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April 2013
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May 2013

Red Wolf Pups Saved from Deadly Virus at Jackson Zoo

Red wolf bottle

When an aggressive virus strikes, there’s often little that can be done. Fortunately, Jackson Zoo’s dedicated animal care team was able to give the medical attention needed to rescue a litter of Red Wolf pups from a virus that had been transmitted by the pups' mother, Taladu.  

The five pups, Jackson Zoo's first litter of this critically endangered species, were born on April 22nd. The three surviving pups are male and thriving under the care of zoo veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield. They are growing quickly and taking two to three ounces of formula at three-hour intervals. At three weeks old, two cubs weighed in at 2.3 lbs and one weighed in at 3 lbs. 

Because the virus was transmitted by their mother, they will continue to be hand-raised by Dr. Holifield for a few more weeks before they return to their nursery at the zoo. 

Red wolf pups

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Red wolf pup

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Photo credits: Jackson Zoo

See photos of the pups as newborns and learn more about Red Wolf conservation after the fold.

Continue reading "Red Wolf Pups Saved from Deadly Virus at Jackson Zoo" »

Paignton Zoo's New Baby Orangutan is a Girl

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Paignton Zoo's Orangutan mom Mali gave birth on May 11 to what keepers are 99% sure is a little girl. She is healthy and has bonded exceptionally well with Mom. Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said:  “Mali and baby are doing well. They have the largest of our Orangutan islands and an off-exhibit den to themselves. We hope that visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the youngster, which will become more mobile over the coming months."

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is threatened by hunting, the pet trade and the destruction of its rainforest habitat. That forest is being destroyed to create plantations producing palm oil, an ingredient found in an enormous amount of products people use daily Given the declining populations, measures such as switching to alternative oil products and maintaining sustainable populations of Orangutans in zoos are becoming ever more important. Everyone can help by reading labels at the grocery store to determine what products are made without palm oil. 

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Photo Credit: Photos 1, 2 4: Ray Wiltshire, Photo 3: Simon Maddock

Bornean Orangutans have suffered declines and the population is estimated at around 50,000. To put this in context, there are fewer Bornean Orangutans in the entire world than there are human beings in Torquay (the population of Torquay is about 62,000).

Article continued after the fold:

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Phoenix Zoo Receives Unexpected Fuzzball

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For the first time in over a decade, the Phoenix Zoo has a Spectacled Owl chick. The chick was born on February 10th to the zoo's pair of Spectacled Owls. The pair is quite experienced in rearing young having done so six times in the past, albeit not for some time. After over ten years without a baby, and with the female being 20 years old and the male 15, keepers were not sure if the lone egg laid would be fertile.

To the keepers' excitement, on the 10th of February they heard faint vocalizations coming from the nest box and realized they had a chick! However, it would be over a month until they were first able to peer into the nest box when the chick's protective parents were distracted and finally get a glimpse of the newborn. It was not until April 14th, just over two months after hatching, that the chick would fledge and give keepers a good look at their newest addition.

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Photo credits: Amanda Donagi / Phoenix Zoo

The chick has continued to grow since fledging just over a month ago. It is slowly losing its natal fluffy down, replacing it with feathers. It has been observed flying around its exhibit and exploring all of the perches it has to offer. The chick's gender is still unknown and will be determined at its first health examination.

Continue reading "Phoenix Zoo Receives Unexpected Fuzzball " »

What The Devil! Ever Seen a Bottle-feeding Baby Tasmanian Joey?

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Known for their feisty demeanor, Tasmanian Devil babies show quite another side. These cheeky little devils are joeys from Australia's Devil Ark, the largest conservation breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil on mainland Australia. The iconic Tasmanian marsupial is at serious risk of extinction from the highly contagious Devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). Devil Ark's ambitious breeding program might be the key to its survival.  It's believed that in the next 20 years the Tasmanian Devil could be extinct on Tasmania due to DFTD's rampant effects. Since its discovery in 1996, numbers of wild devils have plummeted across Tasmania, and in some areas, more than 85% of the wild population is now extinct.

So it is a battle against time! Now genetic diversity is also rapidly diminishing in Tasmania, so at Devil Ark, they are racing to breed large numbers of devils to preserve the species. There are currently more than 120 devils at the Ark and the goal is to have 360 individuals there by 2016.

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Taz Yelp

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Photo Credit: Devil Ark

Tasmanian Devils are known for their fierce demeanor, but watch these babies nursing and playing and you'll see a different side!

Read much more about Devil Ark and the important work they are doing below the fold:

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Arctic Wolf Cubs Can Howl With The Best of Them


April 27th marked the arrival of baby Arctic Wolves At Zoo Vienna. The cubs are now ready to leave the den from time to time for short excursions into the outside world. “Like in the wild, mother Inja raises her young in a burrow where they cannot be observed. Up to now, five young animals have been spotted outside the den. Only time will tell if they will all survive.” explains the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.



Photo credits: Lead image, Schönbrunn zoo/Norbert Potensky. All otehrs by Daniel Zupanc


At about two weeks old, the cubs began to open their eyes. Now curiosity is starting to get the better of them. Unlike the adult animals, they still have brown fur. Schratter: “Arctic Wolves have white fur, which is very conspicuous in the zoo enclosure. In their native environment, the northern regions of North America, Greenland and the Arctic their colour blends in almost totally with the snowy landscape and is the ideal camouflage with which they are almost invisible to their prey.”

See many more photos below the fold...

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Update! Little Clouded Leopards Now Big Enough to Play

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Who's that peeking out from those stuffed animals? That's Nashville Zoo's Clouded Leopard cubs outside for the first time, playing in the sun and feeling the grass. They were born on March 26, which, if you missed it, you can read about HERE on ZooBorns. This past Sunday, Mother's Day, the zoo asked the public to donate new and gently used stuffed animals for the cubs to use for snuggling and cuddling. And they got right to it, as you can see!

Clouded Leopards are considered endangered because of deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. Nashville Zoo is a member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, an ongoing collaboration with the National ZooPoint Defiance Zoo, Clouded Leopard Species Survival Program and Zoological Park Organization of Thailand (ZPO) to develop a multi-faceted clouded leopard conservation program that includes a viable self-sustaining captive population. 

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Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs Photography

Twycross Zoo's Baby Crowned Lemur Snacks on a Little Grass

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Keepers at Twycross Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a baby Crowned Lemur, born on April 11. Experienced mom Rose is doing a superb job. Infants are initially carried on the mother’s front but as they grow heavier they are moved onto her back. The father takes and active role in parenting as well. Tony Dobbs, Section Head of Primates, said: “The baby arrived a few days earlier than we had expected but both mum and baby are doing very well. While Rose is looking after the newborn, the father, Rik, has taken on the role of the proud, protective father.”

In the wild the Crowned Lemur is confined to a small patch of forest in Madagascar and listed on the IUCN Red List  as Vulnerable. There their population is decreasing because their habitat is in rapid decline principally due to heavy mining, illegal logging and hunting for food.



Photo Credit: Phillipa Dobson

Zoological Director, Sharon Redrobe, added: “The Crowned Lemur, like all the lemur species, is under threat in the wild and therefore the role of the captive population is becoming more and more important. A successful birth such as this is a huge boost to the conservation of this species.”

You can get a glimpse to the baby tucked into mom's hip on this video:

Read more about the baby's family at the zoo and find Crowned Lemur facts, after the fold:

Continue reading "Twycross Zoo's Baby Crowned Lemur Snacks on a Little Grass" »

Sea Lion Pup Reunited With Mother After Receiving Special Care

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On April 17th the Oceans of Fun exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo welcomed its newest resident, a female California Sea Lion pup. Born to mother Sonoma and father Slick, the newborn girl has been named Talise, which is a Native American name meaning "beautiful waters." While Talise was a healthy weight of 17 pounds at birth and is now thriving, her life wasn't without some struggles early in life.

Sonoma is a first time mother, and like in many species, Sea Lion mothers often lack the skills needed to nurse and take care of their first pup. When Sonoma failed to nurse Talise upon birth, the Oceans of Fun staff and Milwaukee Zoo veterinarian team jumped into action to provide the newborn with 24 hour care. They monitored the pup intently and provided her with specially developed formula to serve as a substitute for Sonoma's milk. Attempts were also made to provide Talise with a surrogate, experienced mother Makika, who unfortunately did not accept little Talise.

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Photo credits: Milwaukee County Zoo


Thankfully, after just a week of care, keepers were able to reunite Talise with Sonoma who is now nursing like a pro. Keepers are reporting that the pair are doing well and developing a strong bond. Talise and Sonoma have been communicating vocally day and night, a strong sign that they are developing a proper relationship. The first few days of life are vital in a Sea Lions life, and keepers are happy with the progress that has been made in the vital connection between mother and offspring.

See and learn more after the fold!

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Prairie Dog Pups Pop Up at Maryland Zoo

The Prairie Dog habitat at the Maryland Zoo is popping with pups – literally!  The staff reports that new pups are poking their little heads out of their burrows daily.  They’ve counted 17 so far.


Black-tailed Prairie Dogs live a social life.  These rodents live in family groups called coteries, and many coteries group together form a colony or town of Prairie Dogs.  Members of a family group communicate constantly, often by “kissing” or grooming each other.   



Photo Credit:  Maryland Zoo

Native to the North American plains, Prairie Dogs are often considered pests by ranchers and farmers because they eat grasses and disturb fields.  But studies show that Prairie Dogs are an important prey species that plays a crucial role in the grassland ecosystem.  They are the primary food source of endangered Black-footed Ferrets, whose decline is associated with the extermination of Prairie Dogs in parts of the American West.

See more Prairie Dog pups below the fold.

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UPDATE: Baby Tiger Gets Her Bottle at Point Defiance Zoo


A 3-week-old endangered Sumatran Tiger cub made her first public appearance at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium last week, and zoo visitors can now watch twice a day as the cub, named Kali, is bottle-fed by zoo keepers.



Tiger cub
Photo credit: Jesse Michener/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


The Tiger was born April 17 to mom Jaya. Malosi is her father.  “She’s spunky, robust, and energetic,” zoo staff biologist Steven Ok said. Kali gets about three ounces of formula five times a day.  Zoo visitors can watch the 10 am and 2 pm feedings.

Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered. Kali is only the third Sumatran Tiger born in North America this year.  There are 74 Sumatran Tigers in North American zoos, and an estimated 300 left in their native habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The Species Survival Plan® works to ensure genetic diversity in the zoo-based Tiger population through careful breeding recommendations and management.  Habitat loss and poaching are the Tigers’ greatest threats.

“Every Tiger is precious,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, zoo general curator, who also chairs the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan. “We are very pleased at the birth of this cub and with her progress to date. Female cubs are particularly needed in this population. She is a welcome addition.”