It's a spring Silvery-cheeked Hornbill chick! Although this large featherless baby looks a lot like Daffy Duck after some comic accident, it is in fact a healthy baby hornbill born May 29th at the Central Florida Zoo.
Silvery-cheeked hornbills are native to East Africa but threatened by habitat destruction. This chick is being raised by keepers as its older sibling was picking on it.
The pair (one male, one female) was born on Wednesday May 13 at the Central Florida Zoo. They are all on exhibit now, doing well and their Mom is taking good care of them. As is typical of Red-Ruffed lemurs, the mom “parks” the babies so she can forage for food in the wild and the design of the Zoo's exhibit allows her plenty of areas to “park” them while she forages.
As a child growing up in Connecticut, it was not unusual for me to visit the Bronx Zoo ten times in one year. It was my Disney World and science classroom rolled into one and it inspired a lifelong love of zoology that led directly (eventually) to ZooBorns. Therefore it was with extreme concern that I learned of Governor Paterson's proposal to cut funding for New York zoos, aquariums and botanic gardens from $9 million to $4 million in 2009 and cut funding entirely by 2010.
The Governor's plan is to focus funding on "capital initiatives that provide ongoing environmental benefits" rather than "annual operating support" to organizations. I believe the rationale behind this approach to be deeply flawed. Zoos and aquariums communicate the importance of conservation in a tangible way that environmental engineering projects simply cannot. What is more, they reach a far larger and more diverse audience, including millions of children, sowing the seeds of concern for the living world around us. Essentially what these institutions provide is education in its most captivating and inspiring form. This leads to careers in science and financial and political support for conservation initiatives, so I can think of no more worthwhile investment for "ongoing environmental benefits" than the education provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society - the umbrella organization for the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium.
And now without further ado, we bring you a poster child for this cause, Katie the sea lion pup, born this summer at the Bronx Zoo. The pictures are just a couple of days old and come to us from ZooBorns reader Amber A.
Katie sounds out in this video from August of last year.
Sloth babies are ridiculously cute. Case in point: this adorable two-toed sloth at the Central Florida Zoo born this summer. While sloths in captivity appear brown, grayish or even yellow, wild sloths often appear to have greenish coats because they move so slowly that algae grows on them during the rainy season!
Early this year, the Central Florida Zoo welcomed a lesser spot nosed guenon. This colorful little guy is doing well and contributes to the small guenon population in other US zoos helping researchers develop new conservation efforts.
Born on the 4th of July at the Central Florida Zoo, this tiny South African crested porcupine was aptly named "Patriot." Weighing 1lb at birth, South African crested porcupines are born with fully formed quills, which are initially soft as hair but harden within 24 hours. Baby porcupines are also called "porcupettes!"