Brookfield Zoo

A New Baby Gibbon Swings Into Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield-Zoo---White-Cheeked-Gibbon4

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a male White-Cheeked Gibbon on November 15. The 1-month-old infant—along with his mom, Indah; dad, Benny; and 2-year-old brother, Thani—can be seen on exhibit in the zoo’s Tropic World: Asia exhibit daily between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Since his birth, the infant has been keeping a close grip on his mom. He will stay in contact and be carried by Indah for a few more months. As he gets older, he will begin to explore the habitat on his own, become more independent, and play with his brother and dad. 

All White-cheeked Gibbons are born with a blond coat matching their mother’s coat, a form of camouflage. The new male Gibbon will retain this light coloring until it begins to turn dusky when he is half a year old. By the time he reaches his first birthday, the young Gibbon will be sporting a black coat with light cheek patches, like his dad and brother. He will retain this coloration for life. Females turn black and then back to blond again, with a small patch of black on their crown, when they reach sexual maturity at around 6 to 8 years of age.

Brookfield-Zoo---White-Cheeked-Gibbon5

Brookfield-Zoo---White-Cheeked-Gibbon3

Brookfield-Zoo---White-Cheeked-Gibbon

Brookfield-Zoo---White-Cheeked-Gibbon2

Brookfield-Zoo---White-Cheeked-Gibbon6

 

Indah, 23, and Benny, 26, have been together at Brookfield Zoo since August 1995. Indah was born at Minnesota Zoological Garden, and Benny was born in Leipzig, Germany. They are managed as a breeding pair based on a recommendation by the Gibbon Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). An SSP is a cooperative conservation program for the long-term management of an endangered species’ breeding, health, and welfare in North American zoos. Jay Petersen, curator of mammals for the Chicago Zoological Society, is the Gibbon SSP coordinator. With the assistance of the Gibbon SSP Management Group, he is responsible for management goals for all gibbons in AZA zoos and for breeding recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied North American white-cheeked gibbon population. Currently, 83 white-cheeked gibbons live in accredited North American zoos.

Continue reading "A New Baby Gibbon Swings Into Brookfield Zoo" »


Are You My Mother? Guinea Fowl Chicks Raised By Peahens!

5

There's something a little different going on at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, but it's working. Two clutches of Guineafowl chicks were incubated by Feta and Blue, the Zoo's Indian peahens. The chicks hatched on July 7 and 14, and though an entirely different kind of bird, Feta and Blue are now raising the chicks too -- even though they look, act, and sound nothing like them. Their roles have been simple: help the chicks avoid common zoo quandaries such as pedestrians, Motor Safari trams, and predators like the occasional overhead hawk. This is important since both species have free range of the zoo grounds every day and night.

The practice of switching eggs is not as unusual as it may seem. Other zoos have had success with chickens incubating pheasant eggs, and the method has been tried with cranes, many of which are endangered in the wild.

“Zoogoers may not notice anything unusual between the moms and chicks, but there are definitely differences and several barriers that they needed to overcome, including language and behaviors,” said Tim Snyder, curator of birds for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. “The first two weeks were a little precarious because the chicks needed to learn what the peahens’ vocalization meant and adapt to different behaviors that are not instinctual to them.”

Crop 2

Crop 3

Crop 1
Photo Credit: Chicago Zoological Society

For instance, Guineafowl chicks naturally scatter and hide when frightened or threatened, while peachicks run toward their mother. Additionally, Guineafowl moms and chicks move as a group and help care for each others’ young, which is the opposite of independent peafowl. Another difference between the two species is the length of time the juvenile birds stay close to Mom. Probably much to Feta and Blue’s dismay, the Guineafowl chicks will be tagging along with them for about a year until the next breeding season, which will be in the spring. In the wild, Guineafowl tend to stay together as a flock, including the males, while peafowl juveniles tend to become independent of Mom much sooner.

This is Feta’s second time and Blue’s first of being successful surrogate moms to Guineafowl chicks at Brookfield Zoo. Although they have free range of the entire park, the family groups can generally be found roaming near The Swamp, Tropic World, or the Formal Pool.

In the wild, Guineafowl are found throughout western, northeastern, and southern Africa in open areas, including forest edges, savannahs, scrublands, and cultivated areas. Indian peafowl, also known as blue peafowl, are the national bird of India and are protected in that country. The species prefers the open forests of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.


Rare "Forest Giraffe" Born at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo

Okapi-2

The Chicago Zoological Society, which mangaes the Brookfield Zoo, is pleased to announce the birth of a rare hoofed mammal called an Okapi. Also known as "Forest Giraffes", these elusive hoofed mammals are largely a mystery to zoologists. Births such as this one help to shed light on the behavioral patterns of mother Okapi and how they rear their young in the wild. Brookfield welcomed the first North American Okapi birth back in 1959, and has since successfully bred 30 individuals, including this latest addition to the family.

Okapi-1

Okapi-3

More photos and reading below the fold...

Continue reading "Rare "Forest Giraffe" Born at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo" »


Did Somebody Say 'More Baby Wombat?!'

Little wombat says hello

Back by popular demand, the Brookfield Zoo's Hairy-nosed Wombat joey returns to ZooBorns for a second round of adorable wombatitude. Hairy-nosed Wombats are the smallest and most social of all wombat species. Once found throughout a large range in Southern Australia, today the population has been fragmented into a patchwork by human development. The resulting reduced genetic variation makes the species more suspectible to disease. The Brookfield Zoo has exhibited this species for decades and, in fact, was home to the oldest documented Hairy-Nosed Wombats in the world, Carver, who lived to be 34, and his mother, Vicky, who lived to be 24. See the earlier shots here.

Baby wombat and mom at Brookfield Zoo 2

Wombatitude

Baby wombat climbs on mom at the Brookfield ZooPhoto credits: Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo

Continue reading "Did Somebody Say 'More Baby Wombat?!'" »


Look Who's out of the Pouch!

Baby Wombat Brookfield Zoo - check out that nose

Brookfield Zoo has a new resident out of the pouch and exploring more every day: a male Hairy-nosed Wombat baby (called a joey). Born in the summer of 2010 to mom Kambora, the little fellow developed in the pouch following a gestation period of approximately 21 days. Immediately after birth, the tiny joey crawled into Kambora's pouch, where he slept and nursed for approximately nine months getting all the tasty nutrients he needed for proper development. In 1974, Brookfield Zoo was home to the first Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat born outside of Australia. Since then, there have been 15 successful wombat births at Brookfield Zoo. Currently, Brookfield Zoo is one of only four zoos in North America to exhibit Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats.

Baby Wombat Brookfield Zoo - check out that nose 2

Baby Wombat and mom nose to nose

Baby Wombat and mom pose for family portrait

Photo and video credits: Brookfield Zoo


Ten (10!!!) African Wild Dog Puppies Born at Brookfield Zoo

African-Wild-Dog-Puppies-1

Now that's a fine litter! The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the Brookfield Zoo, proudly announced the birth of not one, not two, but TEN African Wild Dog puppies. This pile of pups was only the third (and final) litter of African Wild Dogs to be born in North American zoos in 2010. Today veterinarians performed physicals and vaccinations on the pups. African Wild Dogs are endangered in the wild due to human encroachment, diseases transmitted from domestic dogs, snaring and poisoning. “This litter is critically important to the managed population of African wild dogs in North America. We are excited about the role the puppies will play in inspiring a connection between our guests and these incredible animals, as well as communicating the plight of these dogs’ counterparts in the wild,” said Amy Roberts, curator of mammals for the Chicago Zoological Society.

African-Wild-Dog-Puppy-1

African-Wild-Dog-Puppy-1

African-Wild-Dog-Puppy-1

All photo and video credits: Chicago Zoological Society

More photos and information below the fold.

Continue reading "Ten (10!!!) African Wild Dog Puppies Born at Brookfield Zoo" »


Orphaned California Sea Lion Pups Find a Home at Brookfield Zoo

The two unnamed female pups, born on June 7 and June 10, were abandoned by their moms at a popular tourist attraction—Pier 39 in San Francisco—which is a highly unusual place for a California sea lion to give birth. Lucky for them, they were rescued by staff from The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, eventually making their way to the Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo. The pups are off exhibit for the moment while they get used to their new home but are doing great so far!

California sea lion pups brookfield zoo 3

California sea lion pups brookfield zoo 3

California sea lion pups brookfield zoo 3

California sea lion pups brookfield zoo 2

Read the whole story and see more pictures below the fold

Continue reading "Orphaned California Sea Lion Pups Find a Home at Brookfield Zoo" »


Meal Time and Play Time for a Little Addax

The Addax is a critically endangered antelope native to the Western Sahara. With only an estimated 200-300 Addax left in the wild, every birth in captivity helps ensure the survival, and potential re-population, of this species. This little boy was born June 17th at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. Lots of happy antelope tail-wagging in this video.

Definitely watch past the first minute to see some wobbly bounding.


Learn more about baby "Chad" at the Chicago Zoological Society's website.