Berlin Zoo

First Rusty-Spotted Cats in 168 Years at the Berlin Zoo!

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The Berlin Zoo is celebrating the first birth of Rusty-Spotted Cats in its 168-year history.  Rusty-Spotted Cats are the world's smallest wild cats, weighing only 2.0 to 3.5 lb (0.9 to 1.6 kg) as adults. 

The two kittens were born on August 5, and have only recently begun to leave their den to explore their exhibit.  Playful, clumsy, and a little awkward, the two female youngsters are a delight to zoo guests.  At birth, kittens typically weigh just 2.0-2.7 ounces (60-77 g).

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Native only to Sri Lanka and India, these diminuitive cats are classified as Vulnerable due to habitat loss and the conversion of wild lands to farms.  Rusty-Spotted Cats prefer dense forests and grasslands, emerging at night to hunt for rodents, birds, and lizards. 

Little is known about these secretive cats, and few zoos display this species, making these two kitttens especially important for the captive population.

Photo Credits: Berlin Zoo

0.9 to 1.6 kg (2.0 to 3.5 lb)

A Single Red River Hog Baby Born at Berlin Zoo

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On September 1 this little Red River Hog was born in a padded corner nest filled with wood shavings at the Berlin Zoo. Mom Dagmba lay on her side to encourage the baby to nurse, and somehow the baby, who did not have to fight with any siblings or share milk, ended up choosing the most out-of-reach teat. 

This lively little one, named Tonka by his keepers, has already begun to follow his mother outside into their habitat when the weather permits. When mom sits down or stops, Tonka hugs her side, where he feels safest. The rest of the gang, Boar pig Kivu, Tomu and sow Gundi, are curious, but the baby will not be introduced to them for a few more days; Keepers are letting mom and baby be for now, to ensure further bonding and to give Tonka the time to grown stronger and bigger before romping with the rest.

Hogs are native to West and Central Africa. With its reddish coat, dark face mask, white beard and conspicuous ear tufts, they are among the most colorful mammals. In zoos, the population trends of the Red River hogs are controlled by conservation breeding programs such as the one at Berlin Zoo.

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Photo Credits: Berlin Zoo


Berlin Zoo Welcomes a New Baby Elephant

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The Berlin Zoo is celebrating the safe arrival of their newest baby Asian Elephant, a healthy female. She was born just after midnight on August 12, standing 3.28 feet tall (one meter) and weighing 353 pounds (160 kg), after a 654 day gestation – that's nearly two years! Last week she made her public debut to the delight of the many zoo guests who came to see her.

Asian Elephants are endangered, the major threat being loss of habitat, poaching for their ivory tusks and conflict with human encroachment.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin

This is the fourth baby for mother, Pang Pha. Since Mom was a gift to the the zoo from the Royal Thai Government, zoo staff has named her new calf Anchali, which means 'greeting' in Thai. Victor, Anchali’s father, is 18 years old. Like most male Elephants, he has little contact with his offspring. Anchali has been successfully nursing on her own, though it makes her sleepy... In the video below you can catch her napping peacefully afterwards at her mother's feet. 


Calling All Elephanatics! Berlin's Got Great News!

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Berlin's Tierpark has the good word that on May 8th, a male Asian Elephant calf came into the world. The little bull and his 18 year old mother Nova are doing well and the family was presented to the public on on May 10th. This is the second birth for Nova. The yet to be named new arrival is about 35 inches tall and weighs around 225 pounds!

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Photo credits: Tierpark Berlin

The major threat facing the endangered Asian Elephant today is the loss  of its habitat Southeast Asian habitat (from India in the west to Borneo in the east) resulting from deforestation. Other causes for their population decline include poaching for ivory, isolation of Elephant populations and Human-Elephant conflict.


Berlin Zoo Welcomes A New Forest Buffalo To Its Herd

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Born January 8th, this African Forest Buffalo joined Zoo Berlin's herd to the excitement of zookeepers and visitors alike. The African Forest Buffalo is slightly smaller than its close relative, the Cape Buffalo. Its native habitat is the equatorial forests of Central and West Africa. Forest Buffaloes feed primarily on grasses, twigs and shoots. Their main predators in the wild are Leopards.

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Photo credit: Zoo Berlin


Hip Hip Hooray! A Hippo Baby Born at Berlin Zoo

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A baby hippo, born at the Berlin Zoo on October 23, has been delighting keepers and guest alike. The as yet unnamed calf remained behind the scenes in the pools for several days to bond with it's mother Nicloe. Then she confidently led the baby to the water in the exhibit, and introduced the little one to the other members of the herd.

This is the third baby for this experienced mom, and the baby's interactions with her siblings and the other adults is wonderful to watch. The wee one made this public debut on Nov. 1. Underwater, they run or walk along the bottom with their ears and nostrils clamped shut by special small muscles. Their heart rate slows, allowing them to stay under for up to 30 minutes, though they commonly come up for air every 6-7 minutes.

Hippopotamus live on both land and water. Their natural habitat is grassland where there is permanent still water that is not too deep. Sadly, this species has been declared endangered because of habitat loss due to man's encroachment, and because they are hunted for meat.

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More pics beneath the fold...

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Zurich's Youngest Bonobo Seen Snacking

Last week, veteran photographer and ZooBorns contributor A.J. Haverkamp snapped pictures of Likemba, Zoo Berlin's baby Bonobo. Only defined as a separate species in 1929, Bonobos differ from chimps largely for their more peaceful and easy going social dynamics.

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Photo Credits: Arjan Haverkamp

Team ZooBorns is off to Houston today for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' annual conference. We'll be posting from the road and we hope to see some of you in the lonestar state!


Tons of Cute: Baby Elephant Born in Berlin

What a year it's been for Pachyderms! Now only one week old, Germany's newest Elephant Calf, Bimas, made his debut appearance Friday at Berlin Zoo. Bimas is the 16th elephant to be born at the Berlin Zoo since 1998, as part of it's successful Asian Elephant breeding and conservation program. You've got to love the scientific name for these guys: "Elephas maximus!"

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Many pics and a video are after the jump.

Continue reading "Tons of Cute: Baby Elephant Born in Berlin" »


Berlin's Bashful Black Rhino Stays Close by Mom

Zoo Berlin welcomed a baby Black Rhino Feb. 7. Black rhinos are actually not black at all. The species probably derives its name as a distinction from the white rhino (itself a misnomer) and/or from the dark-colored local soil that often covers its skin after wallowing in mud. The upper lip of the black rhino is adapted for feeding from trees and shrubs and is its best distinguishing characteristic.

Black rhinos have two horns. The front (anterior) horn is larger and measures 1 foot, 8 inches (0.5 - 1.3 m). The rear (posterior) horn is smaller and measures up to 22 inches (55 cm) long. 

Black rhinos can live to be 30-35 years in the wild and more than 45 years in captivity. 

Gestation lasts approximately 15-16 months, and mothers give birth to one calf every 2.5-3 years. Females reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age; males mature between 7 and 10 years of age.
Timur Emek / AFP/Getty Images