Berlin Zoo

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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Palawan Bengal Cats Are First of Berlin Zoo's Breeding Program

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One year after their arrival at Zoo Berlin in Germany, a pair of Palawan Bengal Cats has had a litter of two! The two kittens, a male and a female, have been named Ilian and Taytay, after two places on the island of Palawan, the island in the Philippines where this subspecies of the Leopard Cat originates. 

Ilian and Taytay are very special cats: they are the first offspring of Zoo Berlin's breeding program for this subspecies, which is listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the Interantional Union for Conservation of Nature. Zoo Berlin is currently one of only two zoos outside of the Philippines to house Palawan Bengal Cats. The zoo is working to establish a breeding program that will build up a healthy population of Palawan Bengal Cats across zoos. Members of this captive-bred population can eventually be reintroduced on Palawan, to help the wild population recover. In the fall, once they are mature, Ilian and Taytay will move to Prague Zoo and Pilsen Zoo in the Czech Republic. 

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Hyena Cub Will Earn His Spots at Berlin Zoo

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On July 27, a Spotted Hyena named Malindi gave birth to a healthy male cub at Berlin Zoo. The cub, named Toki, was born with a beautiful black coat, which will start to lighten over the next few weeks to resemble his parent's speckled fur. 

The cub's father, Kara, also lives at Berlin Zoo. But as in the wild, he won't play a role in rearing his offspring. In Hyena packs, females are dominant over males, and raise their pups on their own, so it's understandable that Kara keeps a bit of distance from the rest of the family.

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Spotted Hyena are common on the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. They were long seen as scavengers, but they are in fact persistent hunters, capturing up to 70% of their own food themselves, including large like gazelles, wildebeest and zebras. 


Meet Zoo Berlin’s Blue-eyed Baby Caracal Quadruplets

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Four fluffy Caracal kittens were born on July 21 at Germany’s Zoo Berlin.  The two male and two female cubs, with their rusty-colored coats, bright blue eyes, and long black ear-tips, are now out of the nest box and charming zoo visitors.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

Parents Sarek and Amanda came to the zoo from South Africa in 2004, and have reliably produced offspring nearly every year since. Quadruplets are rare in Caracals, making this litter of kittens unique.  The subspecies living at Zoo Berlin has an intense cinnamon-red coat color.

The name Caracal is derived from the Turkish “kara kulak,” which means “black ear,” referring to the black ear tufts, which can be nearly half the length of the ear itself.  These tufts probably aid in sound detection.

Caracals, also known as Desert Lynx, are widely distributed throughout Africa, Central Asia, and parts of India.  They inhabit dry steppes and rocky terrain.  Caracals are becoming rare in parts of their range, particularly in North Africa, Central Asia, and India.

 

 


Shiva Gets Her Shots at Zoo Berlin

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Shiva, a rare Persian Leopard cub born at Zoo Berlin, was not shy about voicing her displeasure when she received her latest round of vaccinations. 

Despite Shiva's disapproval, it was important for the veterinary staff to vaccinate the cub against feline distemper and other diseases.  This was a challenging task because Shiva had to be separated from her mother, Yerevan.  Since her birth on July 1, Shiva and her mother have been inseparable.  Shiva made her public debut last week.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

Shiva is the fifth cub for Yerevan, age 11.  Shiva’s father Haakon is age 16 – quite an advanced age for a big cat.

Persian Leopards were once found throughout central Asia, but they now live only in fragmented populations in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and the Caucasus.  Iran holds the largest population of wild Persian Leopards, with about 700 remaining there.  These small, separate groups of Leopards are threatened by further loss of habitat, armed conflict, and reduction of prey species.  Currently, about 100 Persian Leopards live in zoos, where managed breeding programs could counteract the long-term decline of these cats in the wild.


The Adventures Begin for Zoo Berlin's Ocelot Kitten

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Kittens always seem to be crowd-pleasers, but sometimes it takes a little while for them to venture outside. Zoo Berlin welcomed an Ocelot kitten on July 16, and the little one has been nursing, sleeping and growing strong out of the public's sight, until recently. Keepers have noticed some stirrings now that the kitten is about nine weeks old. Even though these cats are mostly nocturnal, visitors have an increasing chance of catching a glimpse of the beautifully-patterned mother and baby.  As the zoo's press release noted, the elusive nature of these creatures might not be the best draw for the zoo— but it certainly is typical cat! The nine-year-old mother does a good job keeping her baby out of sight. 

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Ocelots live in a variety of ecosystems in Central and South America, from tropical forests of all types to grasslands, coastal mangroves and marshes, and thorny scrublands. Their range once included the Gulf Coast of the United States, but now only a very small number remain, mostly in south Texas and Arizona. These cats were heavily hunted for their spotted fur, but are now protected throughout most of their range. 

Because Ocelots are solitary and territorial cats, the father is living in a separate enclosure to ensure that mother and baby have the space and privacy that they need. Ocelots have a  fairly low reproductive rate, which poses a challenge to conservation. A litter size of one kitten is typical, and offspring develop slowly.  A kitten's eyes remain closed for up to 18 days, and juveniles often stay with their mother for up to two years before leaving to establish their own territory.


Prickly Porcupette Delights at Zoo Berlin

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Zoo Berlin in Germany has its hands full with a baby Porcupine, or porcupette, born on July 24. The gender is still unknown, and therefore the porcupette remains nameless. Though only a week old, the porcupette has large spines. Unlike the spines of their parents, however, a porcupette's spines are soft and harmless to their mothers during birth.

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Mothers are protective of their babies. When danger is sensed, they puff up their spines, stamp their hind legs on the ground and rattle their hind legs. Because of their spines, nursing can be a challenge for Porcupines. Luckily, the mother's teets are located under her armpits.

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 Photo Credit Zoo Berlin


Meet the New Miniature Donkey Born at Berlin Zoo

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Born at Berlin Zoo in June, this Sardinian Miniature Donkey earns its name. When it stands next to its mom, Grisella, and sister, Pink, who are themselves only waist high, the new foal looks positively tiny. This is the second foal for 8-year-old Grisella, who has proven to be loving and experienced in looking after her baby.

The Sardinian Miniature Donkey is the smallest equine on earth. The breed originated in the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia, but can be found all over the world now. Adults range in height from 26 to 36 inches (66-91cm) and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds (90-136 kg). The most common color is gray, like this foal, usually with a dark stripe on their back. Donkeys are herd animals and need to be given a companion. If another donkey is not available, they can easily bond with a pony, llama, goat, or cow. Sometimes they also make friends with the family dog!

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Photo Credit: Berlin Zoo