Antwerp Zoo

Another Okapi for Antwerp!

Okapi 6

The staff at Belgium's Zoo Antwerpen expected female Okapi Yenthe to deliver her baby on Christmas Day, but she had other plans.  At about 3:00 AM on December 16, the zoo’s night watchman alerted keepers when he noticed something unusual in the Okapi house.  Keepers were able to immediately see Yenthe and her new baby from their homes, using a web cam installed at the Okapi house. 

The male baby was named Ngwani, which means “child.”  He is the 49th Okapi born at Zoo Antwerpen since Okapi first arrived at the zoo in 1919.  There are currently eight Okapi at the zoo, including two other calves born in the last two years. 

Okapi 3

Okapi 2

Okapi 1

Okapi 5

Zoo Antwerpen manages the international studbook for Okapi.  In this role, the zoo coordinates breeding recommendations for captive Okapi, with the goal of maintaining a genetically healthy population in zoos worldwide.

Okapi are found only in the dense rain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo – nowhere else.  They are perfectly suited for life among the vegetation.  Only about 10-20,000 Okapi remain in the wild, and these are under threat from poaching, habitat loss, and ongoing conflict in the region.

Photo credit:  © ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst

Cub vs. Stream: An Update on Zoo Antwerp’s Little Lion


Zoo Antwerp’s Lion cub made headlines on ZooBorns when he made his public debut about a month after he was born on August 29.  Now the male cub, named Nestor, has started exploring the Lion family’s large outdoor enclosure with his mother, Maouli.  (All of the babies born at Zoo Antwerp in 2012 have names that begin with N.)

As he toddled across the yard, Nestor’s biggest obstacle was a small stream in the exhibit.  After some hesitation, he dared to make the crossing, but alas, he fell in!  His second attempt was equally unsuccessful, resulting in another dunking (even though mom tried to lend a hand – er, paw).  But like the brave little Lion he is, Nestor was undeterred, and his third try was the charm – he made it! 




Baby Lion Growling

Like Nestor, wild Lions face challenges too – though theirs are much more serious.   Changes to their wild east African habitat have caused some Lion populations to shrink by more than half.  Zoos around the world are breeding Lions to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse captive population.

Photo Credit:  Zoo Antwerp

First Photos of Zoo Antwerp's Lion Cub


Patience has paid off for fans at Zoo Antwerp!  The Lion cub born there on August 29 made its public debut this week.  The cub spent the first month of its life indoors with its mother, Maouli, but is now enjoying time in an outdoor pen where it can be seen by visitors.   The youngster is getting more independent every day, but still stays close to mom.





The cub’s gender is not yet known.   When the cub gets its first veterinary checkup, the sex will be determined and it will get its first set of vaccinations.  Once the gender is known, the cub will be named.  The name will start with N, like all of the babies born at Zoo Antwerp in 2012. 

Though Lions are at the top of the food chain, they are still vulnerable to human-induced changes in their environment, especially in areas outside preserves and national parks.  Wild Lion populations have shrunken by half in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa.  Managed breeding in zoos is helping to ensure a strong genetic foundation for this magnificent species.

Photo Credit:  Zoo Antwerp

After tragedy, Okapi calf represents hope

6 okapi 6
Following a devastating blow to Okapi conservation efforts this summer, a ray of hope arrived for this threatened species:  a healthy Okapi calf was born on September 15 at the Antwerp Zoo.

Conservationists were stunned when poachers raided the Okapi Wildlife Resrve in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June, wiping out the entire breeding herd of 14 Okapi and killing 19 people.   But far from the scene of the attack, the staff of the Antwerp Zoo was closely monitoring Sofie the Okapi during her pregnancy.

4okapi 4

7 okapi 7

5 okapi 5

During Sofie’s pregnancy, which was her sixth, the zoo’s veterinary staff took advantage of her easygoing demeanor to learn all they could about her developing calf through frequent ultrasounds, hoping that the knowledge gained will improve captive Okapi breeding success.

Zoo breeding programs are more important than ever in light of the June attack.  Okapi are found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Clearing of rain forest for agriculture and tropical hardwoods, mining, poaching and the political and socio-economic unrest in the region contribute to the Okapi’s uncertain future.

The Antwerp Zoo oversees the breeding program for Okapi in European zoos in an effort to maintain genetic diversity in the captive population.  Okapi are related to giraffes, as evidenced by their long tongues and long necks.  The bold stripes are unique to each Okapi, much like a person’s fingerprints.  These stripes provide ideal camouflage in their native jungle habitat.

Photo Credits:  Antwerp Zoo

Meet Nuru the Aardvark Baby


ZOO Antwerp welcomed a baby Aardvark on the 6th January. The Belgian Zoo has given the young "earth pig" (yes, Aardvark means earth pig!) the name Nuru, meaning born in the daylight. Producing enough mother's milk is a challenge for four time Aardvark mom Curly. So far, so good for baby Nuru, however. Keepers have noted Nuru's ears standing upright as an indicator of great health.





Photo credit: ZOO Antwerp


Baby Hippo Hits the Pool

Mother hippos give birth underwater so it's perhaps no surprise that baby hippopotamuses like to spend most of their day submerged. This little hippo, pictured at just one week old, was born at Zoo Antwerp in Belgium on May 22nd. The calf might look like a little tyke but baby hippos can weigh over 100 lbs (45kg) at birth!

Baby hippo calf zoo antwerp 1

(Note the Shrek-ears and water spouting)

Baby hippo calf antwerp zoo 2

Baby hippo calf antwerp zoo 5

Baby hippo calf antwerp zoo 4

Baby hippo calf antwerp zoo 6

Baby Tamarin Monkeys in Belgium

Belgium's Antwerp Zoo recently welcomed Golden Headed Lion Tamarin twins. These little Brazilian monkeys are endangered in the wild and, while the population decline seems to have been stabilized thanks to conservation efforts in Brazil's União Biological Reserve, continued habitat destruction outside of the park makes the prospects of reintroduction beyond União bleak.

Baby golden marmosets antwerp zoo 1 rs

Baby golden marmosets antwerp zoo 1 rs2

Baby golden marmosets antwerp zoo 3 rsBaby marmoset or gremlin? You decide...


Asian Olifant in Antwerp

Oliftanje means "little elephant" in Dutch, and this adorable bundle of trumpeting joy was born yesterday at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium. After 38 hours of labor, mother Phyo Phyo gave birth to a healthy 176 lb (80 kilo) girl.

Baby olifant 5

Baby olifant 3

Baby olifant 2

Looking bashful

Baby olifant 1

If you speak Dutch or French, you can follow the development of the new baby on her dedicated site. If you speak English, feel free to click about randomly and hope for the best.

Continue reading "Asian Olifant in Antwerp" »