Edinburgh Zoo

Stripy Tapir Calf Spotted at Edinburgh Zoo

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RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has welcomed the arrival of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf. The spotty and striped young male was born in the evening of May 19 to mother, Sayang, and father, Mowgli.

The tiny calf was born weighing 11kg (24 lbs), but he will double in size in the coming weeks, eventually growing up to weigh as much as 250kg to 320kg (550 lbs to 700 lbs)!

Malayan Tapir calves are born with brown fur and white stripes and dots, which provides camouflage in the forest. After a few months, Malayan Tapir youngsters start to lose their stripes and spots and, by six months of age, they look like miniature adults, with stocky black bodies and white or grey midsections.

Karen Stiven, Hoofstock Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “The tiny calf is doing very well and, whilst he is staying close to his mother, he has been rambling around a bit on his small shaky legs to explore his surroundings. On Monday afternoon he took his first tentative steps into the outdoor paddock and was even brave enough to take a few splashes in the pond.

“The birth of this calf is very significant as he will go on to play a role in the conservation of this rare species as, once he is old enough, he will join the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme to help augment a safety-net population for this species, ensuring they do not go extinct. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has had great husbandry success with this increasingly threatened Tapir species.”

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4_16_5_23_Baby_Tapir_JP_4Photo Credits: RZSS/ Jon-Paul Orsi

 

The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. They are native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Tapirs normally measure 1.8 to 2.5m (6 to 8 feet) in length, with a shoulder height of 0.9 to 1.1m. (3 to 3.5 feet). Females have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.

Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the Malayan Tapir is increasingly threatened, with population numbers continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as increasing hunting pressure. The population has been estimated to have declined by more than 50% in the last three generations (36 years) primarily as a result of Tapir habitat being converted into palm oil plantations.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Second Armadillo Birth for Edinburgh Zoo

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Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are delighted to announce the birth of a Southern Three-banded Armadillo. The tiny, female, armour-plated arrival was born in the middle of April and has been named Inti by her keepers. (Pronounced ‘In-tee’, the name comes from the ancient Inca sun god, of the same name.)

Inti is only the second birth of any Armadillo species at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. In 2014 another female called Rica was also born to parents Rio and Rodar.

At two-days-old, Inti was about the size of a golf ball and weighed only 100g, but by two-weeks-old she was just a little smaller than a tennis ball. She is currently a little over three-weeks-old and is reaching the size of a baseball!

Once Inti gets a little older, she will take part in the Zoo’s daily educational show called Animal Antics, where she will help raise awareness of vital work taking place by the conservation charity Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, who own and manage Edinburgh Zoo, to help the Giant Armadillo in the Brazilian Pantanal.*

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4_16_4_14_Southern_three_banded_armadillo_baby_JP_1Photo Credit:RZSS/Jon-Paul Orsi

Sarah Wright, Animal Presentations Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Our new arrival is doing well, and we are all celebrating her birth, as she is only the second Armadillo to be born at the Zoo. Inti was about the size of a golf ball when she was born, but is growing quickly and is a little bundle of energy. She will grow up to play a very important role in raising awareness about the plight of Armadillos in the wild and the threats they face, as well as the vital conservation work undertaken by RZSS to help conserve the Giant Armadillo from extinction.”

Southern Three-banded Armadillos (Tolypeutes matacus) are listed as “Near threatened” on the IUCN Red List and are increasingly threatened as a result of being hunted for food, the pet trade and loss of habitat. Three-banded Armadillos are the only type of Armadillo that can roll into a ball when threatened. They get their name from the three characteristic bands on their back, which allows them the flexibility to roll into a ball. The Three-banded Armadillo is native to parts of northern Argentina, southwestern Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The family of Three-banded Armadillos, at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, is not on show, but can often be seen in the daily Animals Antics shows at 12:15pm and 3pm, at the top of the hill in the Zoo.

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Gentoo Penguins Hatch at Edinburgh Zoo

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With summer around the corner, the first of the Gentoo Penguin chicks at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo have started to poke their beaks out of their shells. The first fluffy chick hatched on May 5 and was soon followed by another three hatchlings, two of which are on the same nest.

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4_16_05_06_GentooPenguin_Chick_08_CR_KatiePatonPhoto Credits: Edinburgh Zoo / Maria Dorrian (Images: 1,6,7,8) & Katie Paton (Images: 2,3,4,5)

 

Penguin breeding season began in early March, with the annual placing of the nest rings and pebbles into Penguins Rock, before the male penguins sought out the best looking and smoothest pebbles to ‘propose’ to their potential mates. The first eggs were laid over Easter weekend, and, after a 33-35 day incubation period, the chicks of 2016 have started to hatch!

Dawn Nicoll, Penguin Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “This is our favourite time of year as the new Penguin chicks begin to hatch. The entire breeding season is an incredibly busy time, but it is all worth it when you see the tiny Penguins start to break out of their shells and be cared for by both their parents.

“The rest of the eggs should hatch over the next two to three weeks, as the Penguins don’t all lay their eggs at the same time. We had a very successful breeding season last year, with 16 chicks hatching, so we are hoping for another successful year as Gentoo Penguins are classified as near threatened.”

Once the chicks get a little older, they will leave the nest and join a nearby crèche, where they will learn all the skills essential to being a penguin, such as how to swim and feed.

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Two Bonnie Baby Bentangs at Edinburgh Zoo

Banteng + Calf - Edinburgh Zoo - Wed 24 Feb 2016 (photographer - Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)
Two calves were born this spring to the Edinburgh Zoo’s herd of Banteng, an endangered species of wild Asian Cattle.

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Photo Credits: Andy Catlin (1), Maria Dorrian (2,4), Edinburgh Zoo (3, 5, 6, 7, 8)

The first calf was born on February 15 and is a male, and the second calf, a female, was born on March 11.  The two youngsters, who have not yet been named, can be seen with their family in the zoo’s outdoor paddock.  Keepers report that though the two calves will stay close to their mothers until they are six to nine months old, they often prance and jump with other members of the zoo’s herd.  Banteg are social animals that live in herds of up to 40 individuals.

The zoo is hopeful that the two Banteng calves will contribute to the conservation of this endangered species in the future. 

Banteng, also known as Tembadau, are a species of wild Cattle found in Southeast Asia that feed on grasses, bamboo, leaves, and fruits. Calves of both sexes are born with light brown coats. It is easy to distinguish between the sexes as they mature:  Males have a dark brown coat, while females are light brown with a dark strip down the back.

Listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Banteng are threatened by illegal hunting and habitat loss. In Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, this species faces local extinction. Interbreeding with domestic cattle has caused hybridization, thereby contaminating the gene pool and increasing the transmission of diseases with domestic cattle.

See more photos of the Bantengs below.

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The Pitter Patter of Tiny Meerkat Feet

15_06_5_Meerkat_pups_5_kp_medThe Meerkat exhibit at the Edinburgh Zoo is abuzz with the pitter patter of tiny feet – five babies were born on May 8.

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Photo Credit:  Edinburgh Zoo

The babies were born to Queenie, who is also the mother of three pups born earlier this year.  The pups spent their first few weeks in the nest box with Queenie, but are now beginning to explore their surroundings. 

Meerkats live in groups of 3-50 animals called mobs.  They are cooperative breeders, which means all adults within the group share the responsibility of raising the pups. Keepers have yet to name and determine the gender of the little Meerkats.

Native to the arid grasslands of southern Africa, Meerkats feed on small lizards, frogs, small birds, millipedes, beetles, grasshoppers, and any type of insect they can find.  Groups emerge at dawn to forage, and one Meerkat assumes the role of sentry.  This individual stands atop a rock or other high place and keeps watch for predators.  The mob is alerted of danger by a repertoire of alarm calls, depending on the severity of the threat.

In the wild, Meerkats are not considered under threat.  

See more photos of the baby Meerkats below.

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Rock Hyrax Siblings Enjoying the Scottish Sunshine

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The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo recently welcomed two baby Rock Hyraxes. They were born in the middle of February to mum, ‘Sarabi’.

The youngsters, one male and one female, have been staying in their burrow, but the two are now starting to jump out to explore their surroundings in the Scottish sun. These small creatures are probably most well known for their distant relation to the elephant, and they often look as if they are smiling happily for the camera. 

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15_4_29_Rock_Hyrax__Babies_1_GKCPhoto Credits: RZSS

This is the first time mum Sarabi has bred, and the babies are doing well. Hyrax babies are quite fully developed when they are born and normally start running and jumping within an hour after birth. The youngsters will suckle until they are three months old, but often begin to eat plants from their second day. Rock Hyrax litters normally consist of two to three young, but they can sometimes have as many as four babies in one litter. Unlike other small mammals, the Rock Hyrax has a much longer gestation period of seven and a half months.

Fossil remains show that there were once Hyraxes the size of cows, which could explain the longer gestation period. These rock-dwelling mammals are so unique that they have been placed in a separate order by themselves, Hyracoidea. Rock Hyraxes are normally grouped with elephants, dugongs and sea cows as ‘subungulates’ and it is believed they all may have descended from a common stock.

Lorna Hughes, Animal Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo said, “Our Rock Hyrax babies are doing really well, and they were up and running about, soon after they were born. We haven’t named them yet, as we normally wait a while before we name any new-born. People are always really fascinated and interested when we tell them the Hyraxes are distant relatives of the elephant.”

“The Rock Hyraxes, here at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, love basking in the sun, and can often be seen lazing about on the rocks; this is because Rock Hyraxes have poorly developed thermoregulation. When it’s cold and rainy, as is often typical of Scottish weather, they prefer to stay in their burrows to try keep warm, but now with summer approaching they are often seen outside enjoying the sun,” Lorna continued.

The Rock Hyrax can be found across Africa and some parts of the Middle East. They love to hang out on rocky areas and prefer to hide in the nooks of cliff faces. They have black rubbery pads under their feet which help them to grip onto rocky and slippery surfaces.  Hyraxes are very adaptable creatures; in East Africa they can be found living at sea level and at altitudes of more than 14,000 feet. Their habitats also range from dry savannah to dense rainforest.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is currently home to six adult rock hyraxes and the two babies. The herd lives in a large rocky enclosure with plenty of rocks and crevices for them to jump and run about. 

More great pics, below the fold!

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Meerkat Pups Out and About at Edinburgh Zoo

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Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are delighted to announce the arrival of three Meerkat pups.

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The lively bunch has joined the troop of Meerkats at Meerkat Plaza, in Edinburgh Zoo, and has started to venture outside the safety of the burrow and is slowly learning the ropes.

Andrew Laing, Carnivore Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “The Meerkats are always a favorite with our visitors, so it’s wonderful to see some new additions to the group. At only four weeks old the pups are settling in well and their individual personalities are starting to show. Mum, ‘Queen’, and dad, ‘Ace’, are doing really well and are getting plenty of help from other members of the group to raise the pups. Meerkats are actually cooperative breeders, which mean that all adults within the group will help to care for the young.”

Andrew continued, “Meerkats have a gestation period of around 11 weeks, so we didn't have long to wait for them to arrive, but for the first three weeks of life they stay in the burrow being looked after by the adults. At around four weeks old they will start to explore outside of the den. It’s good to see them out and about learning how to catch their own food.”

Meerkats are the most well-known member of the mongoose family. They inhabit dry, open areas with short grass and sparse woody scrub, mainly in southern Africa.

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Tiny Tapir Makes New Year’s Eve Appearance

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A tiny new arrival managed to make a big appearance just hours before 2014 drew to a close, at Edinburgh Zoo. A male Malayan Tapir was born to mother, ‘Sayang’, and first time father, ‘Mogli’, in the early hours of December 31st.

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Tapir2Photo Credits: Maria Dorrian

Lorna Hughes, Hoofstock Team Leader, said, “The last birth of the year at Edinburgh Zoo, the calf has had a big impact on keepers and visitors already. ‘Mekong’, named after the delta river which flows through where they are found in the wild, is lively and very distinctive.

“Although they are not genetically related and are much larger, Malayan Tapirs are similar in build to pigs, but have noses and upper lips that form a long prehensile snout and large, barrel shaped bodies made for crashing through dense forest vegetation. Adult tapirs are black, with a white or grey midsection, whilst youngsters like Mekong are born with spots and stripes all over their small bodies, face and legs. Mekong’s adult coloration will come in between four and seven months of age. When Mekong is fully grown he is likely to stand at over three feet tall and be up to eight feet in length, weighing up to 900 pounds.”

“Sayang is a great mum with lots of experience as she has had five babies now and really knows the ropes. Tapirs are pregnant for around 13 months so it is great to finally see another healthy calf being born. However, although we are very pleased with his progress and he is putting on weight steadily, the first week or so is a sensitive time for mother and baby.” 

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UPDATE: Rica the Baby Armadillo is Still a Beauty

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Last week, we brought you the story of Rica, the baby Southern Three-Banded Armadillo born at Edinburgh Zoo. Rica was only the size of a golf ball when she was born August 24, but she is progressing and developing, as she should, and now weighs in at 16 ounces (450g)! 

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14_09_24_SouthernThreeBandedArmadillo_Adult_Rio_kp_1Photo Credits: Edinburgh Zoo

One-month-old Rica posed for new pics a few days ago, and she is beginning to show even more of a resemblance to her healthy mother, Rio. Rica’s parents, Rio and Rodar, arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in March 2014.

Southern Three-Banded Armadillos are native to South America. They are found in parts of northern Argentina, southwestern Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. This armadillo and the other member of the genus ‘Tolypeutes’, the Brazilian Three-Banded Armadillo, are the only species of armadillos capable of rolling into a complete ball to defend themselves.  The three characteristic bands that cover the back of the animal allow it enough flexibility to fit its tail and head together, allowing protection from predators.  They are currently classified as ‘Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List .


“¡Qué Rica!”, Edinburgh Zoo Introduces Baby Armadillo

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Edinburgh Zoo is proud to introduce, Rica, a baby Southern Three-Banded Armadillo!  She was born to mother, Rio, and father, Rodar, on August 24th.  

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Although, Rica was a mere 81 grams (less than 3 oz) at birth, and was around the size of a golf ball, she has already quadrupled in weight during the first month of life.

Both parents arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in March 2014.  Given the short length of time the two have been at the Zoo, it is an amazing achievement and testament to the specialist skills of their keepers, that both Rio and Rodar felt comfortable enough to make a family in their new home.

Southern Three-Banded Armadillos are native to South America. They are found in parts of northern Argentina, southwestern Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. This armadillo and the other member of the genus ‘Tolypeutes’, the Brazilian Three-Banded Armadillo, are the only species of armadillos capable of rolling into a complete ball to defend themselves.  The three characteristic bands that cover the back of the animal allow it enough flexibility to fit its tail and head together, allowing protection from predators.  They are currently classified as ‘Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.

See more great pics below the fold!

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