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April 2013
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May 2013

What's Black and White and Cute All Over?


At Zoo Boise, Striped Skunks Figaro and Cleo are stars of the zoo's special animal presentations. On April 30th, the pair also became the parents of six little kits. The four males and two females just recently started to open their eyes. Once mature and independent, they will move to other zoos. In the meantime, the kits may join their parents in animal presentations at the zoo, depending on their mother and on their healthy development. 




Photo credits: Zoo Boise

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Breakfast for Three Little Burrowing Owlets


Three Burrowing Owlets recently hatched at the Sacramento Zoo. These fluffy little ones will grow to weigh anywhere between 4.5-9 ounces, and become 7.5 - 10 inches tall with a wingspan of 21 - 24 inches! Males of this species are slightly heavier and have a longer wingspan than the females, which is not the norm with most owls.

Found in dry, open areas with low vegetation like deserts, grasslands, farms, and even golf courses and vacant lots in urban areas, this species hunts either while on the ground or by swooping down from a perch. They will also catch bugs while in flight. In addition to insects, they eat small mammals and at times supplement their diet with reptiles and amphibians. 

Not so for these chicks at the moment. Keeper Maureen Cleary dedicates herself to diligently feeding each Owlet. First she weighs out the amount of food that is appropriate for them at this weight and age, then patiently feeds them one bite at a time from medical scissors, which mimic a beak, just like their own mother would. The Owlets instinctually know what to do, even when their eyes were closed, as seen in the video below, where the chicks are just six days old. 


Photo Credit: Mike Owyang

Burrowing Owls are listed as Endangered in Canada and Threatened in Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) list it as a Bird of Conservation Concern at the national level. At the state level, Burrowing Owls are listed as Endangered in Minnesota, Threatened in Colorado, and as a Species of Concern in Arizona, California, Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming 

In the video below, notice that each chick has a colored dot on their little heads. This is temporary, used so the keeper can distinguish them from each other:

See many more pictures of the Owlets after the fold:

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A Happy Mother's Day for an Indian Rhino


Mother’s Day Came early for an endangered Indian Rhinoceros at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. On May 9th—one day before her own birthday, and three days before Mother’s Day—an Indian Rhinoceros named Jamie gave birth to a male calf. The new calf has been given the Indian name Jiyu, meaning “compassionate friend”, by the Zoo’s Asian animal care team. Mother and calf are spending time together off exhibit for the newborn’s safety and for privacy in bonding. After some heavy rains, the two-week old calf loves playing outside in mud puddles.

“This calf represents our third successful offspring in support of the Indian Rhino management program in North America,” says Dr. Larry Killmar, the Zoo’s vice president of animal science. Jamie’s first offspring, a female named Jaya born in 2009, now resides at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita and the second offspring, a male named Jahi born in 2011, now resides at Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. All three calves were sired by a male rhino named Arjun.


Indian rhino Jiyu (1)

Indian rhino Jiyu (2)
Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo / David Parkinson 

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Indian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. Counting the new male calf, there are just fifty four Indian rhinos in AZA-accredited institutions, with an estimated wild population of no more than 2,850.

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Endangered Ornate Hawk-eagle Hatches at San Paulo Zoo

C bod

A new Ornate Hawk-eagle hatched at Sao Paulo Zoo, on April 15. The chick is a male, and has been named Chronus by the biologists of the park. Like most birds, this species grows very fast. It was hatched weighing around 50 grams, and after just one month he weighs 10 times as much! Since the first day, the hatchling has been fed a diet of mice. At this stage of development, he's comsuming meals 3 times a day, and is expected to grow to an adult weight of close to 1000 gms.

Once fully grown, this bird will have strikingly colored plumage and piercing golden eyes  He will also develop strong muscular feet bearing long, sharp talons, used along with a sharp, hooked bill to tear the flesh and break the bones of it's prey. The Ornate Hawk-eagle is a highly endangered species in the state of Sao Paulo, and not many zoos in the world have the privilege of keeping and breeding this formidible animal.

C feed

C bite

C cu
Photo Credit: Carlos Nader

Click here to see this fuzzy chick strengthening his legs taking wobbly steps and coming out of the incubator to get a snack. (The narratoin to the video below is in Portugese)

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World's Smallest Deer Born in Sweden

Norden's Ark Pudu 1
Photo credit: Tom Svensson / Nordens Ark

On April 30th, Nordens Ark in Sweden welcomed a pint sized baby, a male Southern Pudu. It is the sixth fawn born at the zoo since it began housing and breeding the species eight years ago in an effort to help conserve this tiny South American deer species. The little boy has been spending his days in an enclosure with his parents for visitors to see. You can get a glimpse of the little guy in the video below!


Pudu, native to South America, are known for being the smallest species of deer measuring under a foot and a half tall and around 25 pounds. They are separated into two subspecies, the Northern Pudu and the Southern Pudu. The southern variety can be found on the slopes of the Southern Andes at elevations up to 6,600 feet.  They live in temperate rain forests, using their small size to help them take cover in undergrowth to avoid predators. They live on a herbivorous diet that includes a wide range of different types of plant matter. 

Both subspecies of Pudu are classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to overhunting and habitat loss. Zoos around the world are helping to conserve this species through captive breeding programs and re-introduction efforts. 


Woodland Park Zoo's Trio of Jaguar Cubs Full of Personality


On March 22, these three Jaguar cubs were born at the Woodland Park Zoo to parents Junior and Nayla. First-time mother Nayla demonstrated natural maternal care and instincts, protecting the cubs so much that keepers couldn’t get their hands on the cubs for their first vet check until late last week! Once they did, it was determined that the triplets are healthy and that there are two girls and one boy, all exhibiting very different personalities.

The first born was a girl, the smallest of the cubs - but that does not stop her from being the most independent of the three. She also tends to lead her siblings in their mischief and play. The second born was a male who is also the largest cub. He is the shyest around keepers and a mama's boy, sticking close to mom's side, and yet he's the most vocal of the three. 

Jaguar births are rare, and as a “Near Threatened” species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar triplets are a major milestone for Woodland Park Zoo’s jaguar conservation efforts. Third born is the other female, who regularly follows her older sister and playfully roughhouses with her big brother. 

Jag duo


Photo Credits: Photo 1: Jamie Delk/Woodland Park Zoo, Photos 2-5: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo's blog, which you can read HERE, states, "Keep in mind, habitat loss and fragmentation of wild areas, hunting by ranchers, and loss of wild prey due to overhunting by humans are major threats facing jaguars in the wild. Each year, Woodland Park Zoo’s Jaguar Conservation Fund supports field conservation projects dedicated to preserving wild jaguars and their habitat. The fund has given awards to 19 projects in 12 North, Central and South American countries for a total investment of $113,806. Currently, the zoo supports three projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua that all aim to find ways for both people and predators to share Earth’s ecosystems."

Look for more pictures of the cubs after the fold. Before that, watch this series of three videos from the zoo's closed circuit cameras, which allow Mom the privacy to nurture and bond with her cubs. The first is the video announces the cubs' birth:

The cubs at three days old:

The most recent video of mom nursing and playing with her babies.

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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Welcomes Capybara Babies

CleMetZoo capybara baby 1

Just after 7am on May 12th, four healthy Capybara babies were born at The RainForest exhibit of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. This litter almost doubles the zoo's Capybara population, bringing their total to nine individuals. The birth was a part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Capybara Species Survival Program. This program helps zoos across the nation breed the species cooperatively in an effort to maintain a viable captive population.

CleMetZoo capybara baby 2

CleMetZoo capybara baby 3
Photo Credits: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world growing up to four and a half feet long and weighing in at up to 150 pounds. Native to South America, they are found on all of the continent that lies east of the Andes Mountains. They are a highly social species who typically live in groups of 10-20 individuals, though groups of as large as 100 have been reported. The wild population of Capybara is considered stable and not threatened, though hunting for its meat and pelts has reduced populations in some of its range.

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Got Legs? There's a New Baby Giraffe at Budapest Zoo

Baby nose

A baby Rothschild Giraffe was born just after dawn at the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Saturday, May 25. ViItal and healthy, the 5' 6" (17o cm) tall baby was determined to be a female and will be introduced to the public in just a few days. Her six-year-old mother Sandra was born in Prague Zoo in 2007. Naturally, this baby is the first for Sandra, but the 28th for the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also called the Baringo Giraffe. This is an Endangered subspecies of giraffes, but it is the most common in European Zoos.

GIraffe solo light

Baby mom side nose

Baby nurse
Photo Credit: Budapest Zoo

Watch this four minute, at times high-speed summary of the baby's birth, which happened in the wee hours of the morning:

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Krakow Zoo Welcomes An Important Male Pygmy Hippo Calf


Last month an unusual baby was born into the Krakow Zoo family. On April 16th Pygmy Hippo parents Quinces and Rafa gave birth to their third calf, a baby boy. Statistically, Pygmy hippos born in captivity skew 60% female, making the birth of a male calf particularly significant for future potential breeding efforts. In the 12 months preceding the birth, only four Pygmy Hippo calves were born in all of Europe, and three of those were female. In early may the whole family made its public debut. This endangered species  lives in humid forests and along river banks in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire.




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Wee Pile 'o Otter Pups Born at Emmen Zoo

Otter emmen pile

How many furry heads do you see in that Otter pup pile? There are four Asian Small-clawed Otters in all, born at Emmen Zoo in mid April. For the most part, keepers have left the babies alone to bond with mom and the other members of the family, who all pitch in, though  a vet check on May 21, it was determined that two were boys and two were girls! Newborn Otters are blind, deaf and totally dependent on their parents. They nurse for about seven weeks before they begin to start on solid foods. This is also about the time they open their eyes. Both Otter parents help to raise their pups, often assisted by previous offspring!

The smallest species of otter in the world, weighing less than 11 pounds (5 kg), they are considered Vulnerable by the IUCN, due to ongoing habitat loss, pollution, and hunting. They are found in fresh water in the wetlands, rivers and marshy areas along the coast in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, India, southern China,Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and  Burma.

Otter vet

Otter vet check crop
Photo Credit: Emmen Zoo

Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinerea) are named as such because its claws, as you can see, do not grow past the pads of its partially webbed digits. This allows them to use their paws much like we use our hands, which helps when on a diet of feed on mollusks, crabs and shellfish.