Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

200th Giraffe Calf Receives Special Care

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is caring for Penny, a Giraffe calf whose birth on June 4 marked the 200th Giraffe birth in the zoo’s history. Penny was found splayed the stall she shared with her mom, Muziki. Since then, the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams have been partnering to provide the best possible care to support the calf’s well-being.

“Splay” is a term used to describe when an animal’s legs go out from under them in an unnatural way. In Giraffe, splaying can result in moderate or even life-threatening damage to the hips and legs. The Zoo’s staff immediately assessed the condition of the calf and determined the most urgent medical need was to raise her blood sugar levels. When those levels were under control, Penny was reunited with Muziki to see if the calf would nurse and gain strength. When those nursing efforts were unsuccessful and the calf splayed again, the difficult decision was made to separate Penny from Muziki and begin hand-rearing protocols.

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Calf w mom 6.7.18 -  (2)Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Although Penny can walk on her own, staff helps the baby stand up and lay down, to prevent further injury. The extent of any injuries to her legs and hips is still being evaluated, and likely will be for some time. Penny has thus far been resistant to bottle feeding, so she is receiving tube feedings. Another attempt to have her nurse from mom had mixed results, with the calf nursing for a brief time, but ultimately splaying again.

The Zoo’s care teams are well-equipped to treat the calf, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been recognized nationally for advances in veterinary medicine. However, the staff is not yet able to predict the outcome for Penny’s condition.



 


Sumatran Orangutan Newborn Stays Close to Mom

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran Orangutan on June 6. The baby is the third offspring for 30-year-old mom, Sumagu, and 27-year-old dad, Baka.

The Zoo reports that mother and baby will be in their regular exhibit in Primate World, which will be open for guests. Depending on where Sumagu decides to spend time, she and the baby may or may not be visible to guests.

Thus far, the pair is healthy and bonding well, so the Zoo’s staff has not intervened to determine the sex of the baby or any other details. The baby was clinging strongly to Sumagu within minutes after birth. According to keepers, Sumagu came over to animal and vet staff to take some fruit, and they could tell she had done a great job cleaning the baby up quickly. She then spent some time rearranging her nest after the birth. The pair has also been observed successfully nursing.

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Sumagu’s two previous offspring were both males: Makan, born in January 2003 and Godek, born in February 2009. Both of them now make their homes at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos.

The Zoo’s last Orangutan birth was Bornean Orangutan, Ember, who is now 3 1/2 years old.

Gestation for Orangutans lasts an average of 245 days, or a little over eight months.

In the wild, Orangutan fathers do not usually participate in raising offspring, but they tend to do well in zoos where there isn’t competition for food and mates. Baka revealed great fatherly instincts with his previous two offspring. Keepers are hopeful this will be the case with this new little one, but just to be sure, he will be kept separated from mom and baby for a short time.

Sumagu and Baka’s wild Sumatran Orangutan counterparts are currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Non-sustainable palm oil production is fueling destruction of the rainforest habitat of Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans, pushing those endangered species even closer to extinction. Found in cookies, crackers, frozen dinners, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, pet food and many other products, palm oil is now the most widely produced edible oil.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is offering a way to make a difference during this crisis by choosing the products using their sustainable palm oil shopping app. The app helps consumers make responsible decisions about the food and health/beauty products purchased every day – just scan a product in the app, and it will tell you how that company is doing with using responsibly sourced palm oil for their products. To download the app, or to learn more about the palm oil crisis, visit: www.cmzoo.org/palmoil .

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Celebrates 200th Giraffe

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is proud to announce the 200th successful Giraffe birth in the Colorado zoo’s history!

A female calf was born June 4 to a worldwide audience, as the birth was live streamed on YouTube and Facebook. The calf is the fifth offspring for 20-year-old mom, Muziki, and the fourth to be sired by dad, Khalid.

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The calf was born at 8:20 p.m. and tried to stand up shortly after birth, which is normal for Giraffe calves. When the calf still had not been able to stand at about 10:30 p.m., the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams decided it was time to lend a hand. They were able to separate the calf from mom, Muziki, long enough to give it a quick veterinary check and help it to its feet. This was also when staff discovered the calf is female. The Zoo’s care team estimated her at 5’ 8” tall and approximately 120 pounds.

After the calf was observed standing and walking on her own for a few minutes, Muziki was allowed back into the birth stall. Since then, mother and baby have been bonding well and keepers report seeing the natural behaviors they would hope to see.

Because Muziki was also born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, she has grown up in the culture of voluntary husbandry training that the Zoo is known for. This means that she voluntarily participates in her own health care, which fosters a strong trust relationship between keeper and animal.

Through this training, the Zoo was able to draw blood, confirming Muziki’s pregnancy early on. The Zoo was able to get limited ultrasound images of the calf during the pregnancy, with Muziki’s cooperation, and they were even able to bank some of Muziki’s plasma, in case the calf had need of it after the birth.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is not only a leader in the training and health of Giraffes in human care, but they are also making a huge difference in their conservation in the wild. Since January 2017, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s guests and members have contributed $97,000 through “Quarters for Conservation” contributions to help the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and its programs to save Giraffes in the wild. The Zoo has also provided staff to Uganda for several of those conservation efforts.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to the world’s most prolific captive Reticulated Giraffe herd, with 200 births at the Zoo since 1954. The new calf joins the Zoo’s existing herd, or tower, of 17 Giraffes, bringing the total to 18. Guests can get up close and hand-feed them on special indoor and outdoor elevated platforms anytime during the day, 365 days a year.

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Canada Lynx ‘Girl Group’ Goes On-Exhibit

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The four female Canada Lynx kittens, at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, have been named and officially moved into their Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit on July 19.

The fuzzy headed litter was a ZooBorns feature back in mid-June: “Meet Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Canada Lynx Kittens”. They have been with their mother in an off-exhibit area since their birth on May 6, and now the kittens and ten-year-old mom, Migina, will join dad, Kajika (also ten-years-old) in the main exhibit.

Keepers reported that the litter “howdied” with dad Kajika multiple times prior to being moved on-exhibit. The Zoo defines “howdied” as: a process where they can see and smell each other with a mesh barrier in between them. The kittens and Kajika were said to be curious about each other and vocalized back and forth. They have also sniffed each other’s paws and rubbed up against the mesh. Zookeepers said these were all good signs that the Lynx family was ready to be together in their public exhibit.

Because Lynx are often called “ghost cats”, due to their nearly-noiseless nature (thanks to heavily-padded paws and light frames), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo employees recently voted to name the kittens based on famous Colorado ghost towns. The kittens have been named: Adelaide (Lake County), Norrie (Pitkin County), Frisco (Summit County), and Aspen (as in the famous tree).

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4_Canada lynx in exhibit5Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 

The Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. It ranges across Canada and into Alaska as well as some parts of the northern United States and extending down the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, where they were reintroduced in the 1990s.

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Meet Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Canada Lynx Kittens

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo recently introduced their newest litter of Canada Lynx kittens! The litter of four was born May 6 to mom, Migina, and dad, Kajika.

Both mom and dad are ten-years-old. This is Migina’s third litter, and keepers say she is a protective and caring mom.

Zookeepers say the new litter is venturing out more and more. They can be seen in the Lynx’s Off-exhibit Area, which is viewable from the Grizzly Boardwalk.

Mom, Migina, always keeps a close eye on her four kits as they explore their area, but it will still be a while before they are all in the main Lynx Exhibit. Until they make their way to the main exhibit, fans of the kittens can check with the zoo’s social media channels for updates.

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4_IMG_2528Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. It ranges across Canada and into Alaska as well as some parts of the northern United States and extending down the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, where they were reintroduced in the 1990s.

Gestation lasts around 64 days. Young are usually born in May or early June. Before birth, the female prepares a maternal den, usually in very thick brush, and typically inside thickets of shrubs or trees or woody debris.

Litters contain one to four kittens, and tend to be much larger when the food supply is abundant.

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Baby Giraffe Gets Help From Two Zoos

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A baby Reticulated Giraffe born February 28 at the Denver Zoo received a plasma transfusion as a precaution after he experienced difficulties in his first few days of life. 

Staff at the Denver Zoo did not know until recently that the calf’s mother, Kipele, was pregnant. When she delivered her calf, which keepers named Dobby, staff was on hand to monitor the birth and the baby’s progress.  Baby Giraffes normally begin nursing within a few hours of birth and receive important antibodies from colostrum, which is the nutrient-rich milk produced at the end of pregnancy. When the staff noticed that Dobby was not nursing and had trouble standing, they stepped in to feed the calf and provide critical care.

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Baby_giraffe-Dobby_01Photo Credit:  Denver Zoo

Dobby began nursing and seemed to gain strength with his supplemental feedings, but blood tests showed that Dobby did not receive enough infection-fighting proteins from his mother due to his difficulties with nursing. So veterinarians provided colostrum-replacer and a transfusion of plasma to boost Dobby’s immune system.

Giraffe plasma is not easy to obtain, but fortunately the nearby Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where Kipele was born, was able to help.  Keepers there had done voluntary training with their Giraffes, which hold still for injections and small blood samples. Recently, they were able to collect larger volumes of blood in order to bank plasma for emergency situations just like this one.

The cooperation between the Denver Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff is just one example of the tremendous cooperation among zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Zoos work together to save animals – from entire species on the brink of extinction to individual animals like Dobby.

See more photos below!

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Celebrates New Penguin Chick

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo recently celebrated the hatching of a healthy African Penguin chick on December 13.

When the new chick hatched, it weighed approximately 51 grams, or just shy of 2 ounces (about the same as two slices of bread). Thanks to successful care by its first-time parents, it has already grown to about 2.5 pounds, or 40 ounces, in just over a month. That means the chick has grown by 20 times its initial hatch weight in approximately 35 days.

“Even at just over 30 days old, it’s already pretty feisty,” said Patty Wallace, lead Aquatics animal keeper. “That’s a good sign, since it’s a natural defense mechanism for chicks in the wild.”

The chick is being cared for by its parents, Murphy and Joe, in an off-exhibit area for now and is not currently viewable to the public. Once the chick molts for the first time and grows its adult feathers, it will be safe for it to be socialized with the rest of the flock in the main exhibit. Until the adult feathers come in, the chick doesn’t have waterproof protection, so it needs to be kept away from the exhibit’s pool for safety.

Keepers named the chick “Penny”. Although they will not know the gender of the chick until DNA testing is conducted, this unisex name serves as a nod to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s founder, Spencer Penrose, and the fact that the Zoo considers the chick their “lucky Penny.”

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3_IMG_20161231_133141154Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Although the Zoo has had previous Penguin hatchlings, past chicks were, unfortunately, not viable past 10 days. However, the Zoo felt that it was still important to allow the birds to do what came naturally by laying eggs, and keepers saw the egg incubating experience as helpful to the adults in the flock.

Veterinarians and Penguin experts are not sure why the offspring have been unsuccessful until now. However, several theories trace back to the Zoo’s aging Hippo and Penguin exhibit that was built in 1959. The Zoo is currently working to address those concerns with a $10.4 million capital campaign called Making Waves, which will fund new state-of-the-art buildings for both Hippos and Penguins.

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Lion Cubs Are the ‘Pride’ of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Three African Lion cubs are the “pride” of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado! The two boys and their sister were born June 25 to mom, Lomela, and dad, Abuto. 

The Zoo recently held a naming contest, for the furry trio, and asked for help from their fans and supporters. Names were submitted via facebook and the Zoo’s website. The Zoo will soon make a formal announcement on the decided-upon names. 

Keepers say "Boy #1" (Image 1) takes after his grandfather, Elson. He’s the darkest in color, and he’s the biggest of the cubs. "Boy #2" (Image 2) is described as being 'really laid back'. Keepers say the Girl is the bravest (Image 3) and takes after her daddy, Abuto. She’s said to be the first to explore new toys and spaces.

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3_11224555_10153647446386019_5729344708408349311_oPhoto Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

ZooBorns helped spread the Zoo’s excitement over the cub’s births and featured the trio in early July: http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2015/07/lion-cheyenne-zoo.html

There was much anticipation at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, prior to the arrival of the healthy trio of cubs. Lions are pregnant for an average of 110 days. Zoo staff set up a camera system weeks prior to the birth, so they could monitor Lomela in two different nesting locations. Animal Keepers were able to observe the birth and keep close tabs on mom and cubs without disturbing them. The Zoo set up a second video camera monitor above the Lion Relaxation Room window, so guests could see the new additions to the Lion pride.

Abuto was specifically chosen to breed with Lomela because of their genetic compatibility. The breeding program is known within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as a Species Survival Plan, or SSP. The breeding of the Zoo’s Lions is important to the SSP and to the zoo. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s hope is that guests will fall in love with their pride and fight to help save their wild counterparts.

“These cubs are truly miracle babies,” Amy Schilz, Lead Giraffe/Lion Keeper, said. “We weren’t sure whether Lomela would be able to conceive.”

African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 42%, in the last 21 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.

 

The cub's mother, Lomela:

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The father of the trio, Abuto:

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Three Lion Cubs Snuggle Up at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado is thrilled to welcome three roly-poly African Lion cubs! The cubs were born on June 25 to first-time parents Lomela, a seven-year-old female, and Abuto, a three-year-old male. Mom and the cubs—two males and one female—appear to be healthy and doing well.

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6 lionPhoto credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

 

 

“Lomela and her babies are currently off-exhibit in the Lion building to give them time to bond and the cubs time to grow,” Dina Bredahl, animal care manager, said. “The cubs are nursing and are quite active for being less than a week old.”

Lions are pregnant for an average of 110 days. Zoo staff set up a camera system weeks prior to the birth, so they could monitor Lomela in two different nesting locations. Animal keepers were able to observe the birth, and can now keep close tabs on mom and cubs without disturbing them. The zoo set up a second video camera monitor above the Lion relaxation room window, so zoo guests can see the new additions to the lion pride.

Bredahl says, “If they remain healthy, as they appear to be now, we will take a hands-off approach and let Lomela take care of her babies without intervention.” In keeping with zoo tradition, the Lion cubs will not be named until they are at least 30 days old.

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Curious Lynx Kittens Show Their Climbing Cred at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s three curious, climbing Lynx kittens have been spotted exploring their public exhibit. Born on May 8, 2013, the two males and one female have been in an off-exhibit outdoor habitat until they were big enough to maneuver the larger public exhibit space. The zoo invites guests to view the growing kittens and their parents – mother, Magina (mah-jee’-nah), and father, Kajika (kah-jee’-kah).

The three Lynx kittens are the first Canada Lynx born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Often mistaken for Bobcats, Lynx are classified by Colorado Parks and Wildlife as federally threatened and a Colorado state special concern. The zoo’s Lynx were paired together following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. The birth of the three Lynx is truly exciting. Yet, the story of the parents living together is extremely rare and unique.

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In the wild, Canada Lynx live as solitary cats. They don’t live in pairs, don’t hunt together, nor do they raise their young in family groups. In fact, other than breeding, males and females typically want nothing to do with each other and males want even less to do with their kittens. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo strives to mimic wild-living arrangements in a captive setting, but in the case of Cheyenne's Canada Lynx, they didn’t appear to want to live like their wild counterparts.

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