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Feeling Chipper at Zoo Basel

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Seven Miniature Zebus, in the Children’s Zoo of Zoo Basel, Switzerland, have recently been given identification in the form of a microchip the size of a grain of rice.

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Zwergziegen_behandeln_ZOB6032Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The microchip, also called a transponder, is fitted by a veterinarian beneath the skin, above the shoulder blades and contains a fifteen-digit code that can be read using a small mobile reader. Information on the microchip allows quick access for veterinarians, and includes date of birth, parentage, offspring, and medical conditions or treatment. The ability to differentiate between individual animals of a particular species is also required by the breeding initiatives sponsored by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which enables zoos to ensure genetic diversity among their populations.

The veterinarians were assisted during the procedures by two young Children’s Zoo volunteers.  The girls, who work regularly with the animals at Zoo Basel, kept the animals calm and relaxed during the fitting.

Since the procedure cannot be performed on adult animals without anesthesia, the chips are, ideally, fitted at a very early age. In addition to the Miniature Zebu calves, several other species of zoo babies received microchips.  A Lion cub, Snow Leopard cub, a critically endangered African Wild Ass foal, and a young Sable Antelope received the transponders.  

See more photos below the fold.

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There's a New Texan in Town

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There's a new Texan in town, with big brown eyes, a white speckled coat, and a frisky gait. The Queens Zoo's longhorn calf lives with her mom and brother on the zoo's Farm exhibit. She seems particularly fond of her neighbors, the Scottish highland cows, who share her barnyard home.  

The female calf was born in May to Joan, a 7-year-old cow. The calf weighed 60 pounds at birth and is active and energetic. 

Texas longhorns are a domestic breed of cattle that developed as a result of cross breeding between feral and domestic cattle and are a popular symbol of the American Southwest.

Texas longhorns are known for their beauty and intelligence, and are named for their signature horns that can extend up to 6 feet from tip to tip. These hardy animals thrive in the Southwest's rugged terrain, and are the foundation stock of the region’s cattle industry. 

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Photo Credit:  Julie Larsen Maher


Little Black Calf with Four White Socks

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On the Family Farm at Ireland's Dublin Zoo, Bella, a Friesian cow, gave birth to a healthy male calf. The baby was born early on the morning of January 25, and he was nursing within three hours. This is Bella’s second calf. Team leader Eddie O’Brien describes the newborn as being jet black, except for a white star on his forehead, and four white socks. The breed’s characteristic black patches can be replaced with an orangey-tan color found in a minority of the cows; they are called "reds".

A Friesian cow can refer to any of a number of black-and-white spotted dairy cattle - Dutch, Swedish, British and the commonly known American. Friesian breeds are commonly known as Holstein cattle, recognized for good milk production. They are found all over the world, from New Zealand to Canada.

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Photo Credit: Dublin Zoo