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June 2013

Sea Lion Pup Welcomed at Seneca Park Zoo

Sea lion pup at SPZ (Kelli O'Brien) (1)

The Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York welcomed a California Sea Lion pup on June 1 to first-time mom Marina.  While the pup’s gender is not yet known, it is the 18th baby born at the zoo this year. 

Sea lion pup at SPZ (Kelli O'Brien) (4)

Sea lion pup at SPZ (Kelli O'Brien) (3)

Sea lion pup at SPZ (Kelli O'Brien) (2)
Photo Credit:  Kelli O'Brien

Four-year-old Marina came to the zoo in 2011 after being stranded on a beach in Los Angeles County, California.  The pup’s father was Puff, who arrived from Sea World Orlando in 2007.  Puff died last fall.

California Sea Lions are native to the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to Mexico.  Sea Lion populations are not threatened, but they are protected from hunting and harassment by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Sea Lions’ intelligence and trainability have led to their use by the United Sates Navy to detect underwater mines.

Enadangered Turtles Hatch at Houston Zoo


A few months ago, ZooBorns reported on two endangered Madagascar Big-headed Turtles who laid a total of 33 eggs at the Houston Zoo.  Because the ground was too cold for the eggs to develop, the females were induced to lay the eggs in the safety of the zoo clinic.  On May 18 and 19, three of the eggs hatched!


Photo Credits:  Beth Moorehead/Houston Zoo (1); Tina Carpenter/Houston Zoo (2,3)

Though the remainder of the 33 eggs were infertile, zoo keepers say this result is not unusual in young female turtles who have just reached maturity. 

The hatchlings are currently behind the scenes until they are old enough to be on exhibit.  In the meantime, zoo visitors can see their older siblings, who hatched on September 15, inside the reptile house.

The Big-headed Turtles live in the moat of the zoo's Lemur exhibit.  Zoo keepers have created a sandy spot for the female turtles to dig in and lay their next clutch of eggs.

The hatching of these Turtles is significant because they are one of the world's most endangered Turtle species.  Found only on the island of Madagascar, they are traded illegally for use in traditional Asian medicine.

Lion Cubs Get Their Pounce On at Monarto Zoo


Monarto Zoo recently announced that it has one male and two female lion cubs, whose sex was confirmed during the cubs’ first vet check on the morning of June 5th. It was the first time Monarto Zoo staff had the opportunity to directly interact with the cubs, which were born on April 24th, to review their physical health, administer their first vaccines and determine their sex. The cubs have spent the majority of their time tucked away inside a den being cared for by their mum Tiombe with zookeepers initially keeping their distance to give the new family complete privacy during the important bonding period.

Acting Team Leader of Carnivores, Claire Geister, said the male and two female cubs have grown leaps and bounds thanks to Tiombe’s excellent care. “We’re thrilled to have three happy, healthy little cubs! All were given a clean bill of health and have the cutest little milk bellies,” Geister said. “The health checks went smoothly with both cubs and mum relaxed through the entire process. All three cubs were given a feline vaccine, the same as your domestic cat receives, a worming tablet, a micro-chip and were weighed, producing an average weight of seven kilograms."




Photo Credits: David Mattner / Monarto Zoo

“This is a really exciting time, we haven’t had such a large litter of cubs since the breeding program began in 2007. To see them prosper is a real coup for the zoo and the preservation of this beautiful species.”

The cubs are growing bigger and livelier by the day and are starting to venture outside the den on a regular basis. “The cubs are spending a lot more time outside of the den exploring their environment and practicing their pouncing moves. While they may not be old enough to get their rough and tumble on, they seem to be having a ball!” Geister said.

“The next adventure for the little ones is to get them properly acquainted with their aunties and the other females in the pride. The re-introductions between mum and the other lionesses have been positive so far, as new mums would naturally return to the pride when their cubs are around six weeks of age.”

Twin Tiger Cubs Thriving Behind the Scenes at Burgers' Zoo

Tiger cu

These are the first pictures of two Sumantran Tiger cubs born in early May at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands. Though they are about four weeks old, they have been staying with their mother behind the scenes. In the wild, tigers find a secure and quiet hideaway, like a cave, in which to give birth. Knowing this, the Keepers created a nice, dark room boardering the Lion habitat for the arrival of the twins. A closed-circuit camera recorded their birth, nursing activity and interaction with Mom.

As luck would have it, a spider chose to make it's web right in front of the lens, so while Mom stepped out, Keepers took the opportunity to both clear the camera and snap some quick images of the cubs.

Tiger look

TIger solo cu

Photo Credit: Burger's Zoo

The Sumatran Tiger is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra off the Malaysian Peninsula and  is considered to be a Critically Endangered species. It's estimated that only between 500-600 remain in the wild, and the actual number may be as low as 400, and rapidly dwindling. Most of those now live in five National Parks and two Game Reserves -  though around 100 live in an unprotected area that will most likely be lost to agriculture growth in the near future. Though poaching is illegal, they are still hunted due to a high demand for Tiger products. 

You can see video of the birth, of the little ones testing out padding below, and mom grabbing one of the babies who had wandered below.

Tiger birth:


First wobbly steps:


Mom picking up straying cub:

See more pictures below the fold:

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Tiny Southern Pudu Fawn Born at Detroit Zoo

Pudu baby and mother

The latest big thing at the Detroit Zoo is actually quite small. A female Southern Pudu, the smallest species of deer, was born on May 20th. The fawn is the fifth Pudu born at the zoo since the species was introduced in 2008. 

The fawn is a welcome addition to the captive population of Pudus, according to Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals Robert Lessnau. “There are less than thirty Pudus in U.S. zoos, so this birth is significant, especially since the baby is a female.” 

The fawn joins her parents, 6-year-old Carol and 7-year-old T. Roy, and sister Hamill Girl – born in 2012 – in their habitat near two other South American mammals, the giant anteaters and bush dogs. 

Pudu Fawn
Photo credits: first photo by Lee Fisher, second photo by Patti Truesdell

Found in the temperate rainforests of southern Chile and Argentina, the Southern Pudu can reach a height of 18 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 25 pounds at maturity.  The tiny deer has reddish-brown fur and diminutive features, including rounded ears, small black eyes and short legs. Fawns are weaned at two months old, and reach their full adult size at three months old. The Southern Pudu is listed as ‘threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A decrease in available habitat, subsistence hunting and poaching for the exotic pet trade contribute to their decline. Additional factors include predation by domestic dogs and competition with non-native species of deer. 

Help Name Busch Gardens Tampa's New Lion Cubs

Lion ball

A trio of Lion cubs are the most recent addition to Busch Gardens Tampa. They came all the way from South Africa, arriving on May 18. The two little sisters were born March 20; the male, who is not related to the females, was born Feb. 20. All three cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where Lions are recognized for their large size and the males' impressive manes.

Now you can help name the sister cubs! Cast your vote HERE for your favorite of the two pairs of names they offer, now through Tuesday, June 18. There you can also view a clip of the cubs on The Today show.

Lion duo

Lion duo chew

Lion shy

Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The addition of the cubs comes as the result of a relationship between Busch Gardens and a private zoological facility in South Africa and enhances the sustainability of lions living in managed care in North America, as well as aids in the park’s breeding program. Lion populations are in sharp decline across Africa. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports several projects in Africa, which work to protect and preserve the species.

See more pictures after the fold:

Continue reading "Help Name Busch Gardens Tampa's New Lion Cubs" »

Endangered Snow Leopard Cub Born in Denver

Snow Leopard 1
Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

Though summer has just begun, the Denver Zoo just received a wintery resident, a baby Snow Leopard. Born on May 13th, the zoo's newest resident, a female cub, has been named Misha.

For now, visitors will have to wait to catch a glimpse of Misha as she remains in her mother's den, as she would in the wild, until she gets a little bigger. Once her mother determines it is time for Misha to explore the world, they will venture out together for all to see.

While Misha's mother Natasha is an experienced three time mother (she had offspring in 2005, 2007 & 2008), it is the first offspring for her father Himal. The pair were brought together in Denver in 2010 per a recommendation by the Association of Zoos & Aquarium's Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan with the hopes that they would bear offspring. The pair have valuable genetics, and their reproduction together is a huge boost the captive Snow Leopard population.

Snow Leopards are native to the mountains of central Asia and the Himalayas. They live at high elevations, above the tree line, and have a number of adaptations to survive in this harsh environment. They possess a very well-developed chest, short, powerful limbs, and a long thing tail that help them navigate the steep rocky terrain. Their large paws act as snowshoes, helping them walk along the snowy mountaintops.

Snow Leopards are classified as "endangered" by the IUCN. With a population estimated to be between 2,000 and 7,000 and dropping quickly due to poaching for their fur and habitat loss, every birth is a victory in this species' fight for survival.

Who Knew a Pudu was the Smallest Deer in the World?


This little Southern Pudu baby was born at Sweden's Parken Zoo to parents Odense and André. Keepers weighed the baby and the scale showed 2 pounds (1.36 kg).  In the wild, a baby usually remains hidden in the first days of life, only emerging to nurse when the mother visits. After a few weeks, it joins its mother in her normal range, staying with her for about eight to 12 months. This baby will lose its white spots once it's about 3 to 5 months old. At 8 months, males begin growing their first spike antlers, which eventually reach 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) high when they are 7 years old.

The Southern Pudu is an endangered species. Their future in the wild remains uncertain, as their natural habitat is diminished due to overpopulation, clearing of land for agriculture, logging, hunting and other human activities. Helping conserve the species through zoo efforts is therefore key.



Photo Credit: Parken Zoo

Southern Pudu are normally active at twilight and during the night. The live in dense underbrush and bamboo thickets. Considered the smallest species of deer in the world, their small stature aids them greatly in escaping their predators. With it's short legs and it's body mass so close to the ground, the Southern Pudu can easily zig zag through dense vegitation and rocks when pursued.Pudus tend to live alone or in pairs. These deer are almost never found in groups of more than three animals. 

Baby Blue-Eyed Lemur Receives Special Care in France

Blue-Eyed Lemur 1

A baby Blue-Eyed Lemur has been receiving very special care at its home at the La Palmyre Zoo. When the youngster appeared weak and was having trouble clinging to its mother's fur following its birth on April 9th, keepers sprang into action to hand raise the baby, providing 24-hour care.

The little girl, the first of this species born at the zoo since they began caring for its kind eleven years ago, has been making great progress and is growing at a steady rate. After removing it for care, keepers brought its entire family to the nursery to make sure that the parents stayed in visual contact with the newborn. Now, at two months of age, the baby is healthy and reportedly very active.

Blue-Eyed Lemur 2

Blue-Eyed Lemur 3
Photo Credit: F. Perroux / La Palmyre Zoo

Last week, both the newborn and its family were returned to their normal enclosure, however, for now the baby is remaining in its own cage within the enclosure as a precautionary measure due to its small size. When it is big enough, the baby will be slowly and carefully reintroduced to its entire family.

See and learn more after the fold!

Continue reading "Baby Blue-Eyed Lemur Receives Special Care in France" »

Okapi Calf Shows Her Stripes at San Diego Zoo


This 24-day-old female Okapi calf took her first stroll around her exhibit at the San Diego Zoo last week. She stepped out first thing in the morning with her mother, Safarani, who she stayed close to for most of the time. While she appeared a little tentative she was nevertheless still quite curious about her new surroundings. Okapis are naturally shy in the wild as well, relying on the thick foliage found in their environment to protect them from predators.

Born on May 19, she had up until that day been raised behind the scenes and out of public view in the Zoo's Okapi barn with her mom. The Animal Care staff report the calf is healthy and progressing well. In fact, she almost doubled her birth weight in a little over two weeks! This is the fourth calf born to Safarani and the 23rd okapi born at the San Diego Zoo.



Photo Credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

Okapis look a little like they might be related to horses or deer and yet have some stripes as if they were part zebra, but are in fact a relative of the giraffe. They are native to the Ituri Forest, a small,dense rain forest in Central Africa. The species is Near Threatened, mainly due to habitat destruction. It is believed there are currently less than 25,000 Okapis in the wild and less than 90 Okapis reside in zoos across the United States.