Chattanooga Zoo

Fennec Fox Sibs Make Debut


A Fennec Fox couple, at the Chattanooga Zoo, are proud parents to two new kits! The boy and girl were welcomed, January 23rd, by first time mother, ‘Sophie’, and father, ‘Barkley’. 


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FennecKitsChatt6Photo Credits: Chattanooga Zoo

The yet-to-be-named kits, and their mother, are in perfect health and adjusting very well. The duo recently made their public debut and can now be seen, on exhibit, with their parents, at the Zoo.

Father of the kits, Barkley, was paired with Sophie through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program, as a recommended breeding pair. Barkley arrived at the Chattanooga Zoo from the St. Louis Zoo in October 2014. The genetics that Sophie and Barkley hold are rare and highly valuable in the Zoo’s breeding pool. The breeding pair quickly became fond of each other, and they are now considered an SSP success story.

More awesome pics, below the fold!

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More Fennec Foxes For Your Friday?


We figured no one would complain if we shared additional photos of Chattanooga Zoo's Fennec Fox kits, so here goes! Here is the pair when they were a bit younger, and getting into all kinds of mischief!




Did you know that the Fennec Fox is ZooBorns' unofficial mascot? The Fennec Fox graces the cover of our original all ages book, ZooBorns (below). Take a tour of the book on Amazon and get it in time for the holidays. With interesting animal facts and background stories on the featured babies, ZooBorns (Hardcover, 160 pages) illustrates the connections between zoo births and conservation initiatives in the wild. 10% of revenue from ZooBorns' book sales goes directly to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Conservation Endowment Fund.


Get it now on Amazon!

Fennec Fox Sisters are Animal Ambassadors at Chattanooga Zoo

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Two Fennec Fox sisters were born at Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee! They have just been named Zahari, meaning blue in Arabic, and Zeiti, meaning green in Arabic. (To tell the sisters apart, they were each given a small spot of food coloring either blue or green on their backs.)

They were born on September 11, 2013 to first-time parents, mother Karoo and father Kalahari. The kits are incredibly active and are growing bigger by the day. They are very curious and playful and love to investigate new toys, sounds, and smells. When full grown, they will join the zoo’s animal ambassador and education programs, where they will play an important role in raising awareness about wildlife conservation.

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6 fennec foxPhoto credits: Chattanooga Zoo

Fennec Foxes (a ZooBorns favorite!) live in the deserts and semi-arid lands of northern Africa. Also called the Desert Fox, their most notable feature are their ears, which are enormous in proportion to their body size. An adult Fennec Fox measures about 16 inches (40 cm) in body length and has ears six inches (15 cm) long. These huge ears are used for cooling the body of excess heat and for locating prey, such as lizards, insects, and eggs, buried deep under the desert sand. Fennec Foxes are a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation's Red List of Threatened Species. 

Orphaned Cougar Cubs Find a Home


A pair of young Cougar cubs found orphaned and starving near Missoula, Montana briefly took up residence at the Oregon Zoo before being transferred to a new, permanent home at Tennessee's Chattanooga Zoo.

Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman described the 5-month-old siblings, one male and one female, as "intensely cute, but far from cuddly."

"The cubs are about as large as medium-sized dogs, with paws as big as bread plates," Schireman said. "Without a mother, young Cougars lack the skills and resources needed to survive on their own.  They started eating right away the first night they were here."



Photo Credits:  Oregon Zoo

Montana wildlife officials said the pair had been seen around the Missoula area over a period of several weeks, occasionally attempting to raid poultry yards and with no mother in sight. They were eventually captured inside a chicken coop by local residents, who took them to Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) service.

Montana FWP officials quickly contacted Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' population manager for Cougars, and she worked to find them a home at the Chattanooga Zoo.

Wildlife officials don't know what happened to the cubs' mother, but the two were emaciated when they were first rescued, Schireman said. After two weeks at FWP, with good veterinary care and a steady food supply, they filled out quite a bit. The male cub now weighs 37 pounds and the female weighs 32.

Staff at the Chattanooga Zoo were excited to greet the newcomers.  "They have long history of excellent care and had a space all ready for these cubs," Schireman said.

Cougars — also known as mountain lions, pumas and (in Florida) panthers — live mostly in the western United States and Canada. They weigh from 75 to 150 pounds and have a carnivorous diet both in the wild and at the zoo. Females are either pregnant or raising cubs for the majority of their lives. After three months of gestation, two to three cubs are usually born in a litter and live with their mother for up to two years.

With the exception of the Florida panthers, cougars are not listed as endangered, but they do face many challenges in other parts of the country due to human encroachment and habitat destruction.

A Star Is Born in Chattanooga!


Chattanooga Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of a tiny Snow Leopard cub. Born January 10th, the cub is growing quickly and currently weighs in at around 5 pounds. For some time, zoo keepers weren't even sure that mother Kasmir was pregnant, becuase captive Snow Leopard births are so rare this time of year. These rare Leopards are endangered in the wild, and institutions such as the Chattanooga Zoo play a vital role in building awareness of their plight and that of their threatened mountain habitat.




Photo credits: Chattanooga Zoo