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February 2014
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March 2014

Pygmy Slow Loris Baby Is in Good Hands at Paignton Zoo

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Dedicated keepers at Paignton Zoo in England are caring for a rare baby that weighed little more than a CD at birth.

The Pygmy Slow Loris – which weighed just 22 grams when it was born - was one of twins born to a first-time mother. One twin did not survive, and keepers stepped in to save the other when its mother abandoned it.

For the first night Head Mammal Keeper Craig Gilchrist slept in an office at the zoo, feeding the tiny youngster every couple of hours. It was given a milk replacer using a 1 milliliter syringe and a small rubber teat.

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4 slow lorisPhoto credit: Paignton Zoo

Seven mammal keepers now take turns feeding the tiny baby day and night. One takes the incubator home each evening. The baby needs more frequent feeds overnight as Slow Lorises are nocturnal and eat more at night.

Now, at around a month old, it has gone from 22 grams - less than a single AA battery - to over 30 grams – the weight of a dessert spoon. 

Keeper Lewis Rowden said, “You have to take care not to squirt the milk into the lungs – you have to let the baby suckle at its own rate. We are just moving on to feeding some solids now – small amounts of mashed boiled sweet potato.”

See and read more after the fold.

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Otter Pups Are a First for Buffalo Zoo

IMG_1644Two separate litters of North American River Otters were born at the Buffalo Zoo in early March – the first Otters ever born at the zoo.

1503938_10152082093433995_1894135302_nPhoto Credit:  Melissa King

Nine-year-old sisters Daisy and Ellie are first-time mothers.  The father of both litters is a seven-year-old North American River Otter named Rascal, who arrived at the Buffalo Zoo in 2012 from the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY.

Both Daisy and Ellie are proving to be attentive mothers and are behind the scenes in their dens. The pups are still too small to be on exhibit, but zoo officials expect them to be outdoors within a few weeks.

Agile swimmers, North American River Otters are native to rivers and streams throughout the eastern and western United States and Canada.  In the 20th century, River Otters were extirpated from parts of their range due to habitat loss. In other areas, Otters are plentiful enough to allow trapping.   Reintroduction programs have relocated otters and reestablished populations in areas where Otters had been eliminated.

See more photos below.

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Sloth Bear Cub Gets TLC 24/7 at National Zoo

A Sloth Bear cub is alive today because keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo decided to hand-raise the cub rather than leave her with her mother, Khali.  The cub is now active and growing thanks to the round-the-clock care she receives from zoo keepers.

The photos below chronicle the cub’s growth from two weeks old to two-and-a-half months old.


13288359815_cf0b861f6f_oPhoto Credits:  Smithsonsian's National Zoo, Courtney Janney, Connor Mallon

The cub was one of three born to Khali on December 29, 2013, and she is the only cub that survived longer than seven days. Khali ingested the first cub about 20 minutes after she gave birth. It is not uncommon for carnivores, including Sloth Bears, to ingest stillborn cubs, or even live cubs if they or the mother are compromised in some way. Khali, an experienced mom, appeared attentive to her two remaining cubs, and keepers monitored her closely via closed-circuit cams before, during and after the births. However, she ingested a second cub seven days later and spent several hours away from her remaining cub in the early morning hours of January 6, which is not normal for a Sloth Bear with a newborn cub.

Read more and see additional photos below.

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National Aquarium’s Turtle Hatchlings are the First Ever Born in Any Zoo

1596714_10151934440186174_1920856150_oEight Northern Australian Snapping Turtles hatched at the National Aquarium this winter are the first of this species ever hatched in captivity.


Photo Credit:  National Aquarium

The excitement began in September, when the aquarium’s female turtle laid her eggs.  The staff immediately gathered the eggs and placed them in an incubator, where they were closely monitored.  On the morning of February 14, the first hatchling emerged from its egg!  Since then, seven other little turtles have hatched.

Aquarium staff have observed healthy behaviors in all the hatchlings, including swimming and basking in open areas.  The hatchlings will remain behind the scenes until they are large enough to move into exhibits.  At hatching, the turtles weighed less than one ounce (24 g).  As adults, they will weigh more than 11 pounds (5 kg).  

The National Aquarium is the only aquarium in the United States to exhibit this species.

Quick Vet Visit for Zoo Am Meer's Little Polar Bear

Folie2How fast can a veterinary team perform a physical exam on a baby Polar Bear?  At Germany’s Zoo am Meer, it took only four minutes for the staff to examine, vaccinate, determine gender, and weigh a cub and return the baby to her anxious mother.


Folie3Photo Credit:  Zoo Am Meer

The female cub was born on December 16 to first-time mom Valeska, age 9, and father Lloyd, age 13.  Since then, the cub has remained in the den with Valeska, who has proven to be an excellent mother to her cub. 

Zoo staff members describe the cub as playful and energetic.  At her exam, the cub weighed 18 pounds (8.5 kg), and has a lot of growing to do – adult female Polar Bears weigh 400-700 pounds (180-370 kg).  She’ll remain behind the scenes with Valeska until late in April or May.  At that time, she’ll learn how to swim and explore the outdoors.

Polar Bear populations are imperiled by climate change.  Polar Bears require sea ice as a place to stand while searching for passing seals to hunt.  Many Polar Bears are malnourished because their hunting season – which occurs in winter when the sea is filled with ice – becomes shorter every year, preventing them from building fat reserves to survive through the summer, when hunting is not possible.

See more photos of the cub below.

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Denver Zoo Welcomes Rare Clouded Leopard Cubs

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Denver Zoo is celebrating the birth of two Clouded Leopard cubs, born March 14. They are the first births of their species at the zoo. The unnamed cubs, a male and a female, are doing well now after zookeepers began steps to hand-raise them. Their mother, Lisu (LEE-soo), gave birth to the cubs in a private birthing stall inside Toyota Elephant Passage, but did not then tend to them. Zookeepers believe this is because first-time mother Lisu was hand-raised herself and lacks the experience to rear her own cubs. After a few hours, zookeepers moved the cubs to another building and began a protocol to provide food and medicine every three hours for the time being. The cubs will remain behind the scenes until they grow older.

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Leopard 2Photo credit: Denver Zoo

The cubs are not only the first births for Lisu, but her mate, Taji (TAH-jee), as well. Lisu was born at Nashville Zoo in March 2011 and came to Denver Zoo that following November. Taji was born at Tacoma, Washington’s Point Defiance Zoo in June 2011 and also arrived that November. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

Despite their name, Clouded Leopards are not actually a species of leopard. Because they are so unique they are placed in their own genus, Neofelis, which is a combination of Greek and Latin words meaning "new cat." They are considered a 'bridge' between typical big cats, like lions and tigers, and the small cats, like pumas, lynx and ocelots. Their body lengths can range from about two to almost four feet long and they can weigh between 24 and 50 pounds. Their tawny coats with distinctive cloud-shaped dark blotches provide excellent camouflage in their forest habitat, enabling them to stalk prey and also hide from potential predators.

Read more after the fold.

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Tiny Octopi Hatch at Mote Aquarium

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Check out these tiny Ocotopus hatchlings at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Florida!

Octopi reproduction is really quite interesting. Males have a specially adapted arm, called a hectocotylus, which they use to transfer sperm packets called spermatorphores into to a female's mantle cavity. Octopi lead short, solitary lives of one to two years; the pair do not remain together, and males die within a few months of mating.

2 octopus.jpgPhoto credit: Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium

A female can store the sperm in her mantle until she is ready to fertilize and lay her eggs. A female may lay hundreds of thousands of eggs, which she anchors to a hard surface in a protected den.

After eggs are laid, she devotes the rest of her life to caring for them. She will guard the eggs and keep water circulating around them so that the developing offspring receive enough oxygen. The mother stops eating after her eggs are laid, and she will die soon after they hatch. 

Newly-hatched octopi are called larvae, and will develop into hatchlings or fry. The newborn octopi, though tiny, are independant and require no more maternal care. Survival in the ocean is often a matter of luck, and very few of these offpspring will survive to adulthood— which is why so many eggs are laid to begin with. 

First Check-up for Otter Pups at Woodland Park Zoo

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Four new otter pups at Woodland Park Zoo in Washington just received a clean bill of health during their first hands-on wellness exam. The Asian Small-clawed Otter pups—three females and one male—were born to 4-year-old mother Teratai (pronounced tear-a-tie) and 8-year-old father Guntur (pronounced goon-toor) on January 20.

The zoo’s newest additions underwent a thorough neonatal exam to check their ears, eyes, mouths and overall development. Each of the otter pups just barely tipped the scales at 1.2-1.5 pounds (about .5-.7 kg), a healthy size for their 8-week-old frames. Exam results indicate all four pups are growing healthily as expected.

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5 otterPhoto credit: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

See a video of the pups' first swimming lesson:


“Since their birth, the parents and four brothers, born last summer, have all pitched in to build their den nest, provide support and, most recently, teach the pups to swim in a behind-the-scenes pool,” said Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The family has been busy introducing the pups to their new environment, and the pups are adjusting very well.”

See more photos and story after the fold.

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Asian Elephant Calf Joins a Welcoming Family at Twycross Zoo

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In the early hours of the morning on March 4, 18-year-old Noorjahan, one of Twycross Zoo’s four Asian Elephants, gave birth to a healthy female calf after a hefty 22-month long pregnancy! The young calf has yet to receive a name, but is now on view to the public with the rest of the elephant herd. 

Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences, said: "The calf was born at approximately 2:30 a.m. and was up on its feet after a matter of minutes. The infant has bonded very well with mum, who is doing an exceptional job of taking care of her."

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3 elephantPhoto credits: Twycross Zoo / Simon Childs (2); Nikki Williscroft (4)

The young calf will suckle an incredible 2.9 gallons (11 liters) of milk a day from her mother until she is approximately 12 months old, after which she will also begin to take solids such as vegetables, fruit and hay. When she reaches adulthood, just like her mother, she will be munching her way through four bales of hay, several buckets of vegetables and fruit and numerous gallons of water a day to wash it all down!

See and read more after the fold.

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Help Name Binghamton Zoo's Otter Triplets!

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The Binghamton Zoo has announced the birth of three North American River Otter pups, born on March 1!

The pups were born to Elaine and Leroy, the resident otters who have been at the zoo since 2007. The pups weigh in at about .5 pounds each (180-232 g). It is hard to determine their sexes due to their size and age.

A naming contest for the three otter pups will take place until April 3. Submit your ideas here

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3 otter

4 otterPhoto credit: Binghamton Zoo

Female otters give birth, nurse, and care for their young in a den prepared by the mother. They are born with fur, but are otherwise helpless. Elaine has been a wonderful mother and has been taking care of them since birth. When they get older, they will get a swimming lesson from mom.

The last time the pair had a pup was in 2010, when they had their firstborn, Emmett, who is now at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, Colorado.

The three otter pups will stay at the Binghamton Zoo through the summer and into the fall, when at the decision of the North American Species Survival Plan management committee, they will go to other zoos to become the foundation of new breeding pairs.

Learn more after the fold.

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