Allwetter Zoo

Rare Litter of Cheetahs Born at Allwetterzoo Münster

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Allwetterzoo Münster’s resident Cheetah, Namoja, gave birth to a remarkable litter of seven cubs on April 28. Affectionately known by zoo staff as “The Magnificent Seven” and the “Seven Dwarfs”, Namoja’s large litter is somewhat rare. Cheetahs typically give birth to three to five cubs. 

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4_11536513_10155689525985263_3091912715508834970_oPhoto Credits: Allwetterzoo Münster

This is the second litter for Namoja and her mate, Jabari. Their first group of offspring was a litter of five male cubs, and all of the boys are now at home in other zoos, throughout Europe, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).  Since the 1970s, Alwetterzoo has welcomed forty Cheetah births.

The Cheetah is a large member of the family Felidae and is native to Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. Aside from its distinctive coat pattern, the Cheetah is well known for its athletic prowess. It can run faster than any other land animal and has been clocked at speeds of 68 to 75 mph (110 to 120 km/h). The Cheetah also has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in three seconds.

Female Cheetahs reach sexual maturity in twenty to twenty-four months. Males reach maturity at around twelve months, but they do not usually mate until at least three years old. Females are not monogamous and are known to have cubs with many different mates.

Litters, of up to nine cubs, result after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days, although the average litter size is four. Cubs are born with a downy underlying fur on their necks, called a mantle, extending to mid-back. The mantle gives them a mane or Mohawk-type appearance, but this fur is shed as the Cheetah matures.

Females are solitary, except when raising cubs, and tend to avoid each other, though some mother/daughter pairs have been known to remain together for small periods of time. When cubs reach about 18 months of age, the mother leaves them, and they form a sibling group that will stay together for another six months. At about two years, the female siblings leave the group, and the young males remain together for life. Life span, in the wild, is up to twelve years, and they have lived up to twenty years, in captivity.

The Cheetah is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They face various threats, in the wild, including: loss of habitat and prey, conflict with humans, illegal pet trade, competition with/predation by other carnivores, and a gene pool with low variability.

More pics, below the fold!

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Allwetter Zoo Celebrates Giraffe Arrival

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Keepers at Allwetter Zoo, in Germany, are excited to share the birth of a Giraffe calf!  The boy was born to eight-year-old mother ‘Makena’ on December 29th.

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10934129_10155074005070263_8190822369149622274_oPhoto Credits: Allwetter Zoo

After a gestation period of about 15 months, the male arrived weighing 45 kg (99 lbs.) and measuring 1.70 m (5 ½ feet) tall. This is the third calf for mother, Makena. Although he stays close to his mother, the new calf has had difficulty nursing and requires bottle feeds from zoo staff.

Zoo staff are optimistic that he will continue to grow and progress. He now happily explores his enclosure with his mother and is stronger every day.

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A Great Year for Seahorses at Allwetterzoo Münster

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Allwetterzoo Münster has had a very successful crop of Long-snouted Seahorses this summer. About 400 juveniles have been born since May—from just eight parental pairs! Due to the breeding success, the aquarium is almost out of space behind-the-scenes. But not to worry: the seahorses will find homes at other zoos and aquaria, once they're old enough. The little ones will grow to be about 9 inches (23 cm) in length as adults.

Seahorses are unusual among fish because mate pairs stay together for a whole breeding season, and sometimes even for life.  The male and the female each keep a small territory, and the female visits her mate in his territory every day for a 'daily greeting' that strengthens their bond. Even more unexpected, it is the male who incubates and gives birth to the young. The female uses a long tube called an ovipositor to lay her eggs in the brood pouch of her partner. He incubates them for about three weeks—the female stills comes to visit every day—and when they are ready, he releases the hatchlings into the water. The hatchlings are independent as soon as they are born, but sometimes they may cling to their father for a while for safety. This Atlantic species is typically found along the European coast, from the UK through the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

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Seahorse 4Photo credits: Allwetterzoo Münster

The mini-seahorses are fed twice daily with tiny brine shrimp and copepods. During feeding times the aquarium pumps must be turned off, because it would suck in the tiny food. Once the young animals eaten enough, the pumps are turned back on, providing the necessary oxygen supply and flushing the tanks clean. Raising the all those seahorse fry is time consuming, but District Director Anke Gassner and her team are proud of the breeding success.


Rhino Calf Welcomed at Allwetter Zoo

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One and a half years ago, Jane, a 13-year-old Southern White Rhinoceros, came to the Allwetter Zoo in Münster, Germany from the Scottish Blair Drummond Safari Park and was introduced to the zoo’s bull Rhino, Harry.  The two Rhinos got along well and after a 16 month gestation, Jane delivered her first calf, a male, on May 23.

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Photo Credits: Allwetter Zoo

Jane was showing signs of labor early in the morning on that day, so the staff closed the Rhino house to visitors.  To give Jane privacy, the staff watched Jane throughout the day on security cameras that were installed for this exact purpose.  The actual birth process only took about ten minutes.  Jane encouraged her newborn to stand, and he soon was nursing. 

The calf sleeps a lot, but seems to enjoy rustling in the thick bed of straw in the Rhino stall.  Jane is an excellent mother, and follows her new baby like a hawk. 

Southern White Rhinos are the most abundant of all Rhino species, but they are still threatened by poaching for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine.

See more photos of the Rhino calf below the fold.

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UPDATE! Allwetter Zoo's Asian Golden Cat Twins Ready for Their Close-up

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My how they've grown! Twin Asian Golden cubs were born at Allwetter Zoo on April 7 and last Tuesday, they played and posed for the camera. Their natural beauty is evident against the pure white background.

Asiatic Golden Cats are highly threatened with extinction in the wild, so breeding them in zoos is one very important way to conserve the species. However, procreation and the successful rearing of their offspring can be tricky, so these two came into the world through artificial insemination. Click HERE for our May 3 article on this important birth, and to see their pictures as newborns.

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Photo Credit: Life on White.com

Many more photos after the fold!

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New Cheetah Mom Namoja Has Her Paws Full With Quintuplets!

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Namoja, Munster Zoo's female Cheetah, has her paws full with five cubs. Now nearly two months old, Namoja's quintet has been exploring Munster's outdoor exhibit since day nine. Father Jabari met Namoja in early January and the five cubs arrived just 92 days later! While First-time mom Namoja has shown excellent cub-rearing skills and a steady paw, she'll have to remain vigilant. The cubs are already adept crawlers and it won't be long before they're scampering around the entire 7,500 sq. ft. exhibit!

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Photo credits: Allwetterzoo Munster


Rare and Elusive Wild Cat Gives Birth With The Help of Science

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A successful artificial insemination of an Asian Golden Cat was performed at Allwetter Zoo, which the zoo is calling the world's first for this species. On April 7, after a gestation period of approximately 75-80 days, twin cubs were born. One is being nursed by the mother, and the other is being cared for by keepers to ensure both of these rare and important babies will grow strong and develop well.

The cubs are nursing well and putting on weight. They will not be interested in meat until at least a month old. You can watch a video HERE. The narration is in German but you can hear the cub roar in the first few seconds and see it nursing and getting scritches.

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Photo Credit: Allwetter Zoo

Asiatic Golden Cats are highly threatened with extinction in the wild, so breeding them in zoos is one very important way to conserve the species. However, procreation and the successful rearing of their offspring is fraught with difficulties, since not every pairing of males and females works well. And since few zoos keep Asian Cats, changing the pairings can be quite a challenge. These beautiful and rare cats only live in three zoos in Germany (Heidelberg, Münster, Wuppertal, Germany), and in four other zoos in Europe. So while there has been little success with artificial insemination of wild cats worldwide, the zoo still chose this approach.

See more photos after the fold:

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Little Lorikeets at Your Feet

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Two little Rainbow Lorikeets hatched last week at the Münster Zoo in the free-flying lorikeet aviary where visitors can feed the small birds cups of nectar. What makes the birth particularly interesting is where the parrot parents chose to build their nest - right by the walkway within parrot-seed-spitting distance from peoples' feet! While there were plenty of secluded treetop nesting options, the whole parrot family seems to enjoy the hustle and bustle of visitors and the increased attention. The Rainbow Lorikeet is native to much of Australia and Asia. They often fly in flocks but spend most of their time together in pairs.

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Family Portrait

Rainbow Lorikeet chicks at Allwetterzoo Münster 2


Mongolian Horse Foal Standing Tall

On April 25th, Germany's Allwetter Zoo in Munster welcomed a Mongolian horse foal weighing 35 kg (77 lbs). Small and stocky, Mongolian horses have remained largely unchanged genetically since the time of Ghengis Kahn. They also have the largest genetic diversity among all horse breeds, suggesting that humans have not guided their breeding habits nearly as closely as other horses.

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