Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Fishing Cats Really Do Get Wet!

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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.

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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!

Duo

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.

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Photo Credit: Hillary Buskirk/Columbus Zoo

  

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Baby Black Duiker Gets Her Close-up

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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!

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.  

Wilds Cheetah Cubs 20 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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 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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