Denver Zoo's Clouded Leopard Cubs Socialize


Denver Zoo’s three Clouded Leopard cubs, Pi, Rhu and Saya, are getting to know each other during supervised introductions. Saya, a female born on April 10, arrived May 17th from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). Zookeepers let the three of them play together behind the scenes two or three times a day to socialize to make sure they engage with each other. Saya still won’t meet the public for a few weeks as she needs to grow a little bigger to spend time alone with her new friends in Denver Zoo's Toyota Elephant Passage. You can learn more about her journey at




Saya, below, upon arriving at Denver Zoo in May...



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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4 catPhoto credit: Zoo Berlin

Tulsa Zoo Celebrates its Third Jaguar Cub Birth

Jaguar Cub

The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Jaguar cub, marking the third Jaguar birth at the zoo. This new addition was born on March 26 to mom, Ixchel, and dad, Bebeto. This is the second successful birth for the Jaguar pair, and another important contribution to Jaguar populations.

This birth was in conjunction with the Jaguar SSP, or the Species Survival Plan®, which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos across the nation. Native to the tropical rainforests of Mexico, Central and South America, Jaguars are considered near threatened due to habitat loss. There are currently more than 100 Jaguars in North American-accredited (AZA) zoos, while it is estimated that 10,000 Jaguars currently exist in the wild.

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Jags 2 - CamPhoto credits 1 and 2: Dr. Jen Kilburn 

While the cub is doing well, its sibling did not survive the birthing process. The cub appeared to be stillborn as animal health staff closely watched the internal monitoring camera.

Staff continues to closely monitor Ixchel and her cub from remote cameras to ensure proper development and nursing. The cub’s first 30 days are critical, so both mom and cub will remain in a private, off-exhibit den in the Tropical American Rainforest.

Pampas Cats are Second Generation at Bioparque M’Bopicua


Two Pampas Cats born on October 30 at Uruguay’s Bioparque M’Bopicuá are the second generation of these little-known felines to be born at the facility.



DSC_1122Photo Credit:  Bioparque M’Bopicua

With sturdy, compact bodies, Pampas cats resemble domestic cats in many ways.  Because of their wide range along the western edge of South America, these cats are well adapted to a variety of habitats, from the pampas (grasslands) to forests, swamps, and cold deserts. 

Not much is known about wild Pampas Cats, but they were extensively hunted for their pelts until international trade was banned in 1987.  They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Habitat destruction poses the most significant threat to these cats today.

See more photos of the kittens below the fold.

Continue reading "Pampas Cats are Second Generation at Bioparque M’Bopicua" »

Don't Wake Little Santos, The Ocelot Kitten!


The nursery in Cincinnati Zoo's Children's Zoo has a brand new addition! Santos, the baby Ocelot, was born November 2 at the Abilene Zoo in Texas. He'll become a part of the Cincinnati Zoo's Cheetah Encounter Show in the summer of 2014.

Ocelots are native to much of South America and Mexico. They are expert hunters, and are fiercely territorial. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.





Rusty-spotted Cats: Not Your Average Kitties

With big golden eyes and striped fur, this Rusty-spotted Cat looks like your average house cat.  But there's nothing average about Jaipur and Rashna, two female Rusty-spotted Cats who were born at France's Parc des Félins on April 24.

Photo Credit:  Emmanuel Keller

Rusty-spotted Cats are among the smallest of all felines.  Weighing only two to three pounds (1-1.5 kg), these petite cats are found only in the forests of India and Sri Lanka.  Hunting at night for rodents, birds, and lizards, Rusty-spotted Cats snooze in thick vegetation or hollow logs all day.

Due to loss of habitat as forests are cleared for agriculture, Rusty-spotted Cat populations are in decline.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as Vulnerable.  They are sometimes kept as pets.

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ZooBorns' 2nd all ages book, "ZooBorns CATS!" (Hardcover, 160 pages), features a Rusty-spotted Cat from France's Parc des Félins, just like today's feature! Pick it up on amazon and have it in time for the holidays! 

Order now:


Meet Zoo Berlin’s Blue-eyed Baby Caracal Quadruplets

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.

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.



Romping with Cheetah Cubs - a ZooBorns First!


Last Monday my ZooBorns' co-founder, Chris Eastland, and I (Andrew Bleiman) made a very special trip to Dallas Zoo to meet their twin Cheetah cubs, Kamau and Winspear. We also met their canine companion, a black Lab puppy named, Amani. 

It's extraordinarily rare that we get to interact, let alone romp, with real-live zoo-borns. However these special cubs are being raised as education animals so socialization with humans, even goofy ZooBorns guys, is part of their regular day. Their puppy friend, Amani, is a calming influence who will also help with these efforts. 

The cubs were born at Smithsonian's Front Royal Conservation Biology Institute on July 8th. 





The feline duo put on quite a display. Stalking and pouncing on us / one another / furniture and just about anything else worth clawing at occupied most of the morning. The cubs made a variety of noises, from bird-like chirps, to gutteral growls, to purrs that would remind you of your house cat, just a lot louder. 

With wild Cheetah populations hovering somewhere around 10,000, the species is considered vulnerable to extinction. Cheetahs thrive in vast expanses of land. Human encroachment and habitat destruction are central threats to this iconic species.

Institutions like Dallas Zoo serve an invaluable role in building empathy and awareness for wildlife conservation. We here at ZooBorns are proud to help spread the word about these efforts and consider ourselves incredibly priviliged to meet Dallas' newest Cheetah ambassadors. 

Special thanks to the Dallas Zoo staff that made our visit possible. Pictured left to right: Chris Eastland (ZooBorns), Candice Davis, Chris Johnson, Robin Ryan, and Andrew Bleiman (ZooBorns). Not pictured: Laurie Holloway

Photo credits: ZooBorns / Juan Pulido

Zoo Miami's First Ever Lion Cubs!


For the first time in the 33 year history of Zoo Miami, the birth of Lions is being celebrated!  On Tuesday, September 24th, “Kashifa’” a 3 year, 8 month old Lioness gave birth to three cubs in a special den off exhibit.  Until today, the cubs were being observed in that den via a closed circuit camera which indicated that the newborns are being well cared for by the first time mother.  This morning, zoo staff was successful in shifting the mother, which allowed the separation of the cubs and subsequent safe access for their neonatal examination.  The examination enabled staff to determine the sex of the cubs as well as obtain weights while carefully evaluating their overall condition.  In addition, they received microchips for identification.  The two males and single female appeared to be in excellent health weighing between 1.63kg and 1.75kg and will remain off exhibit with their mother for approximately 3 months until zoo staff feels confident that the cubs can be introduced to the rest of the pride and safely navigate the exhibit with the adults.

Kashifa is one of four Lions that form the pride at Zoo Miami.  She shares the exhibit with her sister, Asha, and two unrelated brothers, Jabari and Kwame.  Both females were born at the Bronx Zoo in New York in January of 2010 and the males were born at the Racine Zoo in Wisconsin in September of 2007.   It is not known for sure which if the two brothers is the father of the cubs as both males had equal access to the females. 




These cubs were born as part of a carefully planned breeding that was the result of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommendation.  Species Survival Plans are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) mission to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered species populations in accredited institutions.

See more photos of the cubs below the fold...

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First Snow Leopard in Over a Decade at Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo is closing out a purr-fect summer with a major announcement. The first Snow Leopard birth in more than a decade occured at the Memphis Zoo on July 19, helping a highly endangered animal make a comeback.

The cub, a male, was born to parents "Ateri" and "Darhan." Ateri, a first-time mother, is nursing the cub behind the scenes. The public will be invited to vote on their favorite of seven pre-chosen names.



"Ateri is a great mother," says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. "This was her first cub, and everything is going smoothly."

On September 3, Memphis Zoo veterinarians performed the first neonatal exam on the cub. He was declared to be in excellent health, and mother and baby are doing fine.

Continue reading "First Snow Leopard in Over a Decade at Memphis Zoo" »