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March 2014
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April 2014

Keepers Raise Tiny Antelope at Lincoln Park Zoo

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There's a new baby Klipspringer at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago! Klipspingers (Afrikaans for 'rock jumper') are dwarf antelopes so tiny that an adult can fit all four of their hooves on a Canadian dollar coin, approximately 36 mm in diameter.

Born March 30, the female Klipspringer calf is the second offspring of mom Triumph and dad Dash, who were recommended as a breeding pair as a part of the Klipspringer Species Survival Program. The female calf joins her sister Arya, who also resides at the zoo.

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5 klipspringerPhoto credit: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo

See video of the baby Klipspringer:


“The Klipspringer calf is healthy and eating well and, as a result, has almost doubled her weight since birth,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “Currently, the calf is being hand-reared by our animal care staff after the mother was unable to provide adequate care.”

According to Kamhout, there are many factors that go into the decision to hand-rear an animal including medical condition, maternal care and proper habitat. After observation, the zoo’s animal care staff decided hand-rearing the calf was in the best interest of the animal.

“The calf will continue to receive around-the-clock care behind-the-scenes until she is able to fully navigate the vertical elements of her new habitat in Regenstein African Journey,” said Kamhout.

See and read more after the fold.

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Shy Porcupette Gets a Treat at Woodland Park Zoo

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The smallest new arrival at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is a female North American Porcupine, born April 4 in the zoo's Northern Trail exhibit. The baby porcupine, called a porcupette, was born to Molly and Oliver, both three-year-old residents of Northern Trail. This is their second offspring. 

Porcupettes are born with a soft coat of quills that begins to harden within hours of birth. This immediately protects them from predators. Keepers handle the baby carefully, using thick gloves to avoid a handful of quills. She has doubled her weight the past couple of weeks, currently weighing just over 2 pounds. 

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5 porcupettePhoto credits: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

Deanna Ramirez, a collection manager at the zoo, explained that the porcupette has access all day and night to the porcupine exhibit in the Northern Trail but prefers spending most of her time exploring in a den behind the scenes.

“She grooms herself a lot and is experimenting with different solid foods, such as leafeater biscuits and different types of browse (plant materials). I think our visitors will begin seeing her more frequently on exhibit as she becomes more active and curious.” 

Porcupettes become active quickly and, as natural tree dwellers, their climbing instincts take hold within weeks of delivery. Climbing makes foraging easier for the young, and they exercise these skills early in their development as they wean themselves from mom and transition to an herbivorous diet of leaves, twigs and bark. 

Clouded Leopard Cubs Grow Behind the Scenes at Parken Zoo

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Exciting news: five Clouded Leopard cubs have been born at Parken Zoo in Sweden! They recently squeaked their way through their first veterinary checkup, when they were weighed, vaccinated, and examined for health. 

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4 leopardPhoto credit: Parken Zoo

See video of their veterinary exam: 


Clouded Leopards range from the foothills of Nepal through mainland Southeast Asia into China. These solitary cats live in remote areas, making it difficult to monitor their numbers and learn about their behavior. As a result of rapid deforestation and poaching, they are listed as a Threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Parken Zoo participates in the European Endangered Species Programme for Clouded Leopards. The program recommends mate-pairings that will prevent inbreeding and produce healthy offspring, and allows zoos to coordinate in their conservation efforts. 

See more photos after the fold.

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Z is for Zebu at Zoo Basel


A shy Dwarf Zebu calf born on April 14 at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel is becoming more spirited as it grows.

The male calf is the second for the mother, five-year-old Conny.  Zoo officials were especially pleased with the smooth delivery of this calf, because Conny had already delivered one calf by Cesarean section and had miscarried another calf. 


10153242_676010172436726_2468899010021385578_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Basel

Zoo officials say the Dwarf Zebu calf was so shy that he hid behind his mother’s legs most of the time.  But curiosity has gotten the better of the calf, and he has started approaching the other cows, looking for milk. 

When the calf approaches the bull, he is immediately chased away and runs to his mother.  But during his photo session, the calf was not at all shy about checking out the photographer.

Dwarf Zebu are one of more than 700 domestic cattle breeds worldwide.  They have a large hump on their shoulders, a droopy dewlap, and large ears.  Because they are tolerant of hot, humid conditions, Zebu are widely used in tropical countries to pull heavy loads and for their milk and meat.  Zebu originated in Southeast Asia.

Denver's Clouded Leopard Cubs Ready to Meet the Public

Clouded_leopard_cubs_on_exhbit03Two Clouded Leopard cubs born on March 14 are now ready to meet the public at the Denver Zoo.  The male and female cubs, named Pi and Rhu, were not properly cared for by their mother so they are being raised by staff around the clock.

Clouded_leopard_cubs_on_exhbit02Photo Credit:  Denver Zoo

The cubs began their lives in an incubator, but have graduated to a “whelping box.” The large enclosure provides a safe place for the cubs to learn to walk, crawl, wrestle, and play until they have grown enough to have full access to the Clouded Leopard exhibit.

Because they were born on March 14, Pi was named after Pi Day, the date observed to celebrate the mathematical constant, Pi. The date is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Rhu was named after Einstein’s favorite dessert, rhubarb pie.

The cubs are the first births for their mother Lisu and father Taji. 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.

As Lisu was unable to take care of her cubs very early on, the cubs never developed a strong bond with their mother, nor she with them. Because it is important for these cubs to be exposed to adult Clouded Leopards, zoo keepers will move them to the Clouded Leopard building once it is deemed safe to do so. Their parents probably won’t recognize them as their offspring, but the cubs can develop some valuable behavioral information by seeing adult Clouded Leopards interact and vocalize.

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.

Clouded Leopards are well adapted for living in the trees. Their short, flexible legs, large feet and sharp, retractable claws make them adept in the trees. They can descend head first down tree trunks, move along branches while hanging upside down and even hang from branches using only their hind feet, enabling them to drop down and ambush prey on the ground. Their long tails provides balance as they leap from branch to branch. Their arboreal lifestyle also provides protection from larger predators like tigers and leopards.

They are found in Southeast Asia in southern China, parts of Nepal, India, Burma, Sumatra and Borneo and live primarily in tropical and subtropical evergreen forests up to 6500 feet above sea level.

There are no reliable estimates for Clouded Leopard populations in the wild, but their numbers are thought to be in decline and the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies them as “vulnerable.” Clouded Leopards are endangered primarily due to habitat loss due to deforestation for agriculture. They are also hunted for their beautiful pelts and their bones, claws and teeth are used in traditional Asian medicine.

Masai Giraffe Calf Tumbles into the World

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On April 14, Jamala, a 16 year-old Masai Giraffe gave birth to a calf at Safari West in California. The  gangly, six foot (1.8 m) male calf weighs about 120 pounds (54 kg) and has been named Phoenix. He’s gentle, playful and full of spirit! He was born on the eve of the total lunar eclipse, making the birth all the more unique and exciting for the zoo.  

This is the third calf for father, 11-year-old Tufani, and Jamala’s fourth baby. The Masai Giraffe, also known as the Maasai Giraffe or Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal. They are typically the darkest of the subspecies.

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Photo credit: Safari West

A leg first emerged at approximately 9am. His head was visible at 9:30am. Typical of giraffes, his life started with a six foot plunge. He was born at 10am and stood at 10:30am. The calf nursed soon after standing. MaThe baby will soon be out with the other giraffes, playing together and chasing the cranes or just having fun like giraffes do. This makes the twenty-seventh baby giraffe born at Safari West and the third Masai Giraffe baby.

There are only one hundred Masai Giraffes in North America in just 20 different locations, as recorded by According to the International Species Information system. According to the Giraffe Conservation Organization, Masai Giraffes may be the most populous of the sub-species with an estimated fewer than 40,000 remaining in the wild, though recent reports of significant poaching would suggest it likely to be significantly less. 

See and read more after the fold. 

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Meerkat Pups Appear at Brevard Zoo

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The Meerkat mob at Florida's Brevard Zoo is growing! The alpha male and female, Jasper and Kiki, have a new litter of pups, born about a month ago. But they've stayed mostly underground so far, and zoo officials aren't sure how many pups there are yet. The first sighting occured on April 14, when one little pup ventured outside the burrow only to be pulled back inside by mom. Since then, there have been some sporadic sightings. 

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5 meerkatPhoto credit: Brevard Zoo 

Keepers suspected that Kiki was pregnant when the new Meerkat exhibit opened on March 15, and had their suspicions confirmed a few weeks later when she appeared aboveground, suddenly looking a lot smaller. The babies have not yet been rounded up for a health check, but so far, everybody who's been sighted seems normal. 

Otters Pups Get First Checkup at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

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Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo has welcomed four North American River Otter pups, born on February 15. The babies had their first exam by the zoo's veterinarian on April 17, revealing the sex and general health of the otters.

The pups are two females and two males. The females weighed in at 3.1 pounds (1/4 kg) and 2.29 pounds (1.04 kg) while the males weighed in at 3.06 pounds (1.4 kg) and 3.4 pounds (1.5 kg) Dr. Hochman, who has been a vet at the zoo for 43 years, checked their overall wellness, listened to their hearts, and gave them their first vaccination. The pups also had identification transponders inserted. (This is standard operating procedure and does not cause the animals any discomfort.)

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5 otterPhoto credit: Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

"At nearly nine weeks old, the pups have yet to venture out in public," explains Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. "They opened their eyes for the first time about two weeks ago and are just starting to explore the world around them. We expect that any day now, their mom will be coaxing them out to teach them to swim. If all goes well, these little ones will be swimming like pros within a week."

Mom, named Necedah, arrived at the only zoo in 2012 from the Minnesota Zoo and Dad, Rizzo, arrived in 2004 from the St. Louis Zoo. She is two years old and he is 11 years old. This is Necedah's first litter and Rizzo's fifth. Currently, Rizzo, Necedah, and their pups are the only otters in residence at the Zoo. The four pups are expected to be on exhibit at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo through the fall, at which time some or all may be transferred to other Association of Zoos and Aquarium's member institutions for breeding.

See and read more after the fold.

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Three Little Lemurs at Woburn Safari Park

Koko 1Two Ring-tailed Lemurs at the United Kingdom’s Woburn Safari Park gave birth to three babies in March!

Both Koko, who delivered a single baby, and Krinidy, who gave birth to twins, are first-time mothers.  All three babies are fathered by male Lemur Berenti.  Until the babies are about two months old, they’ll cling tightly to their mothers.  They’ll then begin climbing and leaping with abandon, as all little Lemurs do.  At that time, keepers will observe the babies and determine their genders.

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Kirindy (poking baby in eye!)
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BothPhoto Credit: Woburn Safari Park

The Ring-tailed Lemurs live in a walk-through enclosure at Woburn Safari Park, so visitors should be able to get close-up views of the babies.  The Lemurs often sun themselves on the paths, spreading their arms and legs to soak up the warmth on cool mornings.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are primates, native only to the island of Madagascar.  Due to habitat loss, these and other Lemurs are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Ring-tailed Lemurs inhabit forests and scrublands, where they travel in large groups of up to 30 individuals.  They are one of the most vocal of all primates, emitting clicks, moans, and wails.  They purr when content.

Rare Peccary Born at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Peccarry 1_sm_logoWith only 3,000 Chacoan Peccaries remaining in the wild, each birth is important.  That’s why Fresno Chaffee Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a Chacoan Peccary on March 28.

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Peccary4Photo Credit:  Fresno Chaffee Zoo

The baby’s gender and weight won’t be known until the staff performs a wellness check in a few weeks. 

Also known as Taguas, Chacoan Peccaries are native only to the Gran Chaco of South America – an arid region covering parts of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina.  At one time, Chacoan Peccaries were thought to be extinct, but a small population was discovered in 1971.

Chacoan Paccaries are well-adapted for life in the dry desert, where they feed on mainly on cacti.  To remove the spines from the plants, Peccaries use their snouts to rub pieces of cacti on the ground.  They may also pull spines from the cacti with their teeth.  Their digestive system is able to break down the tough, acidic cactus plants.

As roads are built, the Gran Chaco is no longer isolated and Peccary herds are decreasing.  As their habitat is fragmented, these unique creatures are becoming more and more rare.  Chacoan Peccaries are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.