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June 2014

Precocious Seal Pup Mugs For Cameras at Wroclaw Zoo


On June 10, Wroclaw Zoo welcomed a female South African Fur Seal. This is the first offspring for the zoo's Seal group and keepers are pleased to report that the pups mother is taking great care of her newborn. Mother and child have been behind the scenes to allow the pair space and time to bond. After two weeks, keepers checked the sex of the pup and administered a medical examination. The female pup is healthy and curious about her surroundings, including her keepers.




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Five Golden Jackals Shine at NaturZoo Rheine

Jackal_cFive Golden Jackal pups were born this spring at Germany’s NaturZoo Rheine.  Though not rare in the wild, this species is seldom found in zoos.

Jackal_fPhoto Credit:  NaturZoo Rheine

The Golden Jackal pack at NaturZoo Rheine lives “semi-wild” in an enclosure with Sloth Bears.  The Jackals dig burrows, where they sleep and raise their young.  

Zoo keepers become aware of new pups not by seeing the pups themselves – instead, they see the adult female’s enlarged teats, indicating that she is nursing pups.  The young Jackals remain in the den for several weeks. Then, the first sightings of pups begin to take place.  Until keepers see all of the pups outside at once, it is difficult to tell the size of the litter.  But they now know for sure that they have five pups!

Golden Jackals live in eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.  They travel in family units and adapt readily to changes in the food supply, feeding on anything from rodents, birds, fruits, and fish, to tubers and nuts.  Jackals figure prominently in European and Middle Eastern folklore, where they often play the role of a sly trickster.

See more photos of the Golden Jackal pups below.

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UPDATE: Topeka Zoo's Tiger Cubs Have Mom by the Tail

10421179_654725794603777_3303628675568483363_nTopeka Zoo’s trio of Sumatran Tiger cubs, born on May 4, are becoming more active by the day!  Their favorite toy?  Mom’s tail!


10390577_654725791270444_4953586753070807953_nPhoto Credit:  Topeka Zoo

ZooBorns introduced the cubs in May when they were just over a week old.  The three female cubs soon outgrew their baby scale, and now wrestle and play at every opportunity to hone their survival skills.  Though not yet as fierce as an adult Tiger, the cubs do their best to attack broom handles, rubber boots, and of course, each other, as seen in the videos. 

Mom Jingga continues to be an excellent mother for her cubs.  These female cubs are valuable to the zoo-managed population of this Critically Endangered species.  Fewer than 500 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild in Indonesia. 

See more videos of the cubs below.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Topeka Zoo's Tiger Cubs Have Mom by the Tail" »

From Renewed Life to New Life…

Cub with Caregiver

Less than 1 year ago, Venus made headlines as one of few animals in the world to under-go eye surgery. Cango Wildlife Ranch's treasured 6 year old female Cheetah, Venus, experienced a challenging start to life but nothing prepared keepers for this remarkable turn-around.

The Roman Goddess of love, beauty and fertility shares more than just a name with Cango's spotted Goddess. One who is equally as beautiful and awe-inspiring.

Venus was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts. Vets monitored her for many months but her condition continued to deteriorate and gravely affected her quality of life. After months of tests, planning, preparation and much needed fundraising, vets were able to take Venus to the Cape Animal Eye Hospital for surgery.

Venus During Surgery

Doctor Anthony Goodhead (Cape Town) removed the cataracts and large amount of scar tissue from Venus’ corneas. Due to her particular case, it was determined that new lenses would not resolve her condition; however, by removing all the obstructions it would restore her sight. Multiple tests were done on Venus to better understand the cause of her impairment, specifically with regards to diseases commonly found in Cheetahs. Luckily she tested negative for all. According to experts, it is likely that Venus’ condition was as the result of malnutrition as a cub. Venus’ surgery was a massive success. She is now far-sighted but for the first time in over two years… she can see.

Venus Surgery

Cango Wildlife Ranch keepers' experience of Venus’ pre and post-surgery behavior was a privilege in itself. She transformed from a scared, nervous and fairly aggressive animal to a more confident assured cat who rambunctiously explored her surroundings, as if it is the first time, even though it had been her home for years.

Venus Pre-Surgery

Venus’ recovery has gone exceptionally well. She undoubtedly received a renewed gift-of-life… and now it seems she is paying it forward.

Just the other day, Venus gave birth to four healthy cheetah cubs. She surprised keepers with her amazing maternal skills as a first time mom. Both mom and cubs are healthy and happy!

Pippa and Peyton


Continue reading "From Renewed Life to New Life…" »

Lincoln Children's Zoo Hand-raises Baby Tammar Wallaby


A seven-month-old Tammar Wallaby joey is one of the newest additions to the Lincoln Children's Zoo. Liv the Wallaby joey was found out of her mother's pouch one morning and was immediately rescued by zookeepers. Still being hand-raised, Liv is carried in a make-shift pouch to substitute the body warmth and shelter provided by a Wallaby mother's pouch.

"Lincoln Children's Zoo is one of the only zoos that has hand-raised this specific species of Wallaby in the United States," president & CEO, John Chapo said. "It's a time consuming effort. The zookeeepers were feeding her eight times a day, adjusting the formula to provide the accurate amount of fat content a mother would supply and getting it switched over to solid food."






"Normally Liv would be in her mother's pouch for nine months of her life, but we have experienced her growth and development one-on-one from the beginning," said Taylor Daniels, one of the zookeepers caring for Liv at Lincoln Children's Zoo. "Seeing Liv throughout all stages of her life and getting to know her personality has been incredible."
Wallabies and Kangaroos are Marsupials, but Wallabies are generally much smaller than Kangaroos. Tammar Wallabies are the smallest species of Wallaby. Lincoln Children's Zoo now has six Tammar Wallabies, including Liv, as well as two Bennett's wallabies.
Liv is still too young to join the zoo's other Wallabies, but zoo visitors will be able to see Liv when she begins making appearances on the Animal Encounter Stage in early July. Lincoln Children's Zoo's Animal Encounter Stage features different animals for children to interact with and discover first-hand every day.

Taronga Welcomes Lucky 13th Glider Joey

Glider Joey (14)

The world’s only successful breeding program for Yellow-bellied Gliders at Taronga Zoo has welcomed its 13th joey.

In the last few days, keepers in the Zoo’s nocturnal exhibit, Australian Nightlife, have been able to get a good look at the youngster which a vet check confirmed was a male.

Also known as the Fluffy Glider, the remarkable marsupials can still be found in bushland at the edge of Sydney, such as in the Bouddi National Park.








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Keepers Step in to Hand Rear Little Pudu Fawn

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Scarlet the Pudu fawn at Edinburgh Zoo has been keeping her keepers busy with around the clock bottle feeds.

The newborn Southern Pudu sadly lost her mother at two and a half weeks, but her dedicated keepers stepped in to hand-rear the tiny fawn. Hoofstock keeper,Liah Etemad, said: “Sadly Scarlet lost her mother at a really young age after birth exasperated an underlying untreatable condition. It was touch and go for a while for the fawn as she was being mother reared, but her keeper’s have worked around the clock to nourish and nurture the little fawn and she is doing so well now.

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“Scarlet started on seven to eight bottled feeds of milk each day, getting her first feed early in the morning, throughout the day and then into the early hours. She is steadily gaining weight each day. During the first week after mum died she was cared for solely by her keepers, but then at four weeks she was reintroduced to her dad Normski. We were all delighted how well it went and the two were soon cuddled up together in the evenings and he maintains a watchful eye over her during the day. The fact she and her father have bonded so well means that he is teaching her natural Pudu behaviour."

“It has taken a lot of time and commitment from keepers, and at seven weeks old we are still giving her a small number of bottles during the day, but we could not be happier to see little Scarlet thrive. She has done so well that visitors are able to see her with dad at our Pudu enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.”

Southern Pudus are normally found in southern Chile and south-western Argentina and are actually the world’s smallest deer. When fully grown they stand only at 38cm high and weigh around 9 to 15kg. Adults are reddish to dark brown and fawns have spots until they are a few months old. Females tend to give birth to a single fawn weighing around 1kg, which is weaned at around two months. Pudu are classified as a vulnerable species as their numbers have declined due to their primary rainforest habitat being destroyed and cleared for cattle ranching and other human developments.

You Otter See What's New At The Detroit Zoo

Whisker and Pup -- Jennie Miller

For the second time in two years, the Detroit Zoo is celebrating the birth of North American River Otters. Two male pups – born April 2, 2014, to mother Whisker, 11, and father Lucius, 8 – made their public debut today.

The female River Otter delivers a litter of one to six pups after an eight-week gestation period. At around two months, the young ones get their first swimming lesson when their mother pushes them into the water. Otters are natural swimmers and, with maternal supervision, the pups quickly catch on.

Otter Pup Learning to Swim - Jennie Miller

Whisker and Pups Swimming - Jennie Miller (1)

Otter Pup Exploring Habitat - Jennie MillerPhoto credit: Jenny Miller


“Whisker is an experienced and attentive mother, guiding her pups through many new experiences – the most important of which is to encourage and reassure them as they strengthen their swimming abilities,” said Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals Elizabeth Arbaugh.

The yet-to-be-named pups can be seen showing off their newfound aquatic skills at the Detroit Zoo’s Edward Mardigian Sr. River Otter Habitat. The naturalistic environment features a 5,900-gallon pool with a waterfall and waterslide, and the habitat is designed so that small children can view the otters at eye level as they swim.

The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) can weigh 20-30 pounds, and its slender, cylindrical body can reach 2-3 feet in length. The aquatic mammal sports short, dense, waterproof fur and profuse whiskers. The playful River Otter is swift on land as well as in the water, though its loping trot can look somewhat ungainly compared to its graceful slide through the water.

Once abundant in U.S. and Canadian rivers, lakes and coastal areas, River Otter populations have suffered significant declines as a result of fur trapping, water pollution, habitat destruction, pesticides and other threats. Today, they can be found in parts of Canada, the Northwest, the upper Great Lakes area, New England and Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.

Buffalo Zoo's Endangered Indian Rhino Calf Is a World First

Tashi and baby Monica

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) and the Buffalo Zoo are excited to announce the birth of a female Indian Rhino calf produced by artificial insemination (AI), and born on June 5. This is the first offspring for a male Rhino who never contributed to the genetics of the Indian Rhino population during his lifetime – a major victory for endangered species around the world and a lifetime of work in the making.

Rhino calf Monica,  Lead  Rhino Keeper Joe Hauser, CREW Reproductive Physiologist Dr. Monica Stoops
Rhino calf Monica and Cryo-Bio Bank
Rhino calf Monica
Photo Credit:  Kelly Brown of the Buffalo Zoo

The father, “Jimmy,” died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2004 and was dead for a decade before becoming a father for the very first time.  During those ten years, Jimmy’s sperm was stored at -320°F in CREW’s CryoBioBank™ (the white tank shown in these photos) in Cincinnati, before it was taken to Buffalo, thawed and used in the AI. 

“We are excited to share the news of Tashi's calf with the world as it demonstrates how collaboration and teamwork among the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) organizations are making fundamental contributions to Rhino conservation,” said Dr. Monica Stoops, Reproductive Physiologist at the Cincinnati Zoo’s CREW. “It is deeply heartening to know that the Cincinnati Zoo's beloved male Indian Rhino Jimmy will live on through this calf and we are proud that CREW's CryoBioBank™ continues to contribute to this endangered species’ survival.”

Tashi, the Buffalo Zoo’s 17-year-old female has previously conceived and successfully given birth through natural breeding in both 2004 and 2008.  Unfortunately, her mate passed away and the Buffalo Zoo’s new male Indian Rhino has not yet reached sexual maturity. Because long intervals between pregnancies in female Rhinos can result in long-term infertility, keepers at the Buffalo Zoo knew it was critical to get Tashi pregnant again and reached out to Dr. Stoops for her expertise.   

In February of 2013, Dr. Stoops worked closely with Buffalo Zoo's Rhino keeper Joe Hauser and veterinarian Dr. Kurt Volle to perform a standing sedation AI procedure on Tashi. Scientifically speaking, by producing offspring from non or under-represented individuals, CREW is helping to ensure a genetically healthy captive population of Indian Rhinos exists in the future.  This is a science that could be necessary for thousands of species across the globe as habitat loss, poaching, and population fragmentation (among other reasons) threaten many with extinction.

Read more about the Rhino calf's amazing story below.

Continue reading "Buffalo Zoo's Endangered Indian Rhino Calf Is a World First " »

Rarely-Seen Pygmy Sea Horses Hatch at Steinhart Aquarium

Seahorse-BBC_8134With their tiny tails wrapped around pieces of coral, a group of baby Bargibat’s Pygmy Sea Horses at the Steinhart Aquarium are among the first of this species to be hatched and cared for in an aquarium. 

Photo Credit:  Richard Ross

Less than an inch long, Bargibat’s Pygmy Sea Horses spend their entire adult lives attached to a species of coral known as a sea fan (Murciella paraplectana).  The sea fan is the reason that these fish are rarely found in captivity – the conditions for maintaining the coral in an aquarium are challenging, because it only feeds on plankton.  The color and texture of the adult Pygmy Sea Horses matches those of the sea fan so closely that the Pygmy Sea Horses are nearly impossible to see.  Babies begin life with more drab coloration.

Biologists Richard Ross and Matt Wandell, who care for and study the Pygmy Sea Horses, have observed the adults engaging in a mating ritual that involves rubbing snouts and bumping heads.  The female lays her eggs in the male’s belly sac.  He then fertilizes and incubates the eggs for 14 days.  About 60 to 70 babies result from each breeding cycle.

There are eight known species of Pygmy Sea Horses.  They are found in the Pacific Ocean near Australia, the Phillippines, and nearby islands. 

See more phtos of these aquatic wonders below.

Continue reading "Rarely-Seen Pygmy Sea Horses Hatch at Steinhart Aquarium" »