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April 2013

Baby Sloth Clings to Mom at Zoo Vienna


On April 16th, Zoo Vienna welcomed a new member to their zoo in the form of a baby Two-Toed Sloth. Since then, the baby has been hitching a ride on its mother, where it will spend the next six months of its life. "Newborn Sloths use their mother for the first half year as a hammock and cling to her belly fur and cuddle," explained zoo Director Dagmar Schratter.

This is already fourth baby for parents Alberta and Einstein in the six years they have lived at Zoo Vienna. "Alberta is already an experienced mother. She nurses her baby, grooms it and shows him how to nibble lettuce leaves," Schratter said. Visitors can try to catch a view of the baby, whose sex has yet to be determined, clinging to its mother's belly in the zoo's aviary.


Photo Credits: Norbert Potensky / Zoo Vienna

Two-Toed Sloths, native to the rainforests of South America, spend their lives in the trees crawling through the canopies clinging upside down to branches. They have specially adapted long curved claws to help assist them in this lifestyle. Another notable adapation for this inverted lifestyle is the way sloths' hair parts. In order to allow rain water to drain easily, their hair is parted along their bellies, not their backs. Sloths generally move very slowly, simply because they don't have to move any quicker. With a fantastically camouflaged coat there is little worry about predation and sloths can slowly make their way through the canopy searching for their diet of fruits, leaves and buds.

Emmen Zoo Welcomes a Bundle of Baby Lions

Lion portrait

On Sunday, April 7, four Asiatic Lion cubs were born to parents Zulu, the father, and Tia, the mother, at the Emmen Zoo in Holland. The night house den had been cleared of other Lions so Tia could spend the critical first days and weeks bonding with her babies behind the scenes. Through the use of a live webcam, keepers have been able to keep a close eye on the little family, and have observed the four avidly nursing, and growing bigger and livelier by the day under Tia's excellent care. The sex of the cubs has not yet been determined.

The Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian Lion, is a lion subspecies. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size. These Lions once prowled from the Middle East to India, but now it is estimated that only 200 to 260 of them are left in the wild, as an isolated population found in India's Gujarat State. Once a royal hunting ground, today India's Gir Forest is a reserve where these Endangered Lions are heavily protected. 

Lions w mom

Lion 4

Photo Credit: Photo 1: Rob Doolaard, all others: Emmen Zoo 

The zoo announced they are having a local contest, the winner of which will be able to have a live peek at the cubs. That will happen on April 25, but you can tune in right now to see them all via the zoo's live stream by clicking HERE

See more pictures of mom and cubs after the fold:

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Shy North American Porcupette Weighs In at Zoo Magdeburg

Porcupine 1

There's a spikey new addition to Zoo Magdeburg's family of North American Porcupines: a porcupette, whose sex is still undetermined, was born on April 1st. Recently, the shy porcupette sat quietly on a scale to be weighed, but scurried back to mom as soon as the adventure was over. The baby weighed a healthy 870 grams. Fully grown, North American Porcupines will weigh from five to ten kilograms. 

In addition to the newborn, Zoo Magdeburg has two adult females and one adult male, which live in an exhibit with Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. The zoo's first successful breeding occured in 2003, with the offspring now living at Duisburg Zoo. 

Porcupine 2

Porcupine 3

Porcupine 4
Photo Credits: Zoo Magdeburg

Read more about North American Porcupines below the fold.

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Three Emu Chicks Take a Stroll with Dad at Berlin Zoo

Emu 3 CU

Three little Emu chicks recently hatched at the Berlin Zoo. Emu pairs breed from October to April, usually producing one emerald green egg every three days which hatches in about 48 to 52 days. Chicks can walk within hours and run within days. And they grow rapidly, gaining their full height by one year of age.

An interesting fact: after the mother hen lays and incubates the egg, she has nothing more to do with raising her chicks. All of those duties are taken up by the father, seen here out walking with them. They are hardy birds, flightless and strong runners. In time, they will be able to reach ground speeds of up to 40 miles per hour in short bursts and covering about nine feet in stride. 

The Emu is native to Australia, and is the country's national bird. They are the second largest bird in the world, the first being the Ostrich. The adult Emu measure 5 to 6 feet tall and weighs between 90 to 120 pounds. They hatch at about 10 inches tall, sporting black and white stripes. By 3 months old, the chicks turn an almost solid black. Finally, by the time they reach adulthood, their feathers have changed to an elegant, downy mix of tan, brown, and black (some have a bluish neck).

Emu dad

EMU 3 FB page

Photo Credit: Berlin Zoo

Ferocious Wolverine Pups Born in Sweden

Wolverine 1

Staff at Nordens Ark in Sweden finally got a glimpse of their newest residents, three Wolverine pups. The pups, born on February 21st, recently emerged from their mother's den; where they spent the first six weeks of their lives completely dependent on their mother.

Wolverines have a fairly small captive population of around one hundred individuals internationally. Since Wolverines are considered to be difficult to breed in captivity, and are associated with high infant mortality, this is a very important birth for the captive population. This is the second litter for the mother. She proved to be an excellent mother to her first litter of pups, so keepers are optimistic about the outlook for her newest batch.

Wolverine 2

Wolverine 3

Wolverine 4
Photo credits: Tom Svensson / Nordens Ark

Wolverines are medium sized predators. They are classified in the same family as Weasels, and are the largest species in this grouping. They are ferocious predators that are known to take down prey several times their own size. Native across the Northern Hemisphere in North America, Europe and Asia, Wolverines have adapted to a wide range of habitats. They are currently listed as species of "least concern" by the IUCN due to relatively large population numbers. Despite this, in February of 2013, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed give the species protection under the Endangered Species Act due to habitat loss as a result of global climate change.

Eurasian Eagle Owl Hatched at National Aviary

Owl hero

On March 13 this Eurasian Eagle Owl hatched at Pittsburgh's National Aviary, the only one of its species hatched at any AZA facility in the past five years. The newly-hatched chick weighed 49.5 grams to start and has developed beautifully, doubling in size in just five days. By one month of age she was standing, walking and stretching her wings, as well as beginning public appearances to serve as an ambassador for her species. DNA testing of the egg verified what the measurements predicted: the owl is a female.

The bird’s parents, named X and Dumbledore, serve as education birds, trained to free fly in shows and perch on a glove for group programs. On September 25, during X's break from performing, she was placed in an exhibit adjacent to Dumbledore for a two-month howdy period. They were introduced, and breeding behaviors were seen within six weeks of pairing. A total of three eggs were laid every other day, the first on February 7. Shortly before hatching, the fertile egg was removed from the nest to complete incubation for hand-rearing. Click HERE to read all the details of the fascinating hatching and rearing process. 

Owl side

Owl perch

Photo Credit: National Aviary

Eurasian Eagle-owls are the largest species of owl in the world and are found in North Africa, Europe, Asia and Middle East. Females, on average, are one third larger than the male. Males weigh 4- 5 ½ pounds, while a larger female can weigh close to 7 pounds. Their height ranges from 2 to 2 ½ feet tall, with a wingspan of approximately 5 ½ feet. 

See the owl on it's first TV show. Story and pictures continue after the jump:

The first television outing for the owlette was an appearance on Pittsburgh Today Live, where it perched for the first time. The baby did a great job educating people about the species, but all the activity brought on a little nap. 


Owl rest

Owl nap

It's a Girl! Brevard Zoo Welcomes an Endangered Baird's Tapir

Tapir 1

A female Baird’s Tapir was born on April 2nd at Brevard Zoo. With her mother Josie and father Pewee, she brings the zoo's tapir count up to three. Mom and baby are doing well, bonding behind the scenes.  Both will be on exhibit in the near future. Before this new addition, Josie had given birth to four male offspring and one female.

Baird’s Tapir, an endangered species, tend to live near water sources in dense tropical forest throughout Central America. They are agile runners and swimmers, and will often take shelter in water when disturbed. These ancient herbivores have changed very little in the past thirty-five million years. Their trunk-like snout, called a proboscus, probably evolved more recently within the past few million years. These shy creatures are born with a pattern of spots and stripes that help young to camouflage on the dappled forest floor. The coloration fades as they mature. In the wild, young may stay with their mother for up to two years.

Tapir 2

Often called mountain cows, the Baird’s Tapir the largest indigenous mammal in Central America, and is the national animal of Belize. With the wild population estimated at less than 5,500 individuals, they are listed as endangered by the IUCN. They are threatened by extensive deforestation and habitat fragmentation, as well a local hunting. Brevard Zoo was particularly happy to welcome a female because she is very promising for the captive population. 

Phoenix Zoo's Andean Bear Cub is a Boy!

B pole

The Phoenix Zoo's Andean Bear cub, born in January, recently had its first vet check-up. After patiently waiting for more than three months, they received the exciting news that it's a boy! Rio, the 17-year-old mother, is doing an excellent job raising her young cub, who will soon be named. Andean Bears are a small, arboreal, largely vegetarian bear from the Andes Mountains in South America. They're also called Spectacled Bears due to the white markings on their faces which make them look as if they are wearing glasses. 

The Andean Bear is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with an estimated 2000-2400 left in the wild. There are approximately 56 Andean bears at 33 different AZA zoos throughout North America who are a part of the Andean bear Species Survival Plan. All work toward the future of this species through managed breeding. The Phoenix Zoo is a part of that SSP and the two bears housed there -- the male Rizzaro, and the female, Rio --were selected for breeding by the SSP. Rizzaro has only been at the Phoenix Zoo since the fall of 2011, but he and Rio hit it off right away! This cub is the 5th cub that has been born and survived in the last six years.

B mom nose

B hay

B play

Photo Credit: Photo 1: Bridget Tighe, All other photos: Christina Goulart 

Recently, for the first time in the presence of the keepers Rio let go of the cub, stepped away, and allowed the cub to be briefly on its own. As mom got a little snack, keepers shot a short video. While Rio quickly returned to her baby, this marks a huge moment in the cub's development. Watch those first baby steps below: 

This next video was the first glimpse keepers got of the newborn cub. About half way through you'll see the little guy yawn:

Here he is at 10 weeks old with mom behind the scenes. Rio cradles the cub in one paw as she gets some of her favored food (fish and pears).

See more pictures after the fold:

Continue reading "Phoenix Zoo's Andean Bear Cub is a Boy!" »

Chester Zoo's Penguin Chicks Named After TV Icons

Chester Zoo keeper Karen Neech checks on penguin chicks Davros and Dalek

A clutch of four Humboldt Penguin chicks hatched at the United Kingdom’s Chester Zoo have been named after characters from the British science fiction TV show Doctor Who, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. 

The first of the chicks, which hatched on April 17, was named Doctor.  The next three chicks are named Tardis, Davros and Dalek.

Chester Zoo keeper Karen Neech checks on penguin chicks Davros and Dalek (2)

Doctor a newly hatched penguin chick at Chester Zoo is weighed to check on its development

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Zoo keepers are providing intense daily care to the four chicks, including daily weigh-ins to make sure the chicks are getting enough food from their parents.  Keeper Karen Neech said, “With extra mouths to feed a lot more food is required, so it’s a busy time for both us and the adult Penguins.  We provide the parents with fish and they then turn it into a high-protein soup, which they then regurgitate to feed to the chicks.” 

Humboldt Penguins are native to the coastal areas of Peru and Chile and are named for the chilly Humboldt ocean current in which they swim. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Read and see more below the fold.

Continue reading "Chester Zoo's Penguin Chicks Named After TV Icons" »