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November 2013

Don't Wake Little Santos, The Ocelot Kitten!

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The nursery in Cincinnati Zoo's Children's Zoo has a brand new addition! Santos, the baby Ocelot, was born November 2 at the Abilene Zoo in Texas. He'll become a part of the Cincinnati Zoo's Cheetah Encounter Show in the summer of 2014.

Ocelots are native to much of South America and Mexico. They are expert hunters, and are fiercely territorial. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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Tiger Cubs Pass Their Swim Test at Smithsonian's National Zoo

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Two Sumatran Tiger cubs took a brisk doggy paddle at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on November 6 and passed their swim reliability test. The male and female cubs, named Bandar and Sukacita (SOO-kah-CHEE-tah), were born at the zoo on August 5. All cubs born at the zoo's Great Cats exhibit must undergo the swim reliability test to prove that they will be safe on exhibit. Bandar and Sukacita were able to keep their heads above water, navigate to the shallow end of the moat and climb onto dry land. Now that they have passed this critical step, the cubs are ready to explore the habitat with their mother, 4-year-old Damai.

“Tigers are one of the few species of cats that enjoy taking a dip in water,” said Craig Saffoe, curator of great cats. “The moat exists for the safety of our visitors, but it could present an obstacle for young cats. Our job is to make sure that if the cubs venture into the moat, they know how and where to get out. These cubs represent hope for their critically endangered species’ future, so we need to take every precaution to ensure their survival.”

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Click here to see video. 

Both cubs took the test under the guard of animal keepers Dell Guglielmo and Marie Magnuson, who gently guided the cubs in the right direction. The shallow end of the moat is approximately 2 ½ feet (.75 m) deep. The side of the moat closest to the public viewing area is about 9 feet deep and is an essential safety barrier that effectively keeps the cats inside their enclosure.

This is the first litter of Tiger cubs born at the zoo since 2006, and the first litter for mom Damai. The cubs were sired by the zoo’s 12-year-old male Tiger, Kavi. Friends of the National Zoo hosted an opportunity to name one of the zoo’s Tiger cubs on the website Charity Buzz. On November 1, the winning bidder elected to name the female cub Sukacita, which means “joy” in Indonesian. The $25,000 donation supports ongoing research and education outreach at the Great Cats exhibit. Keepers selected the male cub’s name, Bandar, in honor of Bandar Lampung—a southern port city in Sumatra.

Starting Monday November 18, keepers will decide on a day-to-day basis whether Sukacita and Bandar will spend time in the yard and for how long they will be out. This decision will be based on weather and how the cubs adjust to being outdoors.

See more photos after the fold!

Continue reading "Tiger Cubs Pass Their Swim Test at Smithsonian's National Zoo" »


When Pigs Fly! Endangered Peccaries Born at San Francisco Zoo

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A litter of six Chacoan Peccary pups was born at San Francisco Zoo in early November. They are busy playing and exploring their outdoor habitat, in the company of the zoo's adult herd. The little ones love to leap and run in circles, an adorable behavior sometimes referred to as 'frisky hopping'. 

Chacoan Peccaries are an endangered species of New World pig, found in the dry shrub habitats of Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. They are threatened by loss of habitat and illegal hunting. Social animals, they live together in territorial groups, often extended families. They eat plants, including cacti, which they roll along the ground with their snouts to remove the thorns. 

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8 peccaryPhoto credits above the fold: Sandi Wong

See a video of the playful pups:

See more photos below the fold!

Continue reading "When Pigs Fly! Endangered Peccaries Born at San Francisco Zoo" »


Pygmy Hippo Calf Learns to Swim at Edinburgh Zoo

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Congratulations to Ellen and Otto, the latest Pygmy Hippo parents at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland! The calf, a healthy female, was born on October 27.  

The calf has been named Adana by her keepers, which is a West African name meaning ‘her father’s daughter’. For now, the little one is keeping warm indoors with mom. Although she is still a little shy, Adana has just started to venture into the indoor pool.

Lorna Hughes, team leader for primates and hoofstock at Edinburgh Zoo, says, “A very maternal animal, Ellen has proven herself to be a fantastic parent to her offspring. Baby Adana is just over a week old now and is feeding well from mum. Growing in confidence every day, Adana has ventured into the water under the watchful eye of mum. Even though Pygmy Hippos are incredible swimmers, it’s a little known fact the Hippo calves need to be taught how to swim by their mothers."

Native to West Africa, Pygmy Hippos are an Endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, likely with fewer than 3,000 left in the wild. Populations are declining rapidly due to habitat destruction caused by logging, farming and human settlement. Pressures from wars in the Hippos’ native range are another dire threat. Sadly, Pygmy Hippos are also increasingly being threatened by bushmeat hunters. Edinburgh Zoo has successfully been part of the European Breeding Program for this species for many years, with 18 offspring successfully reared at the zoo since the 1970s.

Ellen was born at Edinburgh Zoo in 2005, named after yachtswoman Ellen McArthur, and this is her third female youngster born to dad Otto. Leishan was born in 2009 and Eve on New Year’s Eve in 2011. 

Visitors can see baby Adana in the indoor Hippo house with Ellen, while Otto and big sister Eve are in their outdoor enclosure during the day.


Przewalski's Foal Takes First Steps at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

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A new Przewalski's foal was born at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in England, helping to preserve a species that was once extinct in the wild. The male foal was born on October 26 and is the first to be born at Port Lympne in almost a decade.

Due to hunting and competition with livestock for water and pasture, Przewalski’s horses became extinct from Mongolia, their last refuge in the wild, in the 1970s. Through a cooperative captive-breeding program, the species has been bred in captivity and protected. After successful reintroductions to the wild, Przewalski’s Horses were listed by the ICUN as Critically Endangered, before being revised in 2011 to Endangered. The birth of a new foal at Port Lympne is therefore another vital step in continuing to protect this rare species. 

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5 horsePhoto credits: Dave Rolfe / Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

Bob Savill, head of hoofstock at the park, comments, “It is great to have a new Przewalski’s foal as we have previously repatriated Przewalski’s Horses via China and Mongolia, which we’re hoping to start up again soon.  He is doing remarkably well considering the weather!”

Przewalski’s Horses are adapted for survival in marginal habitats, particularly dry grassland, and they can survive on fibrous vegetation that has a low nutritional value. They are also extremely hardy, as they are adapted to withstand winter temperatures that are as low as 40 degrees below freezing. As Przewalski’s Horses have never been tamed for riding, they are the last truly wild horse in existence today.

Visitors can catch a glimpse of the new foal at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park as they ride on the 'African Experience' safari trucks. 


Big Cats Come Out to Play at Central Park Zoo

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Exciting news: two healthy Snow Leopard cubs, an endangered species, were born at Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Central Park Zoo in New York City over the summer. The two cubs, a male and a female, made their debut on November 4. These are the first Snow Leopard cubs ever born at Central Park Zoo and the second Snow Leopard birth at a WCS zoo this year. 

Both cubs weigh about 30 pounds (13.6 kg) but are expected to reach between 65-120 pounds (30-55 kg). When visitors will be able to see the yet-unnamed cubs will vary daily until the cats fully acclimate to their new habitat. They are are busy getting used to the new surroundings, sights and smells. (They certainly do look happy about new rock-climbing opportunities!)

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The litter is the result of the successful pairing of Zoe, the mother (7), with Askai (6), a male sent to the Central Park Zoo from the Bronx Zoo. Both adults are first-time parents. The Central Park and Bronx Zoo Snow Leopards are a part of the Species Survival Plan – a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) designed to enhance the genetic diversity and demographic stability of animal populations in AZA-accredited zoos.

Snow Leopards are among the world’s most endangered big cats with an estimated 3,500-6,500 remaining in the wild. Their range is limited to remote mountains of Central Asia and parts of China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Bhutan. WCS has worked for decades on Snow Leopard conservation programs in the field with current projects in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and western China. 


DIY Cuttlefish Incubator at Monterey Bay Aquarium

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Originally posted on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Blog, we provide this intro to their story about an amazing improvised Cuttlefish incubation system:

How do you incubate Cuttlefish eggs behind the scenes in preparation for [Monterey Bay Aquarium's] forthcoming “Tentacles” special exhibition? You could, at a cost of hundreds of dollars, buy commercial incubators. But that would be too easy. Plus, Aquarist Bret Grasse figured he could create something just as good as the store-bought jobs.

For $2.50 and “a day in the life of one volunteer,” he makes a better bubbler out of soda bottles, plastic tubing and silicone glue. It looks like mad science, but it works. To date, he’s produced hundreds of baby cuttlefish for exhibit using the system.

Read even more about this clever approach on Monterey Bay Aquarium's blog and DEFINITELY check out the Tentacles exhibit when it opens April 12, 2014!

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Panda Kisses for Zoo Madrid's Little Cub

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Hua Zui Ba the Giant Panda is a superstar at Zoo Madrid:  She is providing exceptional care to the cub she delivered on August 30.

The newborn male cub cried loudly as Hua Zui Ba took him onto her lap within seconds of the birth. As the emotional veterinary team looked on, Hua Zui Ba licked and protected her tiny pink cub.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Madrid

Now, the cub is ready to take over the limelight.  He is growing rapidly and already weighs eight pounds (3.6 kg), which is more than most Panda cubs weigh at this age. 

The Zoo Madrid staff is following Chinese custom by giving the cub a name when he turns 100 days old.  All are invited to vote for their favorite name here.

Giant Pandas are Endangered and are found in small forest reserves within eastern central China.  International efforts, both in zoos and in the wild, have improved breeding success rates within the species, but habitat loss and poaching still threaten the survival of these beloved creatures.

See photos of the Panda cub as a newborn below the fold.

Continue reading "Panda Kisses for Zoo Madrid's Little Cub" »


Rusty-spotted Cats: Not Your Average Kitties

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With big golden eyes and striped fur, this Rusty-spotted Cat looks like your average house cat.  But there's nothing average about Jaipur and Rashna, two female Rusty-spotted Cats who were born at France's Parc des Félins on April 24.

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Photo Credit:  Emmanuel Keller

Rusty-spotted Cats are among the smallest of all felines.  Weighing only two to three pounds (1-1.5 kg), these petite cats are found only in the forests of India and Sri Lanka.  Hunting at night for rodents, birds, and lizards, Rusty-spotted Cats snooze in thick vegetation or hollow logs all day.

Due to loss of habitat as forests are cleared for agriculture, Rusty-spotted Cat populations are in decline.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as Vulnerable.  They are sometimes kept as pets.

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ZooBorns' 2nd all ages book, "ZooBorns CATS!" (Hardcover, 160 pages), features a Rusty-spotted Cat from France's Parc des Félins, just like today's feature! Pick it up on amazon and have it in time for the holidays! 

Order now: http://amzn.to/PChYpR

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More Fennec Foxes For Your Friday?

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We figured no one would complain if we shared additional photos of Chattanooga Zoo's Fennec Fox kits, so here goes! Here is the pair when they were a bit younger, and getting into all kinds of mischief!

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Did you know that the Fennec Fox is ZooBorns' unofficial mascot? The Fennec Fox graces the cover of our original all ages book, ZooBorns (below). Take a tour of the book on Amazon and get it in time for the holidays. With interesting animal facts and background stories on the featured babies, ZooBorns (Hardcover, 160 pages) illustrates the connections between zoo births and conservation initiatives in the wild. 10% of revenue from ZooBorns' book sales goes directly to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Conservation Endowment Fund.

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Get it now on Amazon!