fawn from the smallest species of deer in the world has been born at the United Kingdom's Chester
Zoo. The baby Southern Pudu, who was
born on June 19, is part of an international conservation breeding program to
protect this endangered species.
The tiny deer, named Thor by his keepers, weighed less than two pounds (900g)
when he was born to his mom Serena and dad Odin. A fully-grown Pudu is only 15 inches (38 cm) tall
at the shoulders.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo
Keeper Sarah Roffe said, “Despite being small in stature, Pudu are very,
very good sprinters. And what they lack in size,
they make up for in strategy – running in zigzags to try and escape from less
The Pudu is native to the rainforests of Chile and Argentina. Their numbers
have declined due in part to their rainforest habitat being destroyed
and cleared for cattle ranching and other human developments.
Two energetic Northern Cheetah cubs turned 2 months recently at Chester Zoo in England. The pair, born June 4, are a male and a female.
The zoo says that the two cubs are starting to develop their own personalities, as they climb tree stumps and bounce after one another. Team Manager of Carnivores, Dave Hall, said:
“They’re very, very playful and a real handful for mum. But she’s exceptionally good with them and doing a great job of bringing them up.”
Their mother and father, KT and Matrah, are both 6-year old Northern Cheetahs born in 2007. The pair is KT's second litter, her first being born in June 2011.
Northern Cheetahs are Endangered in their native Northwest African habitat, largely due to competition with larger predators, farmers, and habitat destruction.
The wild population has decreased sharply by 90% within the last 100 years, and many fear that there are as few as 250 individuals remaining. The
birth of the two cubs therefore is not only a success for the Chester Zoo, but also for the International Endangered Species Breeding Program.
The Chester Zoo is a champion for Cheetahs, combining research and support for local organizations in Africa. The Zoo supports the N/a’an ku sê Carnivore Research Project based in Namibia, where the dwindling Cheetah population is monitored and tagged. Chester Zoo also helped to develop a technique to identify Cheetahs in the wild
from their paw prints, which allows for a non-intrusive way of identifying and building a data bank of these wild cats.
In remarkable closed-circuit television footage, Chester Zoo’s female Sumatran Tiger
Kirana gives birth to the first of two cubs on June 2. The cub appears about 30 seconds into the
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo
Kirana’s mate, six-year-old Fabi, does not participate in
the birth at all, and in fact walks away during the event.
The gender of the two healthy cubs is not yet known. They will spend several weeks behind the
scenes with seven-year-old Kirana.
This is the second litter for Kirana, who also gave birth to
sisters Nila and Tila in 2011. Both of those cubs have moved to other European
zoos as part of a cooperative breeding program aimed at increasing genetic diversity
among these endangered cats.
Only about 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian
island of Sumatra. Zoo breeding programs
could prove vital to the survival of this species, which is at great risk from
habitat loss and poaching.
A clutch of four Humboldt Penguin
chicks hatched at the United Kingdom’s Chester
Zoo have been named after characters from the British science fiction TV
show Doctor Who, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this
The first of the chicks,
which hatched on April 17, was named Doctor. The next three chicks are named Tardis,
Davros and Dalek.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo
Zoo keepers are providing intense daily care to the four chicks, including daily
weigh-ins to make sure the chicks are getting enough food from their parents. Keeper
Karen Neech said, “With extra mouths to feed a lot more food is required, so
it’s a busy time for both us and the adult Penguins. We provide the parents with fish and they
then turn it into a high-protein soup, which they then regurgitate to feed to
Penguins are native to the coastal areas of Peru and Chile and are named for
the chilly Humboldt ocean current in which they swim. They are listed as
Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Back on January 31st, Chester Zoo in the UK welcomed two new Asian Small-Clawed Otter pups to their family. For the past two months the otters have been exploring their exhibit with their mother Daisy and father Robbie. Recently, the young otters finally got their first check up.
Veterinarians were able to sex both pups, a boy named Wallace and a girl named Dili. They also were able to weigh the little otters and ensure they are in good health. "Little otter Wallace weighed in at 730 grams and Dili was a little lighter than 680 grams. Both proved to be fairly feisty characters but they are extremely healthy indeed so we are very happy with them. As they continue to grow and become even more confident, we're looking forward to seeing them take to the water," said veterinarian Steve Unwin. "Zoos provide the last insurance policy against extinction and these new arrivals will hopefully now continue to develop and become a vital part of the international breeding program to safeguard the species," he continued.
Asian Small-Clawed Otters are native to Southeast Asian, India, Taiwan, Southern China and the Philippines. Their name comes from their very dexterous and agile front paws which act much like hands. These aide them in capturing and processing their diet of crabs, snails, insects and small fish.
Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins / Chester Zoo
Asian Small-Clawed Otters are the smallest of all otter species. They are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due diminishing populations numbers that are a result of habitat loss and overfishing of their prey among others. Because of this, Chester Zoo's otters are part of a European breeding program that aims to provide a safety-net to wild populations.
Keepers and conservationists at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo
are celebrating the birth of a rare Rothschild's Giraffe calf - the world’s most
endangered subspecies of Giraffe. The
female calf was born on March 25 to first-time mother Orla after a 14 ½ month
pregnancy. Rothschild’s Giraffes are
distinguished by broader dividing white lines and have no spots below the
Despite being just a few days old, the
six-foot-tall youngster, named Millie, is already towering over zoo keepers.
Photo Credits: Chester Zoo
“For a first time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far. Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes
of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after,” said Chester Zoo’s
curator of mammals Tim Rowlands. “Rothschild's
Giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programs
in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We’re
therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer.”
According to conservationists there are now less than 670 Rothschild's Giraffes
left in the wild, with the population declining by more than 80% in the last
ten years. Once wide-ranging across
Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s Giraffe has been almost totally
eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small,
isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.
These elegant mammals are listed as Endangered by the International
Union for Conservation of Nature
Chester Zoo supports important projects in
the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild's Giraffe with
the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in
Chester Zoo recently welcomed a Brow Antlered Deer fawn named Zeyar, which means "success" in Burmese. Unfortunately the mother rejected her calf, but Zeyar is flourishing under the care of her surrrogate deer-mother Hellen Massey (shown in photos with the fawn at sixteen days old). Born a tiny 3.7 kilograms, Zeyar gets bottle-fed four times a day and is growing in leaps and bounds. Chester Zoo is the only zoo in the UK breeding this endangered species, making Zeyar a great success story for deer conservation.
Photo credits: Chester Zoo
Zeyar belongs to a subspecies of Brow Antlered Deer native to Burma, where they live in grassy plains, swamps and deciduous forests. Brow Antlered Deer are also known as Eld's Deer or Thamin. The most serious threat to the species is poaching for bushmeat, traditional medicines and trophy antlers.
Baby Sumatran Orangutan Tripa shares a close relationship with
his mom – in fact, Emma has rarely let her baby out of sight since his birth on
October 19 at the United Kingdom’s Chester Zoo.
Like all Orangutan infants, Tripa completely depends on his
mother for food, transportation, and lots of tender loving care. Orangutans have the longest childhood of all
animals other than humans, with young Orangutans spending up to eight years
with their mothers.
Photo Credits: Phil
Noble/Reuters, Peter Byrne/PA, Chester Zoo
Emma and Puluh, Tripa’s father, are part of the European
Endangered Species Programme, which coordinates breeding between zoos to
maintain genetic diversity in endangered species.
Conservationists estimate that there are fewer than 7,000 Sumatran
Orangutans remaining on the Indonesian island of Sumatra – the only place in
the entire world where this Orangutan subspecies exists.
Tremendous pressure from illegal logging, illegal palm oil plantations, and poaching
have driven wild Orangutan populations to the brink of extinction, making zoo
breeding programs essential to their survival.
She stands just a few
centimetres tall but this tiny new arrival at Chester Zoo is making a big
impression. Aluna, the tiny Kirk’s
Dik-dik Antelope, is not much taller than a TV remote.
For now, she is being
bottle-fed milk five times a day by the zoo’s dedicated curator of mammals
after she failed to bond with her mother. She will be given a helping hand until she is old enough to tuck into a
diet of buds, shoots and fruit on her own.
Photo credits: Chester Zoo
He said: “Our little one is growing stronger and
stronger by the day and, all being well, it shouldn’t be too long until she‘ll
be able to really hold her own. For the time being though her feed times are
staggered through the day and she has her first bottle in my living room at
home at around 7am. I then pop her into the car and bring her to work where she
has another three feeds in my office. Finally, her last one is at 10pm back at
“She’s already pretty quick on her feet and gives us quite the run
around in the office. That’s why we’ve called here Aluna which means ‘come here’ in Swahili. It’s rather apt!”
Chester Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its newest
resident – a Meerkat kit. The tiny newcomer has made its first public appearance after
being hidden away in burrows by its parents since being born three weeks ago (approximately January 9). That is the normal time frame for babies to emerge from the den and begin to inspect their surroundings.
Keeper Chris Grindle said, “The pup is doing really well and has now started exploring
its exhibit with the adults. Soon it’ll learn to forage and dig in the sand for
grubs. It’s too small to sex at the moment but we should know if
it’s male or female in the next couple of weeks.” Once the baby's gender is known, it will be named.
As a rule, mothers keep their young underground in the first few weeks of life, so it can be hard to tell an exact birthdate, or even know how many kits might be in a litter. In the wild, this also protects them against predators. In addition to Mom's care, kits are tended to by select members of their mob as babysitters, while others stand guard, scanning the horizon and skies for any dangers, ready to alert the group if need be. In fact, the dark patches around their eyes act to cut down on the glare and help them see far into the distance. Meerkats are native to Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.