zoo's two month-old Asian Elephant calf received the name Sanook at a special naming celebration on March 14. The name, which means "fun-loving and cheerful" in Thai, was selected by zoo fans.

Sanook was born to mother Num-Oi early on January 17th after a 22 month pregnancy and 3 days of labor. The calf is the first for Num-Oi and the fourth for father Bong Su. Less than a week after his birth, Sanook was already splashing around in the paddock's shallow pool. Before receiving his official name, the keepers nick-named the calf "Dougie" after noticing that he liked to dig.




Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith has congratulated Melbourne Zoo's staff on the success of their elephant breeding program. "We're thrilled with the safe arrival of the baby elephant at Melbourne Zoo," Mr. Smith said. The birth exemplifies the quality of Zoos Victoria's breeding programs aimed at fighting extinction.

Photo Credits: Zoos Victoria

Rare Kiwi Hatches at Smithsonian National Zoo's Front Royal Facility

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In early February, the National Zoo's very successful Kiwi breeding program continued in their contributions to the conservation of this rare flightless bird hailing from New Zealand. The chick was born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Front Royal campus. The facility, which is not open to the public, is designed with the sole purpose of breeding rare and endangered species. 

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Photo credits: Chris Crowe / Smithsonian National Zoo

The National Zoo is one of the foremost experts in the world when it comes to the breeding of Kiwis. Back in 1975, the zoo was the first facility outside of New Zealand to hatch one of these precious chicks. As experts, they are often tasked with helping with helping other zoos hatch their eggs. This chick came from an egg that was shipped over to their facility in January from the Columbus Zoo. 

Kiwis are difficult to sex, so researchers sent out shards of the egg shell for genetic testing to help make this determination. The results came's a girl! Caretakers have reported that this little girl is doing well. She is very active, eating and drinking well, and gaining weight each and every day. 

Surprise! A Ringed Seal Pup Born at Burgers' Zoo


It was a pleasant surprise when Burgers' Zoo found that a Ringed Seal had been born during the night on Friday, March 1st.  Zoo staff had observed several matings but were not sure if the seals were mature enough to reproduce successfully. 

Burgers' Zoo is the only zoo where Ringed Seals have been born. In the past, caretakers have supplemented pups with bottle-feeding because inexperienced mothers can have difficulty caring for their first young. This year, the new pup seems to be suckling regularly, and caretakers are hopeful that the mother will be able to care for her pup.


Below: The pup, whose sex has not been determined yet, bonds with its mother.

Photo credits: Burgers' Zoo

Learn more about Ringed Seals after the fold.

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First Condor Chick of Season at San Diego Zoo Safari Park


Wesa, a two-week-old California Condor chick, hatched on February 24, 2013, making this chick the first of the season at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Wesa has maintained a healthy weight and has quite an appetite according to keepers, eating up to 15 mice daily.

Ron Webb, a San Diego Zoo Safari Park senior Condor keeper, has been monitoring Wesa closely and has been puppet rearing the chick as part of preparing Wesa to be released into the wild one day.


Photo credits: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park


"The puppet is like a fancy glove," said Rob Webb, senior Condor keeper, "It covers our hands so the chick does not get any beneficial experiences from people. We do not want it imprinting on people or getting used to us when it goes out into the wild.  We want it to be a nice, wild animal, not relying on people for food."

Wesa is a part of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's highly successful California Condor breeding program.  Since the California Condor Recovery Program began in the 1980s, when there were only 22 condors left in the world, the Safari Park has hatched 173 chicks and released more than 80 birds into the wild. Today, there are over 400 condors, half of which are flying free at release sites in Baja California, Mexico, California and Arizona.

Southern White Rhino Calf Charges Into San Diego Zoo Safari Park


On the afternoon of February 25th, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed the newest member of their East African Plains exhibit with the birth of a healthy male Southern White Rhino calf. The young boy has since been named Kayode, which means "he brings joy" in the African language of Yoruba. He is sure to do just that for the visitors who come to see him as the youngster is already showing lots of quirks and personality. "Kayode is a little tank, a very cute little tank, and he is showing lots of personality. He loves running and interacting with his mom, sticking out his tongue, and showing the buffalo in his enclosure he’s a rhino and he’s in charge," said the lead keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy.

While Kayode was just an estimated 150 pounds when he was first born, this small stature, for a rhino that is, won't last long. In the first year of his life, Kayode will grow around 100 pounds each and every month. By the time he is full grown, he will be a massive 4,000-5,000 pounds.

Photo credits (above): Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Photo credits (below): Greg Pinter

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Although Kayode is his mother Kacy's first offspring, she has been a fantastic mom thus far. She has taken care to protect her son and make sure he never strays too far off in their expansive enclosure. In addition, where Kacy's experience lacks, the staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park more than makes up for it. Kayode is the 93rd Southern White Rhino calf born at the facility in its 41 years in existence, more than any other zoo in the world. In addition, Kayode is just the sixth 3rd-generation calf born at the zoo.

See and learn much more after the fold!

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Take a Peek Inside a Sumatran Tiger's Den!

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A three pound (1.38 Kg) male Sumatran Tiger cub was born at 2:55 am, Sunday, March 3rd at Sacramento Zoo. At this early point in the cub's life, the mother Bahagia and baby appear healthy.

Tiger cubs are usually about two pounds (1 Kg) at birth, born with eyes closed and relying entirely on their mother for the first three months.  Mother and cub will live inside the den, away from public view, while the cub gains strength and coordination during the first few months. Both should be on exhibit by late May or early June.

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Photo Credits: Sacramento Zoo

“The birth of any Sumatran Tiger is a great contribution to this critically endangered species,” says Mary Healy, Director of Sacremento Zoo. “We are especially excited for this birth because it is the first time we have had a camera in the den, allowing zookeepers and veterinarians to keep a close eye on Bahagia and her cub.” 

Peek inside the mother tiger's den: 

Read more after the fold!

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