Burgers Zoo

‘A’ Is for Aardvark at Burgers’ Zoo


Burgers’ Zoo, in the Netherlands, recently welcomed a new Aardvark cub! The healthy baby was born the end of July and has been carefully monitored by zookeepers.

Burgers’ Zoo, under the authority of the EAZA, manages the European breeding program for the Aardvark. They are the only zoo in the Netherlands to house this special species.


3_11807685_1008322749240617_8542890582731456660_oPhoto Credits: Burgers' Zoo

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

The Aardvark is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered in coarse hair. The limbs are moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. Their weight is typically between 130 and 180 lbs. (60 and 80 kg). Their length is usually between 3.44 and 4.27 feet (105 and 130 cm). They are typically 24 inches tall (60 cm). The Aardvark is pale yellowish gray in color and often stained reddish brown by soil it sorts through. The coat is thin, and the skin is tough.

The Aardvark is nocturnal and feeds almost exclusively on ants and termites. They will emerge from their burrow in late afternoon and forage for food over a range of about 6 to 18 miles from home. While foraging, they keep the nose to ground and ears pointed forward. When concentrations of ants or termites are detected, the Aardvark digs into the mound with powerful front legs and will take up the insects with their long, sticky tongue. It is possible for the animal to take in as many as 50,000 ants and termites in one night.

The Aardvark is mostly quiet, but will make soft grunting sounds as it forages and louder grunts when engaged in burrowing.

Aardvarks have a gestation of about seven months. They generally give birth to a single cub from May to July. When born, the young have flaccid ears and many wrinkles. After two weeks, the folds of skin disappear and after three weeks the ears are upright. At 5-6 weeks, body hair starts growing. They are weaned by about 16 weeks, and can dig their own burrow by 6 months of age. The young often remain with the mother till the next mating season.

The Aardvark is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, they are a species in a precarious situation and are declining in number as their food supplies begin to dwindle.

Rhino Calf is a Surprise for Burgers' Zoo


As keepers at the Netherlands’ Burgers’ Zoo were moving the White Rhino herd into the stables at the end of the day on July 23, they got a big surprise – Kwanzaa, a female Rhino, had delivered a male calf!

10351811_792013610871533_6350523479992007433_nPhoto Credit:  Burgers' Zoo

Kwanzaa refused to go into the stables so soon after giving birth, so she and her newborn calf remained outdoors.  Keepers left the stable doors open so Kwanzaa and her calf could move inside when they felt ready.  Sometime in the night, they did go into the stable, where they have remained for the last few days.  After a week or so, keepers plan to allow Kwanzaa and her calf to move back into the outdoor yard.

The Rhino calf’s arrival was not a complete surprise.  Pregnancy hormone levels in the Rhinos’ manure are tested regularly, and Kwanzaa was expected to deliver in about one month.  White Rhinos are pregnant for about 17 months.  The calf, who has not been named, weighed about 50 pounds at birth, and gains about 3 pounds per day. 

White Rhinos are threatened by illegal hunting in their African home ranges.  Poachers kill Rhinos only for their horns, which are used in traditional medicines and as coveted ornaments.

See more photos of the calf below.

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Meet Burgers' Zoo's Cheetah Cub Trio

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As a Thanksgiving treat, here's a sneak peek at the newest little Cheetahs at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands!

For the next few months they will stay behind the scenes so that mom can raise her cubs undisturbed. Once they're old enough they will have a veterinary checkup to get vaccinated and to determine their sexes. 

Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened species. Current estimates place the wild Cheetah population at around 7,500 individuals. We're thankful for zoos that aid wildlife conservation through cooperative captive breeding programs, research, and by reaching out to engage and educate the public.

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3 cheetah

4 cheetahPhoto credit: Burgers' Zoo

Rare Gorilla Twins Surprise Staff at Burgers' Zoo


When zoo keepers entered the Gorilla House at the Netherlands’ Burgers' Zoo on June 13, they were taken by surprise:  N’Gayla, the 20-year-old female Gorilla, had delivered twin babies overnight!



Photo Credit:  Burgers Zoo

Keepers knew that N’Gayla was pregnant, but they were not expecting her to deliver until later in the summer, and they were certainly not expecting twins.  Gorillas normally have just one baby at a time.  Twins in Gorillas are much rarer than in humans. 

Surprised keeper Wilco Limpers explained what he saw that morning.  “At first I did not expect to see twins.  I was watching N’Gayla lick her baby clean, and suddenly she grabbed something from within the straw bedding – another baby Gorilla! I really did not know what I saw.  Gorilla twins are seen only once or twice every ten years in European zoos.”

Baby Gorillas are small and helpless, requiring round-the-clock care from their mothers.  Though N’Gayla has her hands full, she is an experienced mother who has already raised three youngsters successfully.  The twins’ father, 23-year-old Bauwi, will play only a minor role in their care.

See more photos of the twins below the fold.

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Twin Tiger Cubs Thriving Behind the Scenes at Burgers' Zoo

Tiger cu

These are the first pictures of two Sumantran Tiger cubs born in early May at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands. Though they are about four weeks old, they have been staying with their mother behind the scenes. In the wild, tigers find a secure and quiet hideaway, like a cave, in which to give birth. Knowing this, the Keepers created a nice, dark room boardering the Lion habitat for the arrival of the twins. A closed-circuit camera recorded their birth, nursing activity and interaction with Mom.

As luck would have it, a spider chose to make it's web right in front of the lens, so while Mom stepped out, Keepers took the opportunity to both clear the camera and snap some quick images of the cubs.

Tiger look

TIger solo cu

Photo Credit: Burger's Zoo

The Sumatran Tiger is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra off the Malaysian Peninsula and  is considered to be a Critically Endangered species. It's estimated that only between 500-600 remain in the wild, and the actual number may be as low as 400, and rapidly dwindling. Most of those now live in five National Parks and two Game Reserves -  though around 100 live in an unprotected area that will most likely be lost to agriculture growth in the near future. Though poaching is illegal, they are still hunted due to a high demand for Tiger products. 

You can see video of the birth, of the little ones testing out padding below, and mom grabbing one of the babies who had wandered below.

Tiger birth:


First wobbly steps:


Mom picking up straying cub:

See more pictures below the fold:

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Miniature Muntjac Born in the Netherlands

Muntjac 1

Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands has been keeping mighty busy lately. In addition to their hundredth year anniversary, which they celebrated just yesterday on March 30th, and the three Warthogs born last month that we reported on HERE just last week, they have just announced the recent birth of a tiny Muntjac.

Muntjacs are known to be the oldest species of deer. There is evidence of their existence dating back between 15 and 35 million years from fossils that have been discovered in modern France, Germany and Poland. Today, Muntjacs are native to Southeast Asia. Interestingly, in the early part of the twentieth century, a group of Muntjacs escaped from Woburn Safari Park in England and the species was able to survive and thrive in this European environment. Today, a large and sustainable population of Muntjacs descended from these escapees exist in England. It is though that they will soon become the most numerous deer species in the nation. 

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Photo credit: Burgers' Zoo

Three Little Pigs Born in the Netherlands

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On February 27th, three little Warthogs were born at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands. The triplets are sure to be in good care with their mother, who has already successfully raised fifteen piglets before this latest liter. On March 21st the piglets were examined by veterinarians, given transponders, and sexed. It was determined that the zoo had received one male and two females. This news excited those working at the zoo as the females represent only the third and forth females of this mother's eighteen total offspring.  

The latest birth brings the zoo's Warthog total up to eight. In addition to the parents of the most recent piglets, the zoo is home to three previous offspring of this breeding pair. This includes a male born in 2010 at the zoo, and a male and female born there just last year. The mother and her three piglets are currently separated from the adult male and their three previous offspring. The zoo typically keeps the young separated with their mother for about eight weeks before they are introduced to their father and the rest of their family. This mimics the time a litter would spend in a burrow with their mother following a birth in the wild.

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Warthog 3
Photo credits: Theo Kruse / Burgers' Zoo

This piglets were born after a gestation period of approximately 155 days. They represent a very typical litter size, though litters can range anywhere between one and seven offspring. Though they were quite small when first born, the males will weigh upwards of 200 pounds when full grown, with the female reaching anywhere between 100 and 150 pounds.

Surprise! A Ringed Seal Pup Born at Burgers' Zoo


It was a pleasant surprise when Burgers' Zoo found that a Ringed Seal had been born during the night on Friday, March 1st.  Zoo staff had observed several matings but were not sure if the seals were mature enough to reproduce successfully. 

Burgers' Zoo is the only zoo where Ringed Seals have been born. In the past, caretakers have supplemented pups with bottle-feeding because inexperienced mothers can have difficulty caring for their first young. This year, the new pup seems to be suckling regularly, and caretakers are hopeful that the mother will be able to care for her pup.


Below: The pup, whose sex has not been determined yet, bonds with its mother.

Photo credits: Burgers' Zoo

Learn more about Ringed Seals after the fold.

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Baby Giraffe is Standing Tall at Burgers' Zoo


Just two days ago on January 25, this female giraffe was born at Burgers’ Zoo in The Netherlands.   The baby is named Annelieke, but the zoo staff has already nicknamed her Lieke.

Female giraffes give birth standing up.  The baby emerges front feet first, followed by the nose, head, neck, body, and hindquarters.   The baby drops about six feet to the ground and within minutes, struggles to stand up.   With encouraging licks from mom’s 18-inch-long tongue, the baby eventually stands upright on wobbly legs – at least for a few seconds!  Zoo staffers rarely assists in giraffe births, and most babies stand and nurse successfully within the first few hours of life. 


Photo Credit:  Burgers' Zoo

Why the hurry to get the baby on its feet? In the wild, baby giraffes are easy prey for hungry lions and hyenas.  The sooner the baby can walk and follow the herd, the better.

There are nine subspecies of giraffes, with each found in fragmented populations across central, eastern, and southern Africa. 


Preemie White Rhino Baby Catches Keepers By Surprise

Rhino Calf at Burgers Zoo 1

Keepers at The Netherlands' Burgers' Zoo were surprised by the early birth of a baby White Rhino on Saturday. 12-year-old female, Kwanzaa, and her new calf Vince are stable and healthy, according to zoo officials. Of the five rhino species in existence, White Rhinoceros are the most social. They are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.



Photo credit: Burger's Zoo