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July 2013

Rare Black Rhino Born at Zoo Krefeld


In Germany, Zoo Krefeld's Black Rhino couple, Nane and Usoni, gave birth to their fourth baby on July 13. The baby, whose gender is unknown, weighs almost 30 kg, or about 66 pounds. Zoo Krefeld is one of only five zoos in Germany that successfully breed the rare species.

©ZooKR_Nashornjungtier 2013_Vera Gorissen 

Black Rhinos, also known as hook-lipped Rhinos, are native to central and eastern Africa. They are one of the largest species of Rhinos, with horns reaching up to 5 feet in length. Despite the name, Black Rhinos generally have light gray or white skin. The species is currently listed as Critically Endangered and is considered to be on the brink of extinction in the wild.







Photo Credit; 1,4,6,8 Hella Hallman; 2,3,5,7,9 Zoo Krefeld

A Whole Lotta Nappin' Goin' On -- Red Panda Cub Grows at Zoo Boise

Cub HERO 3 wks

There's a new Red Panda cub at Zoo Boise. This little male was born on June 15 to first-time parents Dolly and Winston. He has spent all his time in an off-exhibit den with his mother, who has done an excellent job of caring for him. He snoozes a lot, like most newborns do, while he develops more each day. He will grow to be the size of a house cat, though his tail will become big and bushy and add up to an additional 18 inches (46 cm) in length to his body. 

Soon he will make his way out to explore the exhibit for short stints, when visitors can hope to catch a glimpse of him. He is the third Red Panda to be born at the zoo, and the newest addition to the zoo's most "reproductive" year ever. Red Pandas live in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China. They forage most actively at dusk and in the evening, and spend most of their time in the trees, even when they nap. 

Cub 5 wks

Cub Monte Stiles

Cub 3 wk nap
Photo Credit: Photos 1, 2, 4,5 : Zoo Boise, Photo 3,6: Monte Stiles

Parents Dolly and Winston are part of the Red Panda Species Survival Program, a breeding program for certain Endangered or Threatened species that helps maintain a genetically diverse, strong animal population within zoos. 

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Skunk Kits Surprise Five Sisters Zoo

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Caretakers at Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland weren't expecting any baby Skunks— but one turned up in their Skunk exhibit on June 4. Later that day they found an even bigger surprise: the second kit to appear was an albino. They believe that the parents are Stella, one of two regular black and white females, and the father is Strachan, an albino. The albino kit has been examined and identified as a female; the other kit has been a bit more elusive and hasn't been checked out yet. The kits are pictured here at three weeks old.

Life has not been so easy for Strachan. As an albino, his eyes are weak and he has a poor immune system, leaving him vulnerable to common diseases. With his pale coloring, he sunburns easily. The albino kit will encounter the same difficulties. It's likely that the albino Skunks would not have survived in the wild. The normal black and white markings help to warn predators that a foul-smelling fluid may be squirted at them should they get too near.

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Photo credits: Five Sisters Zoo

Assiniboine Park Zoo Announces Gender of Snow Leopard Cubs


These wide-eyed Snow Leopard twins, born on June 29 at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, have completed their initial neonatal exams. Both were deemed to be healthy male cubs. The pair has been off-exhibit since birth to give them the necessary time to bond with their mother, Batu, and to receive proper veterinary care. Mom and her cubs will remain there for another 3-4 weeks, until the cubs are ready to start pawing about their habitat on their own. 

“Both cubs are doing exceptionally well and growing more and more each day,” said Gary Lunsford, Acting Director of Zoological Operations at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. “We expect that within the next few weeks, they’ll start exploring on their own, at which point we’ll be able to announce a date for their public debut.”



Photo Credit: Assiniboine Park Zoo

Both of the zoo’s adult Snow Leopards are first-time parents. Batu is just over four years old and arrived at the zoo in June 2011 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, while the three-year-old father, Henry James, came from the Tulsa Zoo in September of the same year.

Kolmården Wildlife Park Welcomes Red Panda Cub


The Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden welcomed a Red Panda cub on June 10. The female cub, named Pralin, is doing well.

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Despite the name, Red Pandas are more closely related to Raccoons than to Giant Pandas. However, they share many traits with their black and white namesakes. For example, both eat bamboo and have a sesamoid bone, known as a 'fake thumb', used to grasp bamboo. They both live in the temperate bamboo forests of China. Unlike Giant Pandas, Red Pandas also inhabit the foothills of the Himalayas. Red Pandas are currently listed as Vulnerable, due to habitat loss.

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Photo Credit: Kolmården 

It's a Boy! Baby Hippo Born at Zoo Ostrava

Hippo hero

This healthy baby Hippo was born at the Czech Republic's Ostrava Zoo on June 3. The first weeks of a little Hippo's life is mostly spent in the water but then it takes its first trips on the shore. This is mostly done with mom to look for food, but it is also a chance to explore its surroundings. During one of these kinds of on-land trips, zoo staff had a chance to determine the baby's sex -- and it's a boy! Since then, he has gotten stronger and much heavier. 

Hippo bums

Hippo side

Hippo 4
Photo Credit: Zoo Ostrava

His mother, 36-year-old Katka, is quite experienced, having already raised 10 babies. His father is Honza, a 46-year-old who is the oldest hippo father in Europe! In total, Ostrava Zoo has reared 18 Hippo offspring throughout its history -- this newest baby boy is the nineteenth. 

Snow Leopard Triplets Debut at Zoo Magdeburg


On June 7, Snow Leopards Dinah and Valo became the parents of three cubs at Germany’s Zoo Magdeburg.



Photo Credit:  Zoo Magdeburg

The cubs – two females and one male – made their public debut on July 15. More than 15,000 people voted on the zoo’s website to name the cubs! The females are named Aruna and Nela, while the male is named Otto III, after his two older male siblings. 

Zoo Magdeburg partners with the Snow Leopard Trust to protect wild Snow Leopards in northern India’s Spiti Valley. Snow Leopards are Endangered in their native Asian mountain habitat. Fewer than 7,500 of these rare and elusive cats are estimated to live in the wild, where they face intense pressure from illegal hunting and habitat loss.

Help Name Disney's Giraffe Calf

Photo Credit:  Disney's Animal Kingdom

A male Masai Giraffe calf born earlier this month at Disney's Animal Kingdom needs a name!  The park invites everyone to vote through July 31 and help the staff choose a name for the baby, which is the first Masai Giraffe calf born at the park.

Masai Giraffes are unique among the nine subspecies of Giraffe found in Africa.  The dark brown patches on Masai Giraffes’ coats have jagged edges.  About 40,000 Masai Giraffes live in Kenya and Tanzania.  Giraffes are threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as human populations encroach on their native range. 

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund supports conservation programs around the world, including efforts to reintroduce endangered Rothschild’s Giraffes into Kenya. 

A Perfect Little Puffin Chick


Victor and Vixen, a pair of Atlantic Puffins that hatched the National Aquarium’s first Puffin chick in 2006, have done it again: They hatched their fourth chick on July 4.



Photo Credit:  National Aquarium

Puffins co-parent their young and take turns incubating the egg, protecting their nest, and carrying back small fish to keep their chick happily fed.

The Aquarium’s Puffins nest in special enclosures created to mimic the deep burrows typically used by their species on the coastlines of western Europe, Greenland, Iceland, and the northeastern coast of North America. In the wild, Puffin couples have been observed reuniting at the same burrow site year after year.

Since hatching, the chick has been closely watched by staff aviculturists. Keepers report that the baby is steadily gaining weight and appears to be quite healthy.

The baby Puffin will remain in its burrow several weeks before it begins making short exploratory trips into the exhibit.

Puffins are estimated to number in the millions, although hunting and egg harvesting have reduced populations in some parts of their range.  Puffins are a national delicacy in Iceland.

Baby Lemur Makes a Friend at Drusillas Park

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A three-month-old Black Lemur born at the United Kingdom’s Drusillas Park has made an unlikely friend: a Ring-Tailed Lemur named William.

Baby Black Lemur at Drusillas Park

Baby black lemur with mum Clementine at Drusillas Park

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Photo Credit:  Drusillas Park

The baby and his adopted “Uncle William” have a unique relationship, with William being very protective of the little Lemur.  As the baby becomes more independent, he spends less time with his mother and more time playing with William.

Zoo keepers recently confirmed that the baby, born in April, is a male. Now that they know the baby’s gender, keepers will soon give him a name.

The gender of a Black Lemur becomes evident over time due to the strong sexual dimorphism in this species. Males are all black with striking orange eyes, and females are brown with long whitish ear tufts. After weeks of speculation, there is now no doubt that the baby is a boy.

In the wild, Black Lemurs are native to the Island of Madagascar, where they live in the forest regions of the north. Although they are primates, they are not considered monkeys or apes; instead they are prosimians, which means ‘before the monkey’.

The population of Black Lemurs is declining in the wild due to habitat destruction and hunting. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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