Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wee Kiwi, Another Columbus Zoo First!

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has achieved another significant first with the successful hatching of a North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) on Mar. 23, 2011. The Columbus Zoo is only the third zoo in North America to successfully hatch a Kiwi chick since the first one hatched at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 1975 and this chick is only the fifth kiwi to successfully hatch in as many years.

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Photo credits: Columbus Zoo

“The fact this egg successfully hatched is a testament to the amazing care and attention given by our staff in consultation with professional colleagues around the world” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Dale Schmidt. “Like an expectant parent, kiwi expert Kathy Brader from Smithsonian’s National Zoo rushed to Central Ohio to be here and assist our team with the newly hatched chick.”

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An Armful of Cheetah Cubs at the Wilds

Cheetahs have been born at the the Wilds conservation center for the first time in the center’s history.  The first litter was born on October 20. Wilds' staff monitoring the female by video observed five-year-old “Kenji” leaving the cubs shortly after they were born and could see that one of the cubs was still wet and noticeably weaker.  Because the mother showed no interest in returning to the three cubs, the decision was made to hand-rear them. The second litter was born yesterday, October 28, and the three cubs are currently being cared for by five-year-old “Kamaria”. The Wilds is located in Cumberland, Ohio.  

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Cheetah Cub Columbus Zoo Getting a BottlePhoto credits: Grahm Jones / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

”Everyone at the Wilds is very excited about the new cubs.  Our whole team has put a lot of effort into making this program a success,” said Dan Beetem, Director of Animal Management.  “At the same time, we are being very cautious.  Newborn cubs can be very fragile and we have to monitor their progress one day at a time.  We hope that these cubs will survive and go on to be future breeders for the managed population."The breeding of these endangered cats at the Wilds was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for cheetahs.  

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First Baby Gorilla for Cassie in Columbus

Gorilla mom Cassie and Columbus Zoo staff were all thrilled Sept 29th to welcome an adorable newborn gorilla. This is the first baby for Cassie, a critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla. Father Annaka and two other members of the gorilla troop have also proven to be attentive family members. The numbers of wild gorillas are declining due to poaching, habitat destruction, and disease, but the Columbus Zoo is doing its part to help. Learn more at the bottom of the post. 

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Baby gorilla columbus zoo 1

Baby gorilla columbus zoo 1Photo credits: Grahm Jones / Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo supports several great ape projects including the Mbeli Bai Study of Western Lowland Gorillas based in the Republic of Congo, and the Cross River Gorilla Project in Cameroon and Nigeria. Over the past five years the Columbus Zoo and Partners in Conservation has distributed more than $4 million in conservation grants worldwide.  More than $1 million has been devoted to gorilla conservation in their range countries since 1993.

Full release below the fold.

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Playing Mom for a Baby Gorilla

Back in April and May, we brought you the story of Misha the Louisville Zoo's baby gorilla, which had been injured by a surly male gorilla. To facilitate her recovery, it was determined that Misha should be moved to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is internationally recognized for caring for gorillas in social groups including the placement of young gorillas with surrogate mothers. Surrogates are taught to not only care for their baby like their own but also to bring the baby over to staff when prompted for bottle feedings, medication and regular check-ups. For now though, Misha spends most of her time with zoo staffers as you can see in the must watch video below.

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Photo credits: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium


Baby Otter Swim Lessons

Surprising fact: baby otters actually need to be taught how to swim! Not so surprising fact: the process is obscenely adorable! In March we brought you incredible pictures of the Columbus Zoo's newest baby otter kits. Now we bring you wonderful video of mama otter teaching those same pups how to swim and some great additional photos. 

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Photo and video credits: Grahm S. Jones

Read the otterly adorable details below the fold, courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

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Thermonuclear Otters

The population at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium grew last Friday with the birth of three North American river otters. They are so lethally cute, we have dubbed them the "Thermonuclear Otter Triplets." Zoo staff accessed the den for a quick health check and confirmed the birth of three males each weighing between five and six ounces.  The pups will remain secluded in the den with their mother for approximately two months when she will bring them outdoors and teach them to swim.

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Photo credits: Grahm Jones

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Rare Bonobo Baby Born at Colombus Zoo & Aquarium

A baby Bonobo was born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium monday afternoon as Zoo volunteers and staff who have been conducting around the clock observations since February 17 watched via surveillance camera. This is the eleventh bonobo born at the Columbus Zoo since the Zoo received its first bonobos in 1990 in conjunction with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this endangered ape.


Video by Graham Jones

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Columbus Zoo Lion Cubs Are a Pawful

The Columbus Zoo's little lion cubs are growing up fast and treat mom like a jungle gym. Now ready for their public debut, we strongly recommend you make the trip to watch them romp. African lion populations have decreased by a staggering 50% over the last two decades due to human encroachment. Earlier photos available here.

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Photo credits: Grahm Jones / Columbus Zoo

More pictures and info after the jump.

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Healthy Lion Cubs Born at the Columbus Zoo

On September 22nd the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed three big and healthy African lion cubs. These two little girls and one boy were bred as part of the AZA's Species Survival Plan for African lions. Over the past twenty years African lion populations have fallen 50% due to human population growth into their native habitat.

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Photo credits: Grahm Jones / Columbus Zoo

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