The Beauval Zoo in France was thrilled to welcome Mbuti, the first Okapi born in France since 1988. Mbuti was born on June 27th to mother Kamina. Both are thriving, and Mbuti has since taken her first steps.
Okapi are a unique mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in Central Africa. Though the animal bears stripes resembling those of a Zebra, it is far more closely related to the Giraffe. The species was unknown to the western world until the 20th century. Though the species is not Endangered, it remains Threatened due to habitat loss and poaching.
On March 24th, Beauval Zoo in France welcomed three new rare Jaguar cubs. One of the cubs is a spotted Jaguar while the other two are, like their mother, melanistic Jaguars, often referred to as a black panthers. This variation in color is a genetic trait that is found in approximately six percent of the wild population. The exact mechanisms of the inheritance of the variation are still not understood.
As the cubs remain with their mother in their den, this is the only photo of the trio so far. Stay tuned for more once these rare cats begin to venture out of their den and explore their habitat.
This little Tree Kangaroo Joey has been getting a glimpse of the world for a few weeks now, much to the delight of all at Beauval Zoo. Among the 4600 animals at the zoo, there are many species that are rare, threatened, or unique in France. Their Tree Kangaroos are one, and Mom Ruby can be seen on exhibit with the little reddish-brown head -- and sometimes a pair of paws -- of her look-alike baby sticking out of her pouch.
Tree Kangaroos are marsupials like koalas, but are very different from their terrestrial cousins. Kangaroo joeys are born roughly the size of a lima bean and crawl from the birth canal to the warmth and safety of their mother's pouch. There they lock on to a teat and spend an average of between six to eight months growing, until one day their little noses peek out into the world. It's thought this baby began that process in late January. He is the only joey of his kind born in 2012, giving hope to this species which is threatened in the wild.
In late July, ZooParc de Beauval welcomed France's first ever African Elephant to be born using artificial insemination. The baby is the only African Elephant to be born in 2012 in Europe. After a 23 month gestation period and only about an hour of labor, mother N'Dala gave birth to a 340-pound 3-foot-tall bundle of joy. As N'Dala had never given birth before, keepers watched with bated breath to see in she would accept her offspring and nurse him. It is not uncommon for a first time mother to reject her baby in the wild, and keepers gave N'Dala plenty of space in the hopes that her natural instincts would kick in.
Named after a South African Volcano, baby Rungwe recently went on exhibit at the ZooParc by his mother's side. Keepers are delighted about the successful birth and N'Dala has been an exemplary mother so far. The successful artificial insemination gives new hope to this iconic species that has had relatively few births in Zoological institutions. Look beneath the fold to see images of Rungwe and N'Dala exploring their exhibit.
Something wonderful happened at France's Zoo Parc de Beauval in the middle of the night on Sunday, October 16... a White Rhino was born. The baby, a male, weighed about 176 pounds (80 kg) and the report is that he and Satara, his mother, are doing well -- so well in fact that he is already on view through a huge window in the Rhino house.
For now he is sticking close to mom and can be seen nursing. But in a few weeks, he will go out with his mother into the habitat to join the 70 other animals that inhabit the sizeable area, including Wildebeest, Giraffes, and Zebras. His horn will begin to grow when he is 3-4 months old.
This is the second male White Rhino born at the zoo -- the first, Kanty, was born in Novmeber of 2009. The White Rhino is particularly endangered due to poaching for the purported value of their horns. Rare in the wild, the White Rhino has an EEP (European Breeding Program) to encourage reproduction, which has proven difficult at zoos.
Photo Credit: ZooParc de Beauval
Though not a traditional time of year for manatee births, Zoo Parc de Beauval in France welcomed a manatee calf yesterday! The little one has been seen suckling and swimming near mom in its first 24 hours.
Manatees are born underwater and mom helps the calf get to the surface to take its first breath. The babies can usually swim on their own within the first hour after birth. While they only nurse as calves, they will grow to become hearty grazers...eating up to a tenth of their weight in algae, weeds and grasses in a single day!
Sometimes called sea cows, manatees are actually graceful swimmers despite their size. They never leave the water but need to come to the surface to breathe like all marine mammals. Often the only thing visible at the surface of the water is their nose, but below, their powerful tails can propel them along at 5 mph (8 kmph).
There are three species of this highly endangered animal, and they each live in different areas – one in the Amazon River, another along the west coast and rivers of Africa, and a third along the east coast of North America. Beauval Zoo is the only Zoo in France to have a manatee, which was born as part of as the European breeding program for this species (EEP).
Excitement is in the air at Beauval Zoo, as France's newest little Koala joey, Eora, has just fully emerged from her mother's pouch. Named after the aboriginal word for "here" the tiny Joey was only 2 cm long when she was born in late May. Koala joeys typically spend the first six to eight months of life hidden safely inside their mother's pouch. While Eora may have outgrown the cozy pouch, she's definitely not too old for piggy-back rides! In the wild, Koala's are threatened by human encroachment, which carves up their range into tiny parcels and increases the threats of fire and attacks by domestic animals.