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September 2013

Baby Giraffe Gets a Super-Sized Smooch at Zoo Budapest

Sempala the Rothschild’s Giraffe calf has been getting plenty of super-sized kisses from her mother since she was born on August 13 at the Budapest Zoo.  The spindly female calf is already a fan favorite and seems to have a penchant for making funny faces for the camera!

Photo Credit:  Budapest Zoo

Zoo keepers chose a Ugandan name for Sempala because Rothschild’s Giraffes are found in that African country, as well as in Kenya.  Rothschild’s giraffes are among the rarest of the nine Giraffe subspecies roaming Africa.  Only about 700 remain in the wild.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of Sempala below the fold.

Continue reading "Baby Giraffe Gets a Super-Sized Smooch at Zoo Budapest" »

San Diego Zoo's Pacific Pocket Mouse Nibbles on a Leafy Snack

PacificPM9-4-13webPhoto Credit, Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Global

A Pacific Pocket Mouse at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park enjoyed a late-night snack in the zoo's off-exhibit breeding facilities. The mouse is part of the first-ever breeding program of the critically endangered species. The program has yielded five litters of pups since June. Pacific Pocket Mice are nocturnal animals. True to the name, these mice are pocket sized—they weigh less than 9 grams. Aside from the occasional lettuce, they eat seeds and have been known to eat insects. Interestingly, these rodents don't drink water. Instead, they are hydrated from the vegetation they eat. The breeding program is managed by the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services. Scientists are working to increase the overall population and to maintain genetic diversity within the native-Californian species.

Cheetah Cubs Bond with Black Lab Puppy at Dallas Zoo

2 cheetah

Dallas Zoo recently welcomed two new adorable ambassadors: Cheetah cubs Winspear and Kamau. The 8-week-old male cubs were born July 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. A team of Dallas Zoo experts spent nearly two weeks in Virginia before flying back to Dallas with the cubs. Winspear, the larger of the two, now weighs more than 8 pounds, while Kamau is over 6 pounds.

The cubs also have a new companion who’ll be raised alongside them: an 8-week-old Black Labrador puppy named Amani. Zoological experts have found that because dogs are naturally comfortable in public settings, Amani will provide a calming influence for the cubs, as well as another playmate as they grow to adulthood. Amani means 'peace' in the Swahili language of East Africa, where cheetahs still exist in the wild. The cats are endangered, however, with their numbers estimated to have fallen to about 10,000.

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Photo credits: Dallas Zoo

Watch a video of the playful cubs:


“It is a thrill to be able to tell the story about cheetah conservation and to educate Dallas Zoo guests about this magnificent species,” says Sean Green, vice president of guest experiences for the Dallas Zoo. “Winspear and Kamau will become important animal ambassadors for the Dallas Zoo, building appreciation and awareness about cheetahs to more than 900,000 visitors each year.”The cubs are smoke-colored, with black spots and unique “tear stripes” below their eyes already evident. As they grow, they will acquire the golden color of adult cheetahs. When full grown, the cheetahs will stand about 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 140 pounds.The cubs will not reside with the Zoo’s two adult brother-and-sister cheetahs, Bonde and Kilima, in the Giants of the Savanna cheetah habitat. Instead, guests soon will have the opportunity to meet them in person at the Wild Encounters stage. In addition, the cubs occasionally will travel to select outreach events outside the zoo. Only 15 zoos in North America incorporate cheetahs into their outreach programs.

Says Greene, “Our African-themed exhibits, such as the Giants of the Savanna, are some of the most popular areas of the Dallas Zoo. These magnificent animals will help us tell the story about these habitats and the conservation work we support.” 

A Great Year for Seahorses at Allwetterzoo Münster

Seahorse 1

Allwetterzoo Münster has had a very successful crop of Long-snouted Seahorses this summer. About 400 juveniles have been born since May—from just eight parental pairs! Due to the breeding success, the aquarium is almost out of space behind-the-scenes. But not to worry: the seahorses will find homes at other zoos and aquaria, once they're old enough. The little ones will grow to be about 9 inches (23 cm) in length as adults.

Seahorses are unusual among fish because mate pairs stay together for a whole breeding season, and sometimes even for life.  The male and the female each keep a small territory, and the female visits her mate in his territory every day for a 'daily greeting' that strengthens their bond. Even more unexpected, it is the male who incubates and gives birth to the young. The female uses a long tube called an ovipositor to lay her eggs in the brood pouch of her partner. He incubates them for about three weeks—the female stills comes to visit every day—and when they are ready, he releases the hatchlings into the water. The hatchlings are independent as soon as they are born, but sometimes they may cling to their father for a while for safety. This Atlantic species is typically found along the European coast, from the UK through the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

Seahorse 2

Seahorse 3

Seahorse 4Photo credits: Allwetterzoo Münster

The mini-seahorses are fed twice daily with tiny brine shrimp and copepods. During feeding times the aquarium pumps must be turned off, because it would suck in the tiny food. Once the young animals eaten enough, the pumps are turned back on, providing the necessary oxygen supply and flushing the tanks clean. Raising the all those seahorse fry is time consuming, but District Director Anke Gassner and her team are proud of the breeding success.

First Snow Leopard in Over a Decade at Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo is closing out a purr-fect summer with a major announcement. The first Snow Leopard birth in more than a decade occured at the Memphis Zoo on July 19, helping a highly endangered animal make a comeback.

The cub, a male, was born to parents "Ateri" and "Darhan." Ateri, a first-time mother, is nursing the cub behind the scenes. The public will be invited to vote on their favorite of seven pre-chosen names.



"Ateri is a great mother," says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. "This was her first cub, and everything is going smoothly."

On September 3, Memphis Zoo veterinarians performed the first neonatal exam on the cub. He was declared to be in excellent health, and mother and baby are doing fine.

Continue reading "First Snow Leopard in Over a Decade at Memphis Zoo" »

Lincoln Park Zoo Celebrates Birth of Endangered Eastern Black Rhino

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60 pounds, 30 inches (27 kg, 76 cm): Not your average measurements for a newborn.  But when you’re dealing with a baby Eastern Black Rhino, it’s fair to expect things to be a bit outsized. The 'little' rhino, a boy, was born August 26 at Lincoln Park Zoo in Illinois. He’s the first offspring for 8-year-old mom Kapuki and 27-year-old dad Maku and the first rhinoceros born at the zoo since 1989. Right now he’s growing behind the scenes, where animal care staff are keeping a close watch as the baby bonds with mom.

“Mother and baby are both doing wonderfully,” says Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The calf divides his time between nursing, following mom around, and napping, and that is exactly what a baby rhino should be doing.”

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Photo credits: Lincoln Park Zoo

Watch a video of mother and calf:


The new arrival is a welcome addition for a species that’s facing a conservation crisis in the wild. Black Rhinos are critically endangered and were nearly driven to extinction in the 1990s. Their wild population is currently estimated at 5,055 individuals. Although these creatures are protected, they are still killed illegally for their horns, which are used in folk medicines. 

Rhinos are naturally solitary—and territorial—animals, coming together only for brief intervals to breed. Introductions need to be carefully timed to the female's estrus so that she will be receptive to the male’s approach. The pairing of Kapuki with Maku was recommended by the Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding and management strategy overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“This birth is cause for great celebration here at Lincoln Park Zoo and has been much anticipated,” says Kamhout. “The gestational period for rhinos is 15-16 months, and they have incredibly small windows for conception. Together with the zoo’s endocrinologists, we worked to pinpoint the exact window for Kapuki and Maku to get together for breeding. The whole zoo family is delighted at this successful outcome.”

So, how exactly do you pinpoint the right time? See and read more after the fold!

Continue reading "Lincoln Park Zoo Celebrates Birth of Endangered Eastern Black Rhino" »

Nashville Zoo’s Giant Anteater Collection Continues To Grow

Anteater Pup - Amiee Stubbs

Nashville Zoo is happy to announce the birth of a male Giant Anteater on July 17. For the Zoo, the newest addition is the fourth pup born in the past 10 months. Both mother and baby are doing well and living together in the off-exhibit Giant Anteater barn.

“We now have 15 Giant Anteaters at Nashville Zoo which is the largest collection in North America,” says Rick Schwartz, Zoo President. “While they are not currently on public display, we do hope to change than in the future. In the meantime, we will continue to learn more about this little known and threatened species both in captivity and in the wild.”

Anteater Pup w Mother - Amiee Stubbs

Photo credits: Amiee Stubbs

Giant Anteaters are solitary animals from the tropical forests of Central and South America. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Giant Anteater as vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting. Giant Anteaters are considered extinct in areas of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Uruguay.

Zoo Vienna Welcomes A Playful Porcupette

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Only a few weeks old and already thousands of quills! On August 4, Zoo Vienna welcomed a baby North American Porcupine. The porcupette is a female and weighed in at just about 1.3 pounds (600 g) at her first medical checkup. The gestation period for porcupines is relatively long, around seven months, so the juveniles are already well-developed at birth. They come into the world with eyes open and can run immediately. At just a few days old, the porcupette had started to practice climbing. Now at one month old, she still drinks milk but also nibbles on carrots, apples, beetroots, and branches. She will be weaned at one and a half months old. 

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Photo credits: Zoo Vienna

Although North American and European Porcupines might look very similar, they are actually not very closely related. North American Porcupines are the second largest New World rodent, after the North American Beaver. Commonly found from Alaska to Mexico, they are excellent albeit slow climbers and spend most of their lives in trees. These herbivores are crepuscular, meaning that they are mainly active at dawn and dusk.  A single North America Porcupine may have up to 30,000 barbed quills for self-defense. At birth, the quills of a porcupette are short and soft, but they harden after a few days.

Panther Chameleons Make a Colorful Family at South Carolina Aquarium

©South Carolina Aquarium Panther Chameleon Babies (2 of 50) Raul

The South Carolina Aquarium welcomed four Panther Chameleons, born last month. The four babies have been named Raul (pictured above, born August 9), Nico (born August 16), Ronald (born August 18), and Clarence (born August 19). These lizards are native to the biologically diverse Island of Madagascar. Like many chameleons, Panther Chameleons can change colors depending on the temperature, mood, and light. Males are generally more colorful than females. Their tongues are extremely long, often many times longer than their body.

©South Carolina Aquarium Panther Chameleon Babies (49 of 50) Clarence
©South Carolina Aquarium Panther Chameleon Babies (14 of 50) Nico
©South Carolina Aquarium Panther Chameleon Babies (32 of 50)Ronald
©South Carolina Aquarium Pather Chameleon Baby Raul (11 of 86) Raul
Raul. Photo Credits: South Carolina Aquarium 

Curious Lynx Kittens Show Their Climbing Cred at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s three curious, climbing Lynx kittens have been spotted exploring their public exhibit. Born on May 8, 2013, the two males and one female have been in an off-exhibit outdoor habitat until they were big enough to maneuver the larger public exhibit space. The zoo invites guests to view the growing kittens and their parents – mother, Magina (mah-jee’-nah), and father, Kajika (kah-jee’-kah).

The three Lynx kittens are the first Canada Lynx born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Often mistaken for Bobcats, Lynx are classified by Colorado Parks and Wildlife as federally threatened and a Colorado state special concern. The zoo’s Lynx were paired together following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. The birth of the three Lynx is truly exciting. Yet, the story of the parents living together is extremely rare and unique.





In the wild, Canada Lynx live as solitary cats. They don’t live in pairs, don’t hunt together, nor do they raise their young in family groups. In fact, other than breeding, males and females typically want nothing to do with each other and males want even less to do with their kittens. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo strives to mimic wild-living arrangements in a captive setting, but in the case of Cheyenne's Canada Lynx, they didn’t appear to want to live like their wild counterparts.

Continue reading "Curious Lynx Kittens Show Their Climbing Cred at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo" »