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August 2014

World's Rarest Lemurs Born at Bristol Zoo

10649865_10152342182161872_823240378907969850_nBristol Zoo Gardens in the United Kingdom is pleased to announce that Alaotran Gentle Lemurs Mr. and Mrs. Grey are now proud parents to a set of twins.  Gentle Lemurs are the most Critically Endangered species of Lemur in the world.

10548316_10152342182166872_2497806362175922485_oPhoto Credit: Bob Picthford

Born in mid-July, the six-week-old babies weigh just 5 ounces (150g).  Keepers report that the twins are doing very well and are already confident climbers and jumpers.

Mr. and Mrs. Grey were first introduced to each other in the winter of 2012 at Bristol Zoo and have been inseparable ever since.  The twins are their first offspring.

Lynsey Bugg, Assistant Curator of Mammals, said, “It was love at first sight for these two young Lemurs and we could not be happier with the new arrival of their little ones. Mrs. Grey is a new mum and is doing a fantastic job with her new-borns. Mr. Grey is an attentive parent and particularly protective over his family.”

The new family is extremely important to the survival of this species, because only about 5,000 remain in the wild in Madagascar.  Because Gentle Lemurs live in only one small area on the island, they are particularly susceptible to the risks caused by habitat loss and hunting. 

Bristol Zoo has been part of the breeding program for Alaotran Gentle Lemurs since 1990. 

Meet Enrique & Carlos the Squirrel Monkeys

10606485_783463211716572_8102452732487517742_nBorn in May only a week apart at the Taronga Zoo, Squirrel Monkeys Carlos and Enrique are starting to develop their own personalities and are becoming more independent every day. 

10580235_783463201716573_8046956776605471170_nPhoto Credit: Lisa Ridley

According to keepers, Enrique has more confidence than Carlos.  This adventurous little Monkey spends more and more time away from his mother, Ayaca, and spends less time riding on the backs of other females in the troop.

Enrique can often be heard vocalizing to others when he is high up in the trees.  Carlos, on the other hand, still chooses to ride around on his mother Llosa's back or be carried by the other females.

Just recently, keepers have been seeing the two little Monkeys playing together.  Though they are starting to nibble on cucumbers, grapes, and leaves, both youngsters still nurse from their mothers, and will continue to do so for several more months.

Squirrel Monkeys are native to Central and South America, where they spend their days in the forest canopy in troops as large as 500 individuals. 

Girl Power at Reid Park Zoo

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Reid Park Zoo, in Tucson, Arizona, had a special birth announcement last week. The zoo’s first baby African Elephant was born August 20th

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Semba's calf_RPZ_9Photo Credits: Reid Park Zoo


The female calf was delivered at 10:55pm on August 20, 2014 to mother, Semba, and father, Mabu. Although tiny in comparison to her parents, the yet-to-be-named calf weighed in at 245 pounds.

The new African Elephant calf is a first for Reid Park Zoo, but mother, Semba, has two older sons who were born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Seven-year-old, Punga, and three-year-old, Sundzu, arrived at Reid Park with the rest of their herd in 2012. 

Mother, Semba, had been preparing for the birth of the new calf by gradually pushing away her youngest son, Sundzu, to feed on his own and encouraging his independent play.  As the matriarch in the zoo’s exhibit, Semba has also continued to strengthen bonds with the rest of the herd through play and interaction. Her positive involvement with the herd has ensured support from Lungile, the other mature female, and strengthens the support system she will need for her new baby.

African Elephants are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.  This is a step-up from almost 20 years ago, when the species was still considered endangered. The support provided by accredited zoos and wildlife refuges, and the conservation measures involving habitat management and law protection, have helped provide for the future survival of the African Elephant.

**Special thanks to ZooBorns reader, Liz Davis, for providing links and info about the new baby!

See more photos of the new baby below the fold.

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Cold Blooded Baby Boom in the UK


Cotswold Wildlife Park, in the UK, is experiencing a summer baby boom of the cold blooded variety.  The Reptile Section is awash with new births, including some of the smallest newborns in the entire collection. These include: four Mangrove Snakes (bred for the first time at the Park), six Blood Pythons, three Crested Geckos, four Asian Giant Forest Scorpions and a multitude of Lyretail and Checkerboard Cichlids.

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Lyretail Cichlids with fry 2 DR CWPPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, “The Keepers at the Park are delighted with the boom in births and hatchlings in the Reptile House.  It is a real achievement to breed some of these species and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Reptile Department in species that do not always get the same attention as the cute and cuddly!”

Three Crested Gecko babies were hatched on July 10th. Geckos are one of the most diverse groups of lizards on Earth and are an incredible example of animal engineering. The ribbed flesh on their toes enables them to scale vertical surfaces, even polished glass! Engineers with the US Department of Defense’s research project, DARPA, have been looking into creating ‘bio-inspired’ gloves for soldiers based on the Gecko’s ribbed toes.

The new breeding pair of Mangrove Snakes has successfully produced young for the first time. Two yellow and black striped snakes hatched in June. These reptiles are brilliantly camouflaged in the brightly sunlit, leafy mangrove habitat, making them masters of disguise in the wild. The Park’s Blood Pythons also produced six young.

An unexpected birth came from a new species to the collection, the Asian Giant Forest Scorpion. Keepers were pleasantly surprised when the female produced young just weeks after arriving at the Park. The young are born one by one after hatching and expelling the embryonic membrane. The brood is carried on the mother’s back until the young have undergone at least one molt.

Meanwhile, the Insect and Invertebrate House has seen multiple fish births of two species of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. The Park’s Lyretail and Checkerboard Cichlids have recently produced young. These fish are secretive shelter spawners, and their fry are smaller than a grain of rice.

See more photos below the fold.

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Mountain Lion Foundling Finds a Home

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An orphaned Mountain Lion cub has a new home at ZooAmerica in Hersey, Pennsylvania! 

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Cougar cub_ZooAmerica_9Photo Credits: ZooAmerica

A homeowner, near Spokane, WA, found the 3-week-old dehydrated and malnourished cub on their front porch and contacted authorities. State Fish and Wildlife officers responded and immediately searched the area for the cub’s mother. When the mother wasn’t located, the cub was taken to wildlife rehabilitators at Mt.Spokane Veterinary Hospital.

Because of the cub’s age, he will need intervention by humans to ensure his survival.  According to Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, Madonna Luers, “You just don’t rehabilitate an apex predator that’s become fixed on people, and release it back into the wild. The odds that it would eventually have contact with people or pets are too high.”

Arrangements were made to find an AZA accredited facility that could provide care for the Mountain Lion cub after his veterinary stay. ZooAmerica is now proud to have their new occupant and are providing the additional care and attention he needs to continue his development. The, yet-to-be-named, male cub is doing phenomenally well, but he will remain off exhibit for a while longer.

Mountain Lions (also known as Cougars, Panthers, or Pumas) are native to the Americas, with a range extending from the Canadian Yukon to the Andes of South America. They are classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, the species is provided a level of protection through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  According to CITES, under Appendix I, it is illegal to engage in international trade of Mountain Lion specimens or parts.

See more photos of the cub below the fold.

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Malayan Tiger Cubs Bonding with Mom at Tulsa Zoo

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The Tulsa Zoo is celebrating the birth of three endangered Malayan Tiger cubs. The cubs were born at the Tulsa Zoo on Aug. 8 to mom, Jin, and dad, Gahara. This is the second successful birth for the tiger pair.

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Malayan tiger cub_Tulsa_2Photo Credits: Photo 1, Ali Kalenak; Photo 2 & 3, Tulsa Zoo; Photo 4, Dr. Jen Kilburn

While the three cubs are doing well, unfortunately, one of their siblings did not survive long after it was born. This is not uncommon in a large litter of cubs. Staff continues to observe Jin and the cubs through closed circuit cameras, which allows staff to monitor them at all times without disturbance.

Jin has been a very attentive mother to the cubs, which are continuing to thrive. The new family will remain in an off-exhibit area as they continue to bond. Eventually, when the cubs are strong enough, they will be allowed to explore within the safe confines of the zoo’s current tiger exhibit. The Tulsa Zoo will soon break ground on a new tiger exhibit, which will feature an immersive, naturalistic habitat for the tigers, allowing guests to see these endangered animals up-close.

In 2008, the IUCN Red List classified the Malayan Tiger as “Endangered”. Native to the Malay Peninsula, there are fewer than 500 Malayan Tigers left in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss. Once considered to be part of the Indochinese Tiger subspecies, the Malayan Tiger was recognized, in 2004, as a new tiger subspecies when genetic analysis found that they were distinct from the Indochinese Tiger.

The Malayan Tiger cubs’ birth, at the Tulsa Zoo, was in conjunction with the Species Survival Plan(SSP), which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos across the nation.

Brilliant Red Panda Duo at Chester Zoo

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Keepers at Chester Zoo, in the UK, were happily surprised by the arrival of two new Red Panda cubs!

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Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_4Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins (Photo 4: Mother "Nima"; Photo 5: Father "Jung")

The cubs recently had their first health check-up, and are doing very well. The Red Panda twins, a boy and a girl, were born on June 27 to first-time mother, Nima, and dad, Jung.  Keepers were alerted to their arrival after hearing “little squeaks” from inside their nesting box. Keeper Maxine Bradley said, “Our two cubs are in very good shape. They’re big and strong with very thick fur. Our male weighed in at just under 1kg (2.2 lbs) and our female 842g (1.9 lbs). We’re really pleased with how well they’re doing, and as soon as we had given them a health check, we popped them back into their nest. It’ll be several weeks until they start to emerge and explore.”

Red Pandas, whose scientific name Ailurus fulgens means ‘brilliant cat’, are native to the steep forested slopes of the Himalayas. They are a one-of-a-kind in the animal kingdom as they have no close living relatives. According to the IUCN Red List, they are classified as “Vulnerable”. There are estimated to be less than 10,000 individuals in the wild, with a projected decline of 10% within the next 30 years.

Not only has Chester Zoo been successful at breeding Red Pandas, but the zoo also plays an important role in helping safeguard the future of this rare species in its Chinese homeland. The zoo supports the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project in the Sichuan Mountains of China, where Red Pandas are found in the wild. The future survival of the species is increasingly vulnerable as developers are taking over the bamboo forests which they depend on to live. Bamboo is the main food in their daily diet. They're also hunted for their prized red fur, which in parts of the world is used to make hats for newly-weds. Some indigenous people believe the fur symbolizes a happy marriage.

Chester Zoo is a registered conservation charity that supports projects around the world and in the UK. Through its wildlife conservation campaign, Act for Wildlife, the zoo is helping to save highly threatened species around the world from extinction. 

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Two Penguins Are Better Than One at Tennessee Aquarium

Baby Gentoo 1 Weigh InWhat’s better than a new baby Penguin at the Tennessee Aquarium? Two new baby Penguins! Two Gentoo Penguin chicks - born to two separate Penguin pairs – are just over a month old and already showing their plucky Penguin personalities.

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Bug and Big T with Gentoo Chick 2
Loribeth Aldrich with two Gentoos 2014Photo Credit:  Tennessee Aquarium

The oldest of the two chicks “is already testing boundaries,” says Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. The little Penguin is already investigating everything with its beak and continually knocking over mom and dad’s food bowl. The chick already makes a hissing sound, similar to the warning hiss of a goose, which is typically heard in adult Penguins. 

The second chick seems happiest in the nest, snuggled up behind mom and dad. However, during checkups and weigh-ins, this cuddly-looking chick shows its feisty side.

With three Penguin chicks and the possibility of more on the way, Curator of Forests Dave Collins explains that the foundation of the Aquarium’s Penguin breeding program was laid in 2007. “A strong husbandry program is key in making sure every bird’s needs are met,” said Collins. “Proper diet, a strict cleaning schedule and outstanding veterinary support are very important – especially during nesting season. These factors contribute to the best conditions possible for the colony, which are needed to encourage bonding, strong mating pairs and healthy chicks.”

The chicks are in temporary “playpens” for a few weeks, but can still be seen in the exhibit. “It won’t be safe for them to get in the water until they have grown their swim feathers,” explains Aldrich.

Gentoo Penguins are native to the coastlines of Antarctica and islands in the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos below.

Continue reading "Two Penguins Are Better Than One at Tennessee Aquarium" »

Visitors Witness Giraffe Birth at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

IMG_6808Visitors taking an early morning tour at Australia's Taronga Western Plains Zoo on August 3 got an unexpected bonus when they witnessed the birth of a baby Giraffe!

Giraffe calf with mum licking face by MT
Giraffe calf-LS-06-08-2014 (35)_cropPhoto Credit:  Taronga Western Plains Zoo 

Keepers named the male calf Nkosi (pronounced N-koh-see), meaning “ruler” or “chief” in Zulu.

Nkosi is the second calf for mother Ntombi, who is very protective of her calf but is showing all the right maternal behaviours.

“The Giraffe calf is on exhibit with the rest of the herd; however, he is still a little shy, spending most of the day at the back of the exhibit,” said Giraffe Keeper Kevin Milton

“Over the coming weeks, he will start to become more confident and explore the rest of the exhibit.”

Africa's Giraffe populations have decreased an estimated 30% in the last 10 years, with an approximately 80,000 Giraffes remaining in the wild. The dramatic decrease is directly due to poaching for bush meat and habitat encroachment by farmers.

“Every birth for a species such as the Giraffe that are seeing a decline in wild populations is important, as it helps to insure against extinction.”

The Taronga Zoo participates in programs such as Beads for Wildlife, which provides communities in Kenya alternate sources of income, thus reducing their dependence on livestock. 

“Less livestock means less pressure on water and food for wildlife such as the Giraffe,” said Milton. 

See more photos of the Giraffe calf below.

Continue reading "Visitors Witness Giraffe Birth at Taronga Western Plains Zoo" »

Tree Kangaroo Joey Ready to Rocket from Mother’s Pouch

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A Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo joey is now peeking out of its mom’s pouch at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Emerson Children’s Zoo!

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TreeKangaroo_St Louis_4Photo Credits: Robin Winkelman


On February 1, the little male, named Rocket, was born the size of a lima bean. He immediately moved into his mother’s pouch to be nurtured and has since grown to be the size of a small cat.

Visitors who are patient may see Rocket climbing all the way out of the pouch, reaching for his mom’s food and beginning to explore his world. At about 10 months old, he will officially move out of the pouch, but will continue to nurse until he is at least 16 months old.

This is the fifth offspring for mother, Kasbeth, and father, Iri. The new baby is the fifth Tree Kangaroo ever to be born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Kasbeth and Iri were paired under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and AquariumsSpecies Survival Plan for Tree Kangaroos.

Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo is a small marsupial found only in the thick, mountainous forests of Papua New Guinea, an island just south of the equator, north of Australia. A relative of terrestrial kangaroos, the reddish-brown and cream colored Tree Kangaroo also retains the legendary ability to jump. The Tree Kangaroo can leap as far as 30 feet from a tree to the ground.

The Tree ‘Roo’ is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Numbers in the wild have declined significantly. Twenty years ago, the species was only classified as “Vulnerable”. Today, not only is their habitat facing destruction because of logging and exploration for minerals and oil, but the animals are also hunted by local people. 

Watch another video of the joey below the fold.

Continue reading "Tree Kangaroo Joey Ready to Rocket from Mother’s Pouch" »