Artis Zoo

Tiny Java Mouse Deer Debuts at Artis Zoo

1_Java mousedeer Foto Edwin Butter

Natura Artis Magistra, in the Netherlands, is home to a newly born Java Mouse Deer. The Java Mouse Deer (Tragulus javanicus) is a species of even-toed ungulate from the family Tragulidae. At maturity it reaches the size of a rabbit, making it one of the smallest ungulates on earth.

2_Java mousedeer 3 Foto Edwin Butter

3_Java mousedeer 2 Foto Edwin ButterPhoto Credits: Edwin Butter / Artis Royal Zoo

Mouse Deer are native to forests of South and Southeast Asia, with a single species in the rainforests of Central and West Africa. The species residing at Artis is native to the Indonesian island of Java. Although other Mouse Deer in Southeast Asia are very similar to the Javan species, researchers determined there are enough differentials to consider the Java Mouse Deer a completely separate species.

Although called a deer, they do not grow antlers. Both sexes have elongated canine teeth, but they are especially prominent in males, where they project out on either side of the lower jaw. These teeth become effective weapons for the males in fights over females. The Asian species typically weigh between 1.5 and 17.6 lbs (0.7 and 8.0 kg).

Java Mouse Deer are primarily herbivores. Their diet consists primarily of that which is found on the ground in the dense vegetation they prefer to inhabit.

Mouse Deer are timid and solitary, but they often live in pairs. The young fawns are weaned at about three months of age and reach sexual maturity between five and ten months.

The Java Mouse Deer is currently classified as “Data Deficient” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The data deficiency is due to the inconclusiveness regarding the distinct separation of the Tragulus species, in addition to the lack of information on Tragulus javanicus. Although listed as “Data Deficient”, it is highly probable that a decline in the number of Java Mouse Deer, in the wild, is occurring and the IUCN status could easily change to “Vulnerable” in the near future.

Shy Fennec Fox Kits Emerge at Artis Zoo

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Caretakers at Artis Zoo in Amsterdam are keeping an eye out for kits in their Fennec Fox exhibit. The mother has quietly given birth to at least two male kits since July 2nd, but it still isn't clear exactly how many have been born. Every now and then, caretakers have caught a glimpse of some kits and heard little squeaks coming from behind stumps and other hiding places.

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Photo credits: Ronald van Weeren / Artis Zoo

Fennec Foxes live in the deserts and semi-arid lands of northern Africa. Also called the Desert Fox, their most notable feature are their ears, which are enormous in proportion to their body size. An adult Fennec Fox measures about 16 inches (40 cm) in body length and has ears six inches (15 cm) long. These huge ears are used for cooling the body of excess heat and for locating prey, such as lizards, insects, and eggs, buried deep under the desert sand. Fennec Foxes are a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation's Red List of Threatened Species. 

Tired Tapir Calf Takes a Break at Artis Zoo


When Ydra, a female South American Tapir at the Netherlands’ Artis Zoo, was restless and refused her food last week, zoo keepers knew it wouldn’t be long before she delivered her calf.  Sure enough, on April 10, a male calf was born and Ydra licked him clean as he lay beside her on the straw.

Named Alexandro, the calf is the first offspring for Ydra and her mate Carlo.  Though Alexandro was delivered breech (feet first), he was healthy and strong. At just one week old, he moved into the zoo’s mixed-species exhibit with Llamas, Maras, Capybaras, and Giant Anteaters.



Photo Credit:  Artis Zoo

South American Tapirs, also known as Brazilian Tapirs, are native to Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Paraguay, where they feed on leaves and fruits in the Amazon rain forest.  The brown-and-white speckled coat of Tapir calves provides camouflage in the dense forest.  These Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Alexandro’s birth is a significant contribution to the European breeding program for this species.

See more photos of Alexandro below the fold.

Continue reading "Tired Tapir Calf Takes a Break at Artis Zoo" »

Trio of Big-Eyed Baby Maras Born at Artis Zoo

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Last weekend three baby Maras were born at Amsterdam's Artis Royal Zoo. Maras mate for life and usually have one to three babies every year. Newborns are so well developed they can begin to graze within a day. 

Maras (Dolichotis patagonum) are the fourth largest rodent in the world, after capybaras, beavers, and porcupines, reaching about  18 inches (45 cm ) tall. In the wild, Maras live in dry, grassy areas in South America. With their long, thin legs and tall ears they seem much like a hare, but the Maras are actually a subfamily of the guinea pig. They can make jumps of 2 meters. 

Though the family is already out in their habitat for visitors to enjoy, the babies are very shy and stay close to mom, who often has them safely snuggled together in their underground nest. They come out to nurse and play and end up getting nuzzled by the other adults.

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Mara nuzzle

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Mara solo

Photo Credit: Artis Royal Zoo

Springtime Brings Lambs to Artis Zoo

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Two lambs were born at Artis Zoo in Amsterdam during the first week of March. Within four hours, the lambs could stand upright and drink their first milk. After a few days, they will begin to eat grass and hay.

The petting zoo at Artis has Cameroon Sheep and Hampshire Down Sheep, as well as goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and Kunekune pigs. 

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Photo Credits: Artis Zoo

Watch the lambs venture out into the petting zoo with their mother:

Tumbili Loves Shangwe at Artis Zoo

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Once again Dutch photographer extraordinaire, A.J. Haverkamp, has shared some amazing photos of Chimpanzees at the Artis Royal Zoo. This time he has captured some tender moments between the Artis Zoo's new baby, Shangwe, and alpha male, Tumbili (Billy for short). 

While Chimpanzee groups are led by a dominant male, this individual is often not the biggest or strongest. Rather the alpha male is the best at forging relationships within the group and building alliances, so other group members will support him in times of conflict. Sometimes this maneuvering can be downright manipulative, with the alpha male turning group members against would-be challengers. Sound like any other species you know...?

Tumbili Kisses Shangwe 1

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Shangwe with Mom 2Photo credit: A.J. Haverkamp

Wonderful photos of Shangwe with Mom below the fold

Continue reading "Tumbili Loves Shangwe at Artis Zoo" »

Meet Betong, The Baby Malayan Tapir


On the morning of August 24th, a baby Malayan Tapir named Betong was born at The Netherlands' Artis Zoo. Within an hour of his arrival, Betong was successfully nursing and standing firm on his four feet. That following Tuesday, the spotted male Tapir baby was out on exhibit for the first time. The endangered Malayan Tapir is threatened mainly by human activity such as deforestation for agriculture. Artis Zoo participates in European breeding program aimed at developing a viable breeding population of Malayan Tapirs. In addition to breeding this rare and unusual species, Artis conducts extensive research into the development cycle of Tapirs in the womb.



Photo credits: Artis Zoo

Meet Little Douli, The Netherlands' Newest Baby Gorilla!

Artis Zoo Gorilla 4

On Monday, February 27th, after an 8.5 month gestation period, Artis Zoo Gorilla Dafina gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Artis, The Netherlands' oldest zoo, is already home to 10 gorillas, two of which were born last year. There are plenty of experienced moms for Dafina to learn from, although she appears to be having no trouble playing the part. From birth, gorilla mothers typically hold their young tightly to their belly buttons, making it difficult for keepers to determine their sex, often for weeks. By a stroke of luck, Dafina lifted the young baby in the presence of keepers late yesterday, giving them a clear view that the tiny baby is in fact a boy. He's been given the name Douli, after a place in the Gabon state of Africa.

Artis Zoo Gorilla

Photo credits: Artis Zoo

Tapir Trio Takes Twenty-Twelve By Storm!


Three baby Tapirs are taking 2012 by storm! First it was the U.K.'s Chester Zoo, whose female Tapir, Jennifer, gave birth to a little girl (pictured above) on December 27. The calf, named Talia, is doing really well and has already been seen out and about, foraging for food. Then on New Year's Eve a male South American Tapir (2nd and 3rd pictures) was born at the Netherlands' Artis Zoo. Last but not least, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo welcomed a female Tapir calf (last 2 pictures) on New Years Day. There are four species of tapir native to Southeast Asia and in Central and South America, all of which are classified as endangered due to ongoing decline.