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June 2013

May 2013

Nashville Zoo Welcomes Eurasian Lynx

Lynx Cub 13 - Amiee Stubbs

Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a Eurasian Lynx. The female cub was born to the Zoo’s on-exhibit pair on Saturday, May 4.

“We suspected that our Lynx might be pregnant due to a slight weight gain but never had confirmation,” said Connie Philipp, mammal curator. “The cub arrived on its estimated due date based on the data the keepers collected, and she’s now being hand-raised by our animal care staff. She will eventually join an educational outreach program at another zoo.”

Lynx cub feeding - Amiee Stubbs



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Photo credits: Amiee Stubbs Photography

Nashville Zoo is home to three Eurasian Lynx, a male and female on exhibit, and a male, known as Blitz, that is a part of our “Wildlife on Wheels” program. The Eurasian Lynx exhibit was generously sponsored by David and Kathryn Brown.

Eurasian Lynx are the largest of the lynx species and are native to Central Asian, European and Siberian forests. While not listed as endangered, Eurasian Lynx are rarely seen in some parts of its home range.

Zoo Keepers Save Orphaned Baby Meerkat at Chessington World of Adventures Resort

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Meet baby Lila. Zoo Keepers at the UK's Chessington World of Adventures Resort have taken the tiny Meerkat under their wing, after she was rejected by her mother. Just 22 days old and weighing 119 grams, the equivalent weight of half a stick of butter, Lila is receiving round the clock attention.

Keeper Gemma Anscomb has taken on the challenge of being the main caregiver for Lila, with duties including milk-feeding every two hours and lots of cuddles. Anscomb said, “Little Lila was sadly abandoned by her mummy. This often happens in the wild. If the parents feel that the family group is getting too large, they will often seek out the weakest of the group and reject them from it. We closely monitored the group following Lila’s birth and when we saw something wasn’t quite right, we stepped in. I’m delighted to say she is doing really well.”

Meerkat with Duck

Meerkat and Gemma
Photo Credit: Chessington World of Adventures Resort

“We’re all so pleased to see that little Lila is developing by the day and are looking forward to introducing her to her new family in the Wanyama Village very soon,” Anscomb added. She may be small but she’s a little fighter and has proven quite a character already!  She loves nothing more than snuggling up to her Mumma Duck cuddly toy and getting lots of attention from her keepers.”

Lila has begun a program of meeting her fellow Meerkat playmates, where she’s learning behaviors from them and developing her natural instincts. She will also begin to try some solid food. Lila will make her public debut this Saturday, May 25.


Save Our Sloths!

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Years before Sloths inspired best selling books, TV specials and Kirsten Bell meltdowns, ZooBorns was delivering them to your eyeballs courtesy of The Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. This unique facility has been rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned and injured sloths for over 20 years. Now they need our help.

With almost 150 Sloths in their care, The Sloth Sanctuary is reaching capacity and needs to release more rescued animals back into the wild. In order to ensure these animals are thriving, biologist Rebecca Cliffe is raising money for GPS tracking equipment that will allow staff to monitor the released animals. This will also provide critical data in support of the Sloth Backpack Project, which seeks to better understand sloth diet, habitat preferences and reproductive habits. Learn more about this effort and contribute to Save Our Sloths on Indiegogo.

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Bucket of Baby Sloths.jpgHow many baby Sloth can you count above? Photo credits: Becky Cliffe / The Sloth Sanctuary

Need that link again? Learn more about this effort and contribute to Save Our Sloths on Indiegogo.

Meet Little Moose, Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Newest Fennec Fox Kit

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County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney joined New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo staff to introduce their newest Fennec Fox kit. Born on the afternoon of March 23 to parents Rhiona and Copper, he weighed approximately 40 grams (that's less than a hard-boiled egg). Regardless of his diminutive size, he was named Moose! Today, at just about two months old, he's half-grown at 455 grams. Mahoney said, “It’s great to see yet another testament of the zoo staffs’ dedication to furthering animal conservation and protecting endangered species.”

Ted Fox, Curator and Zoo Director siad, “Fennec Fox parents are very cautious and elusive during the kit rearing process. Due to their acute hearing and sensitivity, reproduction of Fennec Foxes in a zoological setting is a challenge. Hand-raising this kit will habituate him to close contact with humans, helping him to become a confident and well-adjusted adult.”

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Photo Credit: Photos 1,2: Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Photo 3: CNY News

Fennec Foxes are found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. One of the smallest of canines, Fennec Foxes are well built for their natural habitat. Their nocturnal habits help them survive in the searing heat of the desert environment, and some physical adaptations help, as well. Their distinctive bat-like ears act like natural air conditioners, radiating heat away from their bodies, and allowing them to hear the movements of predators and prey over long distances. They have long, thick hair that insulates them during cold nights and protects them from the hot sun during the day. Even the bottoms of their feet are hairy, which acts as a barrier against the extremely hot sand in their native desert environment.

Read More after the fold:

Continue reading "Meet Little Moose, Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Newest Fennec Fox Kit" »

Eight Miniature Piglets for Zoo Basel


Miniature Pigs Jack and Jill, both five years old, became parents to eight piglets on April 22 at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel.  The eight youngsters (three boys and five girls) are all black except for one which is pink with black spots. 



Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel

Jack and Jill are experienced parents, giving birth once or twice a year.  This litter of eight piglets is a large one, so it’s pretty crowded when all eight want to nurse at the same time.  Keepers report that Jill’s top row of teats is the most sought-after, and the piglets argue with each other to see who gets the coveted spots.  The piglets are certainly getting enough to eat, because they’ve already more than doubled their birth weight! 

Miniature Pigs are small domestic Pigs, and are popular as household pets.

See more porcine pictures below the fold.

Continue reading "Eight Miniature Piglets for Zoo Basel" »

Love at First Sight = Baby Porcupine for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


Nale and Elan, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Porcupines, are first-time parents! Nale (nah'-lay) gave birth to a porcupette, or baby Porcupine, on May 8. The baby was born weighing a little over a pound and appears healthy. Zoo veterinarians will not be able to determine if it's a boy or a girl for approximately 30 days, at which time Zoo staff will name the newest Porcupine addition.




Photo Credit:  Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

"Porcupettes are born with their quills - they are soft when they are first born but harden quickly," Roxanna Breitigan, Animal Care Manager, said. "They are also precocious from the start. Nale's porcupette is active and crawling around the exhibit." 

Nale joined the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo family at the end of June 2012, and Elan was smitten with her right away.

"He started courting her almost immediately," Breitigan said. 

Porcupines typically breed in the fall and their gestation is seven months long. Zoo staff started looking for signs of delivery starting on May 4 - Nale's first possible due date. 

One of the keepers knew something was up when Nale’s behavior changed one morning. "She noticed right away that Nale didn't eat on Wednesday morning, wasn't climbing any trees (Nale is an expert climber, so that was very unusual for her) and was stretching a lot. [She] kept a watchful eye and was there when the baby was born," Breitigan said. 

In the wild, males don't usually have a role in raising their young, but Elan is being a good dad. He is curious, interested, remains calm and keeps a watchful eye on his family from his favorite branch.

Miracle Baby Gibbon Rescued at Greensboro Science Center


On April 29, Isabella, the Greensboro Science Center’s (GSC) rare and endangered Javan Gibbon, gave birth to a baby boy. In both the wild and in zoos, it’s not unusual for first-time mother Gibbons to abandon their first child, and that’s exactly what happened to the fragile newborn, who was discovered alone in the Gibbon habitat. Thanks to the expert care of zoo keepers, veterinarians, and the staff of a local hospital, the baby, named Duke, was revived and stabilized. To give Duke the best chance of survival, zoo staffers decided to hand-rear the baby for the next six months until he is self-sustaining, then try to reintroduce him to his parents, Isabella and Leon, in the exhibit.

The compelling story of Duke’s first few hours of life and the days immediately following his discovery are detailed below.



Photo Credit:  Greensboro Science Center


In the early morning of April 29, a zoo keeper discovered a tiny, full-term baby Javan Gibbon lying without its mother inside the Gibbons’ indoor habitat. She immediately wrapped the seemingly lifeless and cold infant into her jacket and ran back to the animal hospital. Slowly, the baby started to warm up and began moving and vocalizing. Keepers held the baby in their arms and up against the body for contact and continuous warmth the first critical hours. Room temperatures were increased to 85 degrees. Once warmed and clinging firmly to a toy Gibbon, Duke was given tiny drops of fluid to rehydrate, then he began taking diluted formula.  Duke gained strength and opened his eyes forcing a crucial decision: Should the staff try to introduce him back to Isabella or not? Knowing that parent rearing is always the best option (though filled with risk given the initial abandonment), the decision was made to introduce Duke back to his parents approximately 30 hours after being found. After some initial nervousness, Isabella grabbed him up in her arms and mother and son were reunited.

Unfortunately, after just 24 hours, it was clear that Duke was weakening and likely not nursing. After much discussion, the decision was made to hand-rear Duke knowing that staff would now need to do everything possible to keep him in visual, vocal and olfactory contact with his parents.

Duke’s condition is stable, and the GSC staff are committed to providing care 24 hours a day for the next six months.  “Nothing in nature is about fairness. It is about survival,” said GSC director Glenn Dobrogosz. “Duke, and hopefully his species, will have a fighting chance thanks to keepers, curators and wildlife biologists who dedicate their lives to preserving and protecting our world’s wild things and wild places.” 

In 2012, GSC was selected by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to be the second accredited zoo in the U.S. to exhibit and breed Javan Gibbons - one of the rarest Gibbon species on the planet found only on the island of Java in Indonesia. Duke is one of only eight born in zoos across the world and one of three born in North America in the past 12 months.

Peek-a-Boo, Little Porcupette!


Switzerland’s Zoo Basel welcomed a male porcupette (baby Porcupine) on April 6.  Porcupettes are born with soft, flexible spines, which harden after a few days.  The new baby lives with seven other Porcupines in the zoo’s exhibit.



Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel

Zoo Basel’s Porcupines are clicker-trained, which allows zoo keepers to better monitor the health and well-being of these nocturnal animals, who would rather hide than interact with keepers.  The Porcupines have learned that a click means they’ll receive a tasty bite of food, so they eagerly emerge from their hiding places. 

Porcupines are forest-dwelling rodents that feed on tubers, bark, roots and vegetables. 

See more photos of Zoo Basel's porcupette below the fold.

Continue reading "Peek-a-Boo, Little Porcupette!" »

Antwerp Zoo's Baby Aardvark Gets A Little TLC


Last week, Antwerp Zoo in Belgium welcomed a pink, wrinkly and bald bundle of joy. Born to mom Curly, the baby Aardvark is recieving around the clock care from keepers. Though its upright ears and weight are a sign of good health, nursing has been a challenge for Curly. The cub feeds every three hours, and the keepers must often hand-nurse. Currently the sex of the cub is unknown. Once the sex has been determined, a name will be selected.




There are currently 45 Aardvarks in zoos throughout Europe and only about 30 in the US. Aadrvarks are native to sub-Saharan African, where they eat ants, termites, fruits and other insects. The name Aardvark comes from the Afrikaans word "erdvark", meaning "earth pig", likely due to the animals ability to dig and burrow.

Photo Credit ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst

UPDATE! Allwetter Zoo's Asian Golden Cat Twins Ready for Their Close-up

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My how they've grown! Twin Asian Golden cubs were born at Allwetter Zoo on April 7 and last Tuesday, they played and posed for the camera. Their natural beauty is evident against the pure white background.

Asiatic Golden Cats are highly threatened with extinction in the wild, so breeding them in zoos is one very important way to conserve the species. However, procreation and the successful rearing of their offspring can be tricky, so these two came into the world through artificial insemination. Click HERE for our May 3 article on this important birth, and to see their pictures as newborns.

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Photo Credit: Life on

Many more photos after the fold!

Continue reading "UPDATE! Allwetter Zoo's Asian Golden Cat Twins Ready for Their Close-up" »