Blackpool Zoo

Meet Blackpool's Newborn Meerkat Pups

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A litter of Meerkats was born at the United Kingdom’s Blackpool Zoo on March 6! The teensy pups were photographed before they had even opened their eyes.

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10540607_10152852711433392_8059006185792184401_oPhoto Credit:  Blackpool Zoo

Meerkat litters usually contain two to five pups, which are born in an underground burrow.  Members of the troop pitch in to cooperatively raise the young.  For the first three weeks of life, the pups remain in the burrow.

When the pups are about four weeks old, they start to accompany their group on foraging runs, where they eventually learn to capture insects and other invertebrates to eat.  The pups become mature at about one year old.

Well known for their highly social behavior, Meerkats dig elaborate burrow systems to house their group of up to 50 individuals.  Meerkats rely a group member to act as a sentry, usually stationed on an elevated mound or rock, to keep a lookout for danger.  Meerkats have a vast repertoire of calls, grunts, and barks to alert group members to different types of threats.  Certain alarm calls will send the Meerkats into the burrow for protection.

Found in southern Africa, Meerkats are plentiful and not listed as Endangered or Threatened. 

 


Blackpool Zoo's Little Mountain Zebra Born in a Stable Significant for Species

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There is a truly festive feel in the air at Blackpool Zoo after the birth of a very special boy in one of its stables. The male Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra foal, yet to be named, is only the fourth of his kind to be born in the UK for the past decade and he is a hugely significant addition to the European Endangered Species Program.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011 lists Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras as Vulnerable with a total population of less than 9000 mature individuals. Current studies indicate that this number could decline by more than 10% in the next 25 years due to an increase in hunting and loss of natural habitat to agriculture.

When senior mammal keeper Sofie Fawzy arrived for work on Monday, November 26, she was delighted to find the beautiful little striped boy up on his feet, feeding from his mother. Although keepers suspected that mom Betty was pregnant, a due date was not yet confirmed. It was hoped that, as an older mum, 19-year-old Betty would give birth safely to her very first foal. And indeed she did.

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Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

Blackpool Zoo broke a nine year absence of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra births in 2011 when its other resident female, Helene, gave birth to Tebogo, who recently moved to an all-male group in Germany. The father of both foals is Fernando. 

Sofie, who oversaw the birth and rearing of Tebogo, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have another foal, and mother and baby are doing very well. It will be fantastic to see another lively young one running around. As it is coming up to Christmas, we feel very honored to have our own special little boy who was born in a stable!”

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New Mom for Wilbur the Wallaby! Rare Adoption at Blackpool Zoo

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Wilbur the Red-necked Wallaby has found happiness with a new family after his birth mother tragically passed away while he was still in the pouch. He has been ‘adopted’ by another female at Blackpool Zoo, which is an extremely rare occurrence among marsupials.

Keepers came to work on June 16 to find Wilbur in the pouch of his mother, who had died during the night. They immediately removed him and the decision was taken to hand-rear him. Senior mammal keeper Sofie Fawzy took Wilbur home and fed him at three hour intervals for eleven days before the team decided to mix him with other members of the group for interaction.

Another mother and baby were already in a separate area of the Wallaby Walkabout so the orphan was gradually introduced. Keepers were amazed to see that after just two days Wilbur was feeding from the female and getting on with well with the other joey. The situation was very closely monitored and keepers continued to weigh Wilbur to ensure he was gaining weight at a satisfactory speed. Wilbur and his new family will remain cordoned off from the rest of the group as they continue to bond, but should be out and about in the Wallaby Walkabout in the coming month.

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Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

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Four New Meerkat Pups a Hit at Blackpool Zoo

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Four Meerkat pups are fast becoming the star attraction at Blackpool Zoo after being born last month. Their mother arrived from the Cotswolds Wildlife Park in January 2012 and became pregnant within months. Keepers were thrilled to find the four pups doing well and feeding from mum on the morning of July 4 after an 11 week gestation period. 

Sofie Fawzy, Senior Mammal Keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Meerkats have gone from virtual obscurity to super stars in the past three years here at the zoo, and we are really pleased to welcome the four tiny pups to our meerkat family. Meerkat adoptions have gone through the roof and there is always a crowd watching the comical creatures."

Over the next two months the babies will become more and more independent, becoming fully weaned and eating solids withing 49 to 63 days. Blackpool Zoo’s Meerkat mob is fed on a diet of chicken, mice, beef chunks, mealworms and fruit and vegetables. In the wild, Meerkats live in the deserts and grasslands of the southern tip of Africa.

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Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo


One Boy Plus One Girl Make Two Baby Sea Lions for Blackpool Zoo

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One male and one female California Sea Lions were born at Blackpool Zoo in on June 2 and 9 to first time mothers Anya and Gina respectively. Both the Sea Lion pups are doing well and are now out and about, taking their first tentative dips in the pool under the watchful eye of their mothers and the rest of the harem.

Jude Rothwell, Marketing and PR Co-ordinator at Blackpool Zoo said, “The names of our two Sea Lions are Spanish in origin and Rubi, which translates into Ruby, has been named as such because she was the 40th baby to be born in the year we celebrate our 40th anniversary.”

Sea Lions are recognized as endangered, with many species on the brink of extinction. Several reasons have led to their decline in numbers around in the world. It has become illegal to hunt, harm or kill a Sea Lion but that doesn't necessarily prevent that from taking place. Conservation groups are working hard to educate the public about the need to protect them. And there are now laws in place to help protect their natural environments. 

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Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

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Wallaby Twins! A Rare and Welcome Surprise For Blackpool Zoo

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Keepers at Blackpool Zoo in the UK thought they were seeing double when they spotted an extremely rare set of Red-necked Wallaby twins! The two tiny joeys, which were first noticed by specialist keepers at the zoo a week ago, belong to a three-year-old Red-necked wallaby mom. They will remain in her pouch for around ten months, after which they will be officially recognised as being ‘born’.

Multiple births are so infrequent that the zoo’s Animal Manager, Peter Dillingham, has never personally witnessed twins sharing one pouch during his 39 year career. Although Peter has heard of twins a couple of times in the almost four decades he's been working with these animals, he has never actually seen any. They are thought to be the only ones in the UK and Europe at this time.

He said: “It is absolutely fantastic to finally see twins in one pouch and it has caused a real stir amongst staff and visitors here in Blackpool Zoo. It isn’t uncommon for wallabies to be pregnant and caring for two other ‘joeys’ at a time, one out of the pouch, one in the pouch. As soon as the one inside the pouch leaves another jelly bean sized baby makes its way through the birth canal and latches onto an internal teat until it is big enough to be seen.But to have two at the same time is very rare and we are looking forward to seeing them grow over the coming months.”

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Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

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Father's Day Foal Born at Blackpool Zoo

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Danny the miniature donkey, Blackpool Zoo’s resident stallion, has become a father just in time to celebrate the national day of recognition for dearest dads! A tiny female foal, who has been named Leah by keepers, was born to mom Charlene on June 11.The birth was uncomplicated, with no intervention from staff needed. She is the first baby to be born in the Zoo’s brand new Children’s Farm and is already a huge hit with the public. One look and you can see why!

Charlene and Leah (below) are currently housed their own separate area but will be introduced back into the herd very soon. For the first three months Leah will feed exclusively from her mother, although she will start picking at and exploring grass and hay in the coming weeks. She will be fully weaned at around six months.

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The birth brings the number of Mediterranean miniature donkeys to six with the others being Amanda, Emma, the foal’s older sister Eliza and, of course mother Charlene and father Danny.

Jude Rothwell, Marketing and PR Co-ordinator at Blackpool Zoo, UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome the adorable little Leah to our herd. We have a long and successful history of breeding Mediterranean miniature donkeys and have been keeping them here at the zoo since 1998." Jude adds, "Anyone treating their dad to a Father’s Day trip to the zoo should certainly head down to the Children’s Farm to see just how cute she is!”

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Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

Hailing from Sicily and Sardinia, the Mediterranean miniature donkey is almost extinct in the wild in their native land, though breeding programs have been very successful in the United States. When fully grown they at stand at between 30 and 36 inches tall.

 

 


Blackpool Zoo Earns Its Stripes

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Ecstatic keepers at Blackpool Zoo have really earned their stripes after becoming the first UK team to successfully breed a Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra in the last nine years. The foal is also the first of its species to arrive in the whole of Europe in 2011, with just 12 born around the globe in 2010. Named Tebogo, a South African name which means ‘we are thankful’, by keepers, he takes the number of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras in captivity in the UK to 14.

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Photo credits: Blackpool Zoo

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That's One Clean Paw!

Four of the world’s smallest otters have been born and successfully reared at the UK's Blackpool Zoo for the first time in its history. The quartet of Asian Small Clawed Otters are now out and about after spending their first two months being cared for in the holt by their mother. When they are born, they weigh around 50g, are toothless, practically immobile and their eyes are still closed. Once their eyes open, usually at around 40 days, they begin to venture out and explore their surroundings. Classified as vulnerable in the wild, the species hails from the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Photographer Claire Copley caught these candid shot of one of the pups doing some thorough paw cleaning.

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That's better...

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