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July 2013

Canadian Lynx Triplets Get a Checkup at Zoo Brno


A litter of Canadian Lynx triplets born in May at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Brno had a health checkup last week.  The three kittens – one male and two female – were proclaimed healthy by the zoo staff.



Photo Credit:  Zoo Brno

Zoo staff gave the trio their vaccinations and implanted an identifying microchip in each youngster.  Catching the elusive kittens was a challenge, because they are so active!

Canadian Lynx live in forested areas across all of Canada and Alaska.  Their large furry feet act like snowshoes to help them travel through deep drifts.  They feed primarily on Snowshoe Hares.  Though they are legally trapped for their fur, Canadian Lynx are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Canadian Lynx are listed as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because they have been extirpated in many parts of their original Rocky Mountain range.

See more photos of the triplets' exam below the fold.

Continue reading "Canadian Lynx Triplets Get a Checkup at Zoo Brno" »

Meet Leo and Lisa, Sao Paulo's Leopard Geckos


Two little Leopard Geckos, named Leonardo and Mona Lisa, hatched on May 10 at São Paulo Zoo in Brazil. They are very healthy and lively, according to the zoo’s staff.



Photo Credits:  Carlos Nader (1,2,4); Cybele Lisboa (3)

Leonardo and Mona Lisa were born after 89 days of incubation, weighing only about 0.1 ounce (3 g) each. Leopard Geckos are solitary animals, thus their parents were together only during mating season. Females can lay up to 10 eggs per season, always in pairs, with an interval of about 15 days between each laying.  Incubation time varies with temperature, and lasts from 36 to 107 days.

The hatchlings are already showing different preferences for their meals: Leo prefers mealworms and Lisa prefers crickets. The biologists weigh the lizards every week, and in the first month, they gained about .03 ounce (1g).  As adults, Leopard Geckos weigh 1.7 ounces (50 g).

Leopard Geckos inhabit the deserts of Asia. As adults, they have "fat" tails that are used to store energy, because food is scarce in their environment. A Gecko can detach its tail at will, and the tail will twitch for a long time to deceive predators as the Gecko runs away from danger. Although they would prefer to keep the tail and energy supply, this mechanism will most likely save the Gecko's life, and it will eventually regrow a new tail.

See more photos of Leo and Lisa below the fold.

Continue reading "Meet Leo and Lisa, Sao Paulo's Leopard Geckos" »

Fort Worth Zoo Celebrates Asian Elephant Birth

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Fort Worth Zoo announced the birth of a 330-pound, 38-inch tall female Asian Elephant calf on July 7.  This calf is only the second Elephant ever born at the zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Fort Worth Zoo

Rasha, the zoo’s 40-year-old Asian Elephant, gave birth to the baby, her second, after a 22-month gestation. Rasha was carefully monitored throughout her entire pregnancy. As part of her prenatal care, she received weekly blood tests to monitor progesterone levels, regular physical examinations, and sonograms. The calf’s father is Groucho, a 43-year-old bull who is currently on loan to the Denver Zoo.

Both mother and calf are in great condition at this time. The initial bonding between an Elephant calf and its mother is vital to a successful rearing.   

The public is invited to help name the calf through July 25 on the zoo’s website.

Listed as endangered since 1976, the Asian Elephant is threatened by drastic habitat alteration and the poaching of male Elephants for their ivory tusks. Because birth rates are low in the wild and in zoos, the birth of this calf is important to the future of the species.

Hippo Birth Goes Swimmingly at Zoo Basel

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On July 17, a Hippopotamus was born at Zoo Basel in Switzerland. The little one was born in the ditch of the outdoor enclosure, and mother Helvetia, 22 years old, immediately nudged it towards the bank with her nose, where it was able to rest. It has not yet been given a name, as it is still unclear whether the baby is male or female.

At the beginning of the day on Wednesday, the animal keeper suspected that the time for the birth was near. Helvetia was restless, but still headed to the outdoor enclosure to feed. Shortly after 9 a.m., a tiny head suddenly emerged from the water. The father, 23-year-old Wilhelm, made constant attempts to take a peek at the little one, but Helvetia was having none of it: if he came too close, she would shoo him away with an unambiguous clip round the head. Experience has shown that this will abate over time, and in a few weeks, visitors will be able to see the whole family bathing together.

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Photo credits: Zoo Basel

The little one has to dive underwater in order to drink from its mother, resurfacing every 30 seconds to take a breath. The baby weighs between 65 and 110 pounds (30 and 50 kilograms) and is currently feeding solely on its mother’s milk, and will only begin to eat solid food in a few weeks’ time. As is common for the vast animals that are Hippopotamuses, the pregnancy was scarcely visible. However, shortly before the birth the mother’s udders began to swell, and Helvetia and Wilhelm started to keep their distance from each other. The little one is Wilhelm and Helvetia’s tenth child. Older brother Habari, now three-years-old, has been living in Pont-Scorff, France, since June 2012.

Rockhopper Penguin Chick Hatches at Shedd Aquarium


As if to say, "Hello world!" the newest Rockhopper Penguin hatchling waved its tiny wings for the camera at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. Hatched just about a month ago, the chick is thriving and growing quickly, as penguins tend to do, before guests' eyes each day: Gaining weight, eating, and building relationships with its feathery neighbors on exhibit in the Polar Play Zone. The open nesting location there allows guests the rare opportunity to watch and learn about the chick as it develops and grows.

Visitors also have the unique chance to see the mother and father care for the hatchling, sharing parenting responsibilities in equal shifts. The experienced parental Penguin pair is feeding the bird well, according to Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of animal care and training for Shedd, but there are more key milestones ahead. The chick will learn to eat on its own before acquiring waterproof plumage and diving into its swimming skills for the first time.

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Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Keepers observe and weigh the bird daily. Born at 75 grams, the chick gains approximately 40 grams per day and is now at a healthy weight of 1,019 grams. The gender of the chick has yet to be determined. It is difficult to identify gender in Penguins without genetic testing, as there is no observable difference in male and female anatomy. Watch as the Penguin chick interacts with its trainer below:

Twins Are a Handful for Zoo Atlanta's Giant Panda Mom


Zoo Atlanta's Lun Lun, a 15-year-old Giant Panda, gave birth to twins on July 15. The cubs are the first Giant Pandas to be born in the U.S. in 2013 as well as the first twins to be born in the U.S. since 1987.

Lun Lun is an experienced and capable mother, but she has never before given birth to twins, which are not unusual in her species. Zoo staff are caring for one of the cubs in the nursery unit in the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Center, while Lun Lun is currently caring for the other cub. Assisting Zoo Atlanta staff is an animal care colleague from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where mom Lun Lun and father Yang Yang were born. Zoo Staff may rotate the cubs’ time with the mother, to ensure that both receive an equal share of maternal care without overexerting Lun Lun. You might be able to sneak a peek of Lun Lun with a cub through Zoo Atlanta's live Panda Cam.   



Photo credits: Zoo Atlanta

Watch a video of the twins' birth: 
Take a look inside the incubator:


In the wild, Giant Panda mothers typically care for only one cub when twins are born. Thus, it is normal in the wild for only one of the twins to survive. Giant Panda twins have survived in zoos within and outside of China. Usually this is accomplished by rotating the cubs with the mother for the first few months. However, Giant Pandas are born very tiny, and there is a high risk of mortality in the first few months. This risk increases in twins, which tend to have lower birth weights than do single cubs.

Learn more after the fold!

Continue reading "Twins Are a Handful for Zoo Atlanta's Giant Panda Mom" »

Dublin Zoo Celebrates the Birth of Two White Crowned Mangabeys

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There's a lot of excitement at the Dublin Zoo's primate department. Two White Crowned Mangabeys were born just two weeks apart, one male and one female.  On April 5, expectant mother Malull gave birth to a male who the keepers named Jomoro, after the western region of Ghana, home to a majority of the world’s population of this rare species. Ten days later, mother Mangabey Monifa gave birth to a female who the keepers named Awiane, the capital of the Jomoro district. The half brother and sister were both sired by the dominant male Danzo.

White Crowned Mangabeys are Endangered in the wild and their numbers are rapidly declining. Dublin Zoo is one of twelve zoos in Europe participating in a breeding program and has a very successful breeding record.

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Mom and baby 1

Photo Credit: Dublin Zoo

Helen Clarke-Bennet, team leader of the African Plains exhibit says, “We’re delighted with the arrival of two Mangabeys, which brings the Dublin Zoo troop of these elegant monkeys up to eight. Jomoro and Awiane are thriving and get on very well as brother and sister. It’s a joy to watch them being playful together.

The new arrivals can be seen out and about with their family in the African Plains today.

See more pictures after the fold:

Continue reading "Dublin Zoo Celebrates the Birth of Two White Crowned Mangabeys" »

Giraffe Calf Stands Tall at Knuthenborg Park


In the late hours of June 27th, Knuthenborg Park in Denmark welcomed a new female Giraffe calf, named Damisi. Damisi was born to mother Dora and father Timon, who also have a second two-year-old calf.


Damisi's birth was no small feat. During 5 long hours of calving, park staff worried that Dora would need assistance in birthing Damisi. The keepers try not to interfere with births whenever possible. Luckily, Dora pulled through and was able to deliver the calf naturally. 


Since Giraffes spend 14 months in the womb, newborns are often around 6 feet tall. Though this may seem large for most species (especially humans!), calves are still about a third the size of adults.




Photo credit: Knuthenborg Park

UPDATE! Lion Cub Sisters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Get Their Names

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Florida's Busch Gardens Tampa recently welcomed three Lion cubs to the park, one male and two females (who are unrelated to the male), as previously covered HERE on ZooBorns. They can be identified by their size -- the two smaller cubs are the sisters, while the slightly larger cub is the male. After a week-long poll, 6,000 Busch Gardens Tampa Facebook fans voted to name the two Lion cub sisters. The winning picks for the three-month-old cubs are Shaba, meaning “brazen”, and Shtuko, meaning “twitch”.

Visitors can now see the antics of these three adorable Lion cubs at the zoo's Edge of Africa exhibit at various times throughout the day and week. All three cubs are very playful and love to run, chase, and stalk each other, as can be seen in the video at the bottom of this page. But after all that playtime, they are just as good at taking a cat nap!

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Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Check out this great video of the cubs at play:

One-Pound Pudu Fawn Born at Queens Zoo

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A rare Southern Pudu, the world’s smallest species of deer, was born at the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Queens Zoo in New York.  The young doe weighed one pound at her birth on July 8th, and could weigh as much as 20 pounds as an adult. The fawn is still nursing but will soon transition to fresh leaves, grain, kale, carrots, and hay.

Pudu are extraordinary creatures. Although small in stature, only 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder, Pudu are excellent jumpers, sprinters, and climbers. What the Pudu lacks in size, it makes up in strategy: when chased, Pudu run in a zigzag pattern to escape predation. They will bark when they sense danger and can climb fallen trees. 

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS

Southern Pudu are native to Chile and Argentina, and are designated Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Using research and conservation practices, WCS is working in the Pudu’s range countries to grapple with habitat loss and other threats to wildlife. Visit WCS's website if you're interested in making a donation to help save wildlife and wild places.