Berlin Zoo

Tierpark Berlin Shares a Secret…Don’t Squeal!

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Djamila, the Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig, hit lucky number 7 with the birth of her litter. The piglets arrived January 27 at Tierpark Berlin.

The farrow has been happily confined to their stable, where it is warm and cozy. Except for the occasional squeak or wriggle, the piglets are content to stay close to mom, for now.

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4_csm_Haengebauchschweine_Tierpark_Berlin_2016__10__5946037c73Photo Credits: Tierpark Berlin

Djamila is a ‘native’ Berliner and was born at the Zoo in 2011. The Tierpark Berlin introduced this dwarf breed to Europe in 1958.

The Pot-bellied Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) is a domesticated pig originating in Vietnam. Considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, adults can weigh about 43 to 136 kg (100 to 300 lb).

Pot-bellied Pigs are considered fully-grown by six years of age, when the epiphyseal plates in the long bones of the legs finally close.

Because Pot-bellied Pigs are the same species as ordinary farmyard pigs and wild boars, they are capable of interbreeding. However, a 2004 study revealed extreme genetic diversity in indigenous Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs. They were also genetically different from each other according to location of origin in Vietnam.

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Zebra Foal Shows Off Fluffy-Soft Baby Fur

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Sporting her fluffy-soft baby fur, Kasema the Zebra foal galloped in the winter sun during her debut at the Berlin Zoo.

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1779162_10153800282887557_8363967191392101585_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Berlin

As Kasema followed her mother Bella’s every move around the exhibit, she displayed a mix of elegance and stumbling, exuberance and caution that is unique to young animals.

Born on January 5, Kasema still has the brownish-striped, fluffy coat of a foal.  As she grows, she will gradually gain the black-and-white stripes of an adult.  Like all foals, she stays close to her mother for protection. 

Kasema and Bella are Grant’s Zebras, also known as Boehm’s Zebras.  They the most common of the six subspecies of Plains Zebra, which are all found in sub-Saharan Africa.  In the wild, they live in small groups called harems, made up of one stallion and up to six mares and their foals.  For now, Grant’s Zebras are widespread and not under significant threat.


Baby Ocelot Practices Prowling

1417497_10153709302402557_7155352498711835303_oVisitors at Germany's Berlin Zoo are getting their first glimpse of an Ocelot kitten born on October 26.  For the first eight weeks of his life, the baby has been behind the scenes with his mother Sarah.  An experienced mother of eight, Sarah has taken excellent care of her little one.

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Photo Credit:  Berlin Zoo

Once the kitten was introduced to his outdoor habitat at the zoo, he began to explore and practice his prowling skills.  He is already an adept climber.

The kitten’s father, Prazak, has so far not been in contact with his baby.  Sarah and Prazak were separated before the birth to reduce potential conflicts between the pair.  The kitten will stay by his mother’s side for 10 months.  In the wild, this is when Ocelots are weaned and able to live on their own.

Ocelots inhabit areas of dense cover and hunt for prey at night.  Their adaptability to a variety of habitats – from jungles to  scrubland – has helped them thrive in many areas.

Widespread throughout Mexico, Central America, and South America, Ocelots were once listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but they were reclassified as Least Concern in the 1990s.  A small population of about 50 Ocelots exists in Texas and Arizona in the United States, but numbers have fallen by more than half in the last two decades.


Pudú Fawns Enjoy Spring at Zoo Berlin

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Visitors to Zoo Berlin can enjoy the spring weather, while watching the Southern Pudu fawns roam their exhibit with the rest of their group. The fawns, a male and female, were born in the early spring and are still sporting the spotted coats of their youth.

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Csm_Pudunachwuchs_Zoo_Berlin_April_2015_Karl_Broeseke_5c1c4fe6bdPhoto Credits: Zoo Berlin

“That Pudu live together in groups, at the Zoo, is quite unusual,” reveals Tobias Rahde, Curator for Deer, at Zoo Berlin. “In nature, more than two Pudu are never sighted together. The Pudu group in Zoo Berlin is apparently in unusual harmony.”

The Pudu is the world’s smallest deer. It consists of two subspecies of South American deer from the genus Pudu: the Northern Pudu (native to Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru) and the Southern Pudu (found in Chile and southwestern Argentina). They inhabit temperate rainforests, where the dense underbrush and bamboo thickets offer protection from predators.

The Pudu grows to a max height of 13 to 17 inches (32 to 44cm) at the shoulder and up to 33 inches (85cm) in length. They normally weigh up to 26 lbs (12 kg).  Males have short, spiked antlers that are not forked. The antlers, which shed annually, can extend from 2.6 to 3 inches (6.5 to 7.5 cm) in length. Coat coloration varies with season, gender, and individual genes. The fur is long, stiff and reddish-brown to dark-brown in hue.

Pudus are solitary and do not, normally, interact with one another, unless during mating season. Easily frightened, they bark when in fear, and their fur bristles when angered.

Wild predators include: the Horned Owl, Andean Fox, Magellan Fox, Cougar, and other small cats. The Pudu is often slow-moving, but they are quite proficient climbers, jumpers, and sprinters when being pursued. Their lifespan, in the wild, ranges from 8 to 10 years.

Pudus are herbivorous and can survive without drinking water for long periods due to the high water content of the foliage they consume.

In their native habitat, their mating season occurs in the Southern Hemisphere’s autumn, from April to May. Gestation ranges from 202 to 223 days (about 7 months), with the average being 210 days. A single offspring or sometimes twins are born in austral spring, from November to January. Fawns have a reddish-born fur, and Southern Pudu fawns have white spots running the length of their backs. Young are weaned after 2 months and are considered fully-grown at 3 months, but may stay with their mothers for 8 to 12 months.

Both species of Pudus are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, due mainly to overhunting and habitat loss. Efforts to preserve the species are being taken before they become extinct. An international captive-breeding program for the Southern Pudu, led by Concepcion University, in Chile, has been started. Deer have been successfully bred in captivity and reintroduced into Nahuel Huapi National Park, in Argentina. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has banned the international trading of Pudus. 


Rare Tiger Cub Makes Her Debut

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An Amur Tiger cub at Germany’s Zoo Berlin made her media debut last week.  The cub, named Alisha, is the only member of her litter to survive.

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10418420_10153011653910149_5941699341082301307_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Berlin

In December, three cubs were born to female Aurora and her mate, Darius, the third litter for this pair.  Unfortunately, two of the cubs did not survive.  When keepers observed that the remaining cub was in poor condition, they decided to hand-raise her.

Little Alisha is thriving under the keepers’ care.  For now, she spends much of her time sleeping, but zoo officials expect Alisha to move onto exhibit within a few weeks.

Amur Tigers, also known as Siberian Tigers, are the largest of the six surviving Tiger subspecies.  Native to far eastern Russia, the population of Amur Tigers dropped to fewer than 50 cats in the 1940s.  Today, thanks to improved law enforcement against illegal hunting, there are now nearly 400 Amur Tigers in the wild.  While Amur Tigers are still listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, scientists are hopeful that the upward trend will continue for these magnificent cats.


Baby Orangutan Thriving Under Keepers' Care

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A baby Sumatran Orangutan at Germany’s Zoo Berlin is being raised by zoo keepers after her mother failed to care for her.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin

The baby was born early in the morning on January 12 to first-time mother Djasinga, age 11.  Despite attempts by zoo keepers to get mother and baby together, the two did not bond.  Keepers decided to hand-rear the infant, who is healthy and strong.

Every two to three hours, the baby is bottle-fed with infant formula.  For now, she resides behind the scenes, where she cannot be seen by zoo guests.  The zoo’s animal care team, in cooperation with the European Endangered Species Programme, will begin the process of determining the next steps for the baby.  Zoo Berlin houses eight Orangutans in two groups.

Sumatran Orangutans are native only to the island of Sumatra, where they inhabit rain forests.  Like their close relatives the Bornean Orangutans, these apes are perilously close to extinction due to extreme habitat loss as forests are converted to palm oil plantations.  By purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil, consumers can help preserve important Orangutan habitat.

See more photos of the baby Orangutan below.

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Rumble of Little Rhino Feet at Zoo Berlin

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On October 2nd, Zoo Berlin’s Black Rhino, ‘Maburi’, gave birth to a healthy baby boy!

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ZooBerlin_BlackRhino_4Photo Credits: Zoo Berlin (1,2,3); Peter Griesbach (4,5)

The yet-to-be named bull calf is, according to keepers, doing exceedingly well.  Even without a horn, he can confidently stand on his short, sturdy legs and survey his surroundings. Soon after birth, the calf nursed for a short while and was soon standing on all fours. Protective mother, Maburi, is keeping watch over him in the safe confines of the rhino barn, at the zoo.

Zoo Berlin Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem, said, “The Zoo Berlin is world famous for its successful Black Rhino breeding. The small bull is already the 18th born in Berlin. We are very excited about the new breeding success of the highly endangered species.”

The Black Rhinoceros is native to eastern and central Africa. Although it is referred to as ‘black’, its colors vary from brown to grey. Overall, the species is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

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Gettin’ Schooled in Swimming at Zoo Berlin

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The young Asian Small-Clawed Otters, at Zoo Berlin, have been entertaining visitors with their undeniable cuteness and their playful antics. Recently, swimming lessons were the preferred activity, and their parents were close by to supervise.

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ZooBerlin_Small Clawed Otter_4Photo Credits: Zoo Berlin

The Asian Small-Clawed Otter is the smallest otter species in the world.  They are native to the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Their paws and claws are a distinctive feature and give the animal a high degree of manual dexterity for feeding on mollusks, crabs and other small aquatic creatures.

The Asian Small-Clawed Otter is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The threat to the Small-Clawed Otter is similar to that of Smooth-Coated and Eurasian Otters. Throughout Asia the potential threat to its continued survival is destruction of its habitats due to changing land use pattern in the form of developmental activities. In many parts of Asia, the habitats have been reduced due to reclamation of peat swamp forests and mangroves, aquaculture activities along the intertidal wetlands, and loss of hill streams. In India, the primary threats are loss of habitats due to tea and coffee plantations along the hills, loss of mangroves due to aquaculture, increased human settlements, and siltation of smaller hill streams due to deforestation. Increased influx of pesticides into the streams from the plantations reduces the quality of the habitats. 

Learn more about the otter, below the fold!

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Five Baby Capybaras Born at Zoo Berlin

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Zoo Berlin recently welcomed five baby Capybaras to their South American exhibit!  Born just several weeks ago, the five pups, along with mother, Lucia, explored their enclosure for the first time!  Careful to stay close to mother and each other, they enjoyed their time investigating various aspects of their home at the zoo.

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Capybara_Zoo Berlin_4Photo credits: Zoo Berlin

Native to South America, the Capybara is classified as the largest rodent in the world.  They have a distinctly large, blunt head and a pig-like appearance. Capybaras are capable of running as fast as a horse.  However, they enjoy a semi–aquatic lifestyle and prefer habitats in lowlands, close to water.  They can be found in greater numbers on flooded grasslands, where water, dry ground, and pasture are readily available.  Capybaras possess physical traits that aid their love of swimming.  Their ears, eyes and nostrils are positioned high on their heads, enabling those features to remain above water as they swim.  Their bodies contain large amounts of fatty tissue, which provides buoyancy.  Also, they have partially webbed feet.

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