Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo Tiger Cub Twins Update!


As you might have read here on ZooBorns on July 11, that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio welcomed twin Amur Tiger cubs, both male. They were born on June 28 and 29. Both cubs have had their eyes open for about 10 days now, and have been taking advantage of their new sight to pad around. "It's impossible to get a picture of the two together because they won't sit still!" says a Zoo source.  

Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), also historically referred to as Siberian tigers, are critically endangered; fewer than 500 individuals are believed to exist in the forests of the Russian Far East. Their populations are dwindling due to overhunting of prey species such as deer and wild boar, habitat loss, and poaching for skins and body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine. Humans directly cause 75 to 85 percent of tiger deaths.

Read more about what is being done to conserve this species after the jump.


Photo Credit: G.Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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Columbus Zoo's New Stars Have Stripes!

2 tiger cubs

Ohio's Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have new stars... and they have stripes! Two male Amur Tiger cubs were born on June 28 and 29 to first-time-mom, Mara. They are the first ever born at this zoo -- the last birth of any tiger subspecies there occurred in 1990. 

Weighing just two to three pounds at birth, the newborns are currently in intensive care in the Animal Health Center. Their condition is not yet stable and it is unknown when visitors will be able to see them. The first arrived at 10:41 p.m. and the second about four hours later. The newborn cubs, weighing just two to three pounds at birth, were initially monitored by the animal care team using a remote feed from a camera mounted in the den.

The team was already concerned about the health of the first cub which, despite nursing successfully shortly after the birth of the second cub, had not nursed for an extended period and appeared to be weakening when the Zoo lost power on the evening of June 29 due to a storm. Since they were unable to monitor the activity in the den, the team made the decision to remove both cubs for hand rearing. The cubs are being raised together for companionship and socialization.




Photo Credits: G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 


Fishing Cats Really Do Get Wet!


We did a story on three little Fishing Cat kittens born on July 29 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium when they were only two weeks old. You can read about that and see the pictures HERE

Now they have gotten big enough to get into the water. That's right, Fishing cats like to get into the water to get their fish and that means they get wet, as can be seen in these photos. These cats have a long, stocky body, shorter legs and tail, and a broad head with round ears. Their olive-gray fur has black stripes and rows of black spots. They may use their flatened tail like a rudder when paddling around. 

Fishing Cats are medium-sizeded wild cats found in South and Southeast Asia. They were classified in 2008 by the IUCN as endangered, because the wetlands habitats in these areas are fast becoming degraded or settled. The Fishing Cat population has severely declined in the last decade alone.



See more pics beneath the fold...

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Three Wee Kiwi - A First in North America

Kiwi #3

A third Kiwi chick hatched at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Jul. 17, marking the first time an institution in North America has successfully hatched three kiwi in one year. The Columbus Zoo’s first hatching of the North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) occurred less than four months ago on March 23, while the second hatched on June 25, 2011.

This newest little chick, a female, is currently being cared for behind-the-scenes. The first two chicks are both males and have been given names reflecting their native New Zealand; “Ariki” (ah-ree-kee), meaning first-born or chie,f and “Toa” (to-ah) meaning warrior. The oldest of the chicks, Ariki, can be seen in the Zoo’s Roadhouse nocturnal habitat for a few hours each day.

Only seven kiwis, including the three at the Columbus Zoo, have hatched in the past five years in North America. 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. There are now six kiwis at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and a total of 22 kiwis in three United States zoos.

 3 Kiwi 78 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Yello Kiwi 71- G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Grahm Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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Orphaned Moose Calves Know How To Kiss!


Three orphaned Alaskan moose calves have a new home at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. One male and one female are twins born on May 17, 2011; the other female was born Jun. 3, 2011. The calves were rescued by Alaska Department of Fish and Game and taken to the Alaska Zoo where they were cared for until they were transported to the Columbus Zoo on Jul. 12, 2011. The calves are currently being bottle-fed and will join the Zoo’s other moose in the future.  

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna spent time with them at the Alaska Zoo when they were just a few weeks old. Jack said, “We’re excited to assist in saving these moose and to bring them to central Ohio.” 

 “We will provide a great home for these calves and ensure our supporters will be able to see and learn about moose for many more years,”  added Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Dale Schmidt.



Stand 1

Photo Credit: Hillary Buskirk/Columbus Zoo


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Baby Black Duiker Gets Her Close-up


On July 6, 2011 a baby Black Duiker was born at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to parents Chelsea and Kringle. This was a very important birth because it's so rare. This baby brings the population of Black Duikers in Zoos to a total of only 17!  While it is believed that there are 100,000 Black Duikers in the world today, their numbers are in decline due to hunting.

The baby doesn't yet have a name because it's keepers are waiting on gender confirmation, but it may be able to be seen by Zoo guests, as it has access to the yard area in it's parent's habitat. These photos taken August 9 give us a good look at an even better hair day!





Photo credits: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Fishing Cat Kittens Just Two Weeks Old!

Fishing Cat Kittens 01 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Three Fishing Cat kittens, two males and one female, were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Jul. 29, 2011. These photos were taken during a routine vet check-up, but for now these water-loving felines are with their mother in a secluded den where they will remain for the next few weeks. This is the first offspring for this pair of Fishing Cats that came to the Columbus Zoo in 2010 as part of the Species Survival Plan for these endangered animals.

Fishing Cat Kittens 02 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Fishing Cat Kittens 03 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto credits: Grahm Jones

Adult fishing cats are twice the size of a domestic cat and range in weight from 15-35 pounds; males weigh significantly more than females. True their name, Fishing Cats love nothing more than a good fish dinner, but will also snack on crustaceans, mollusks, frogs and snakes. In fact, these cats are large to enough to hunt larger game and occassionally will take down a small wild pig or deer. 

The nocturnal Fishing Cat is found in southern Asia in densely vegetated areas near marshes, mangroves, rivers and streams as well as in tropical dry forests. Water pollution, clearing of forests for settlements and agricultural use, and over-exploitation of local fish stocks are a threat to the Fishing Cat. The Columbus Zoo’s conservation program has supported assessments of distribution, status and movements of fishing cats in their native habitat as well as workshops and school awareness programs in Fishing Cat range countries.

Second Rare Hatching of North Island Brown Kiwi Chick

Kiwi #2  G. Jones

It was big news when a North Island Brown Kiwi Chick hatched on Mar. 23, 2011 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which you can read about HERE. And now, just months after their historic first hatching of this unique bird species, a second hatched on Jun. 25. Only six Kiwis, including the two chicks at the Columbus Zoo, have hatched in the past five years in the whole of North America.   

“The first hatching of a Kiwi at the Columbus Zoo was a notably rare occurrence” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Dale Schmidt. “To have a second Kiwi hatch, especially so soon after the first one, is further proof our animal care team’s efforts are firmly based on science and expertise.”

The newest chick, whose sex will be determined through DNA testing, is currently being cared for behind the scenes. The first chick is a male and animal care staff named him “Ariki” (ah-ree-kee), meaning first-born or chief in the species’ native New Zealand. Including these chicks, there are now five kiwis at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and a total of 21 kiwis in three United States zoos.

Kiwi #2 hands- G. Jones

Kiwi #2 2

Photo Credit: G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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Sleight of Hand Helps Flamingo Moms Rest


On July 13, three Flamingo chicks went on exhibit at Columbus Zoo. In recent years, the zoo has been increasingly successful in breeding Flamingos. Keepers have found that hand rearing chicks makes these typicaly easily spooked birds more manageable in their adulthood. Columbus Zoo lightens the load for Flamingo moms by positioning a wooden decoy egg in the nest after removing the real eggs for incubation. This ensures that the females won't continue to lay, since egg laying is a taxing operation.



Photo credits: COurtesy of H. Misner and Columbus Zoo

Unlike adult Flamingos, chicks hatch covered in a fluffy white down which will remain white or grey during the first two years of their lives. The Flamingo's trade mark pink plummage appears in the second or third year. This trio will be on display for an hour each day (from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.) with the other 32 flamingos in the Zoo's flock. The rest of the time they'll be behind the scenes eating a special formula and getting plenty of sleep.

Wee Kiwi, Another Columbus Zoo First!


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.



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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