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July 2013

Baby Reindeer Enjoys the Sunshine at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Deer side

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the birth of a female Reindeer, the first born to parents Tundra (mother) and Klondike (father). They welcomed the calf in the early morning hours on May 4. The newborn was immediately given the name Derby by her keepers, in honor of her birth on Derby Day (the running of the Kentucky Derby). She weighed approximately 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg) -- the largest Reindeer calf to be born at the zoo to date. Derby currently weighs 55 pounds (25 kg) and has recently been enjoying forays out in the sunny yard with the herd.

Although called by different names in North America, wild Caribou and domestic Reindeer are considered to be the same species throughout the world. They are native to the Arctic and Subarctic regions, living in the tundra and taiga, and boreal forests of North America and northern Eurasia.

Deer lawn

Deer herd

Photo Credit: Amelia Beamish / Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Reindeer migrate over great distances throughout the year, moving between calving and wintering grounds. Their migratory patterns shift according to the season and help minimize overgrazing and ensure ample food supply for the herd. Unlike others of the Deer family, both male and female Reindeer grow antlers. The antlers have a distinctive “velvet” appearance, comprised of skin, blood vessels, and soft brown fur. Each year, antlers are shed: bulls lose their antlers after the rut and females lose theirs after giving birth in the spring.

Read more after the fold:

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First Okapi Born in 25 Years in France at the Beauval Zoo


The Beauval Zoo in France was thrilled to welcome Mbuti, the first Okapi born in France since 1988. Mbuti was born on June 27th to mother Kamina. Both are thriving, and Mbuti has since taken her first steps.


Okapi are a unique mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in Central Africa. Though the animal bears stripes resembling those of a Zebra, it is far more closely related to the Giraffe. The species was unknown to the western world until the 20th century. Though the species is not Endangered, it remains Threatened due to habitat loss and poaching.


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Seal Pup Birth Long Awaited at Zoo Osnabrück


In the early morning hours of July 4, Germany's Zoo Osnabrück welcomed the first Seal pup to be born there in five years. The little one with the coal- black eyes is already swimming with the others, but still likes to cuddle extensively with its mom, Bee. The sex has not yet been determined, so the baby has no name yet. 

"We are very pleased that the birth went so well. The baby is very attentive and swims very well," said head staff member Kirsten Bischoff. The 14-year-old mother has gotten through her third birth well. This was the first baby for six-year-old father Max, but Bee has not let him get close to the new baby. As soon as Bee sees Max, she protectively nudges the baby away.

Seal w mom

Seal kiss

Seal swim

Photo Credit: Photo 1,3: Zoo Osnabrück, Photos 2, 4: Cindy Schrooten 

Keepers have left the two in peace thus far to bond so they don't have a weight yet, but they estimate the pup is between 22-26 pounds (10-12 kg), about one tenth of Mom's body weight. Seals nurse their young mostly on land, so Bee brings her baby on shore to feed. The pup will suckle for the first month or so before the mother's milk is supplemented with fish.

UPDATE: Misha Makes Her Debut at the Denver Zoo

Misha 004

Misha the Snow Leopard, born on May 13, made her public debut this week at the Denver Zoo.

For the last two months, Misha and her mother Natasha have been bonding behind the scenes.  The curious cub is learning to climb, jump, and pounce under the watchful eye of her mother. As the only cub in her litter, Misha has been getting all the milk she wants and has gained nearly four pounds since her birth, now tipping the scales at about five pounds. As a full grown adult, she could weigh around 75 pounds. 

Misha 009

Natasha and her mate Himal were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Although this is Himal’s first cub, Natasha is an experienced mother, having given birth to cubs in 2005, 2007, and 2008. 

Snow Leopards are native to mountainous areas above the tree line in central Asia and in the Himalayan regions of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.  Snow Leopards are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and their numbers are decreasing. Major threats to their survival include poaching for their fur, bones and other body parts, loss of habitat, and decreasing availability of prey animals. Currently, their wild population is estimated at between 2,000 and 7,000 individuals.

Adorable Times Two at the Kansas City Zoo

KCZoo Red Panda Cubs

Two Red Panda cubs were born on June 26 at the Kansas City Zoo. The two male cubs weighed four ounces each just one day after birth. At their two-week checkup, they had more than doubled in size!

Dad Fagan and mom Gaila are keeping their cubs close for warmth and feeding. Youngsters generally stay in the nest for about 90 days. The zoo’s Red Pandas live in an air-conditioned indoor exhibit in the summer, then move outdoors to enjoy the cool winter weather. As Himalayan natives, Red Pandas can tolerate very cold temperatures. Zoo guests can see the male twins on a TV monitor at the exhibit.

Two-year-old Gaila came to Kansas City from the National Zoo at age one. It was recommended by the Red Panda Species Survival Plan that Gaila breed with 13-year-old Fagan. Fagan has been at the Kansas City Zoo for 12 years and fathered one cub in 2006. Cubs are extremely important to the captive population of Red Pandas, because there are only 116 currently in captivity in the United States.

A Dozen Fluffy Flamingo Chicks for SeaWorld San Diego


Twelve Caribbean Flamingo chicks have hatched at SeaWorld San Diego in the past three weeks!  The chicks are being hand-raised by aviculturists in SeaWorld’s Avian Center.



Photo Credit:  SeaWorld San Diego

Flamingos lay a single egg on a muddy mound, and both parents care for the chick for up to six years, when the young reach maturity.  Though adult Flamingos are pink, the chicks have downy white feathers.  The birds’ pink coloration comes from pigments in the aquatic organisms that they eat. 

Caribbean Flamingos are also known as American Flamingos.  They are native to some Caribbean Islands, coastal Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia, as well as the Galapagos Islands.

Two Giraffes Born in One Week at Zoo Praha

Male by Tomas Adamec (1)

Two Rothschild’s Giraffe calves were born in a single week at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Praha.  Nora delivered a male calf on June 30, and Elizabeth gave birth to a female calf, named Amelia, on July 7.  The two are the 77th and 78th giraffes born at Zoo Praha.  Both calves were sired by bull Giraffe Johan.

Male by Tomas Adamec (2)

Male by Tomas Adamec (3)

Female by Martin PEkarek, Flash (3)
Photo Credits: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo (male calf 1, 2, 3); Martin Pekarak, Flash (female calf 4, 5, 6, 7)

Nora is a calm and experienced mother and is taking excellent care of her energetic calf.  Zoo keepers describe the calf as extremely confident.

Little Amelia is the seventh calf for Elizabeth.  According to zoo keepers, the birth went quickly and Elizabeth immediately began cleaning her baby and tried to help her stand.  They say that Amelia is calm and curious like her mother.

Rothschild’s Giraffes are one of the most endangered of the nine Giraffe subspecies, with only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wilds of Kenya and Uganda. 

See more photos below the fold.

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Help Name Dublin Zoo's Brazilian Tapir Calf

1 tapir

Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a Brazilian Tapir! The male calf, born on July 1 to mom Rio and dad Marmaduke, is the breeding pair’s second calf. He has an older brother, Marmaduke Junior or "MJ", who was born at Dublin Zoo in June 2012. Dublin Zoo is inviting people to suggest names for the male Tapir calf based on his Brazilian origin. You can submit your suggestions through the zoo's Facebook page

“We are delighted with the birth of the Tapir calf," says team leader Eddie O’Brien. "He is already getting on really well with his older brother MJ, who is very protective of him. The calf was up and about quickly after he was born; he is already more adventurous than his older brother was at his age!”

2 tapir

3 tapir

4 tapir
Photo Credits: Dublin Zoo

See and read more after the fold!

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Flamingo Chicks Named After US Presidents at Lion Country Safari

Flam hero

Lion Country Safari in Florida welcomed three new baby Flamingo chicks that hatched on July 1, 2, and 4. Since safari staff flew up to Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo to pick up the eggs, and the hatchings occurred on and just before Independence Day, keepers are naming them all after United States Presidents. So far they have named hatchlings Washington, Lincoln, and Truman. 

Flamingo chicks grow quickly, their long spindly legs shooting up so fast that it's a trick to strengthen them enough to hold up the birds' gray fuzzy bodies. So parents (or keepers, if they are being hand-raised) take them for daily walks and swims to become strong. It is quite a sight to see a group of little Flamingo chicks on a walk, flapping their little wings and wobbling to and fro. These birds are strong though rare swimmers and powerful fliers, even though they're most often seen just wading. 

Flam CU

Flam 1

Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari

A chick's bill is small and straight, but will develop the distinct "break" curve after a few months. Flamingo chicks are born gray or white and take up to three years to reach their mature pink, orange, or red plumage; the color is caused by carotenoid pigments in their food, and a flamingo's diet includes shrimp, plankton, algae, and crustaceans.  

Say hello to one of the wobbly hatchlings, seen in the video below:

Tiny Giant Panda Cub Born at Taipei Zoo

 1 panda

Taipei Zoo's Giant Panda Yuan Yuan gave birth to a little cub on July 6. The newborn is female, measuring six inches (15 cm) in length. She weighs 183.4 grams, about one 1000th of her mother's weight. The little cub had her first health examination soon after she was born. She is healthy and being hand-raised in a nursery incubator, using milk collected from her mother as well as artificial milk. At about three days old, the cub's umbilical cord fell off, leaving her with a tiny belly button (see the third photo)!

Yuan Yuan, a first time mother, has received dedicated postnatal care and has regained her appetite four days after the birth. She receives comforting massages, has a hot water bottle, and now eats bamboo leaves with some honey water. 

2 panda

3 panda

Taipei panda 2
Photo credits: Taipei Zoo

See a video of the birth here:


Watch the newborn being bottle-fed here:


First-time mom, Yuan Yuan, gets some loving postnatal care:


See photos from the newborn cub's first medical checkup after the fold!

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