Fort Worth Zoo

Jaguar Cub Bonds with Mom at Fort Worth Zoo

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Yesterday, Fort Worth Zoo in Texas announced the birth of the zoo’s newest resident: a female Jaguar cub. The healthy cub, named Sasha, was born July 16 and weighed 2 pounds (.9 kg). Sasha immediately began nursing and bonding with 4-year-old mother Xochi (zo-she). Xochi is a very protective mother; after giving birth, she cared for her cub in a private, off-exhibit area, mimicking natural Jaguar behavior in the wild. The 2-month-old cub now weighs 13.75 pounds (6.23 kg) and can be seen exploring her habitat in the Brush County area of the zoo's Texas Wild! exhibit. 

Typically, Jaguars give birth to a litter of one to four cubs after a gestation period of 95 to 110 days. Cubs nurse for about six months and are usually introduced to meat at around three months old. Cubs are born with heavily spotted, dense, wooly fur, which transforms into adult coloration by seven months old. A Jaguar’s specially marked coats acts as camouflage, making it almost invisible in its desert or forest surroundings. Jaguars can grow to be six feet long (excluding tail) and weigh between 100 to 250 pounds (45 to 113 kg). 

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Photo credits: Fort Worth Zoo

See a video of the cub playing with mom:



The Fort Worth Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Jaguar Species Survival Plan (SSP), a breeding program that maintains a healthy, self-sustaining population of vulnerable animals to help prevent their extinction. Sasha is the eighth Jaguar born in an AZA zoo this year, and is the sixth Jaguar cub born since the Texas Wild! exhibit opened in 2001.



In the wild, a Jaguar cub is dependent on its mother for protection from predators, for food and guidance until it is about 2 years old. Sasha will stay at the Fort Worth Zoo for the next 12 to 18 months and then be moved to another AZA zoo to help maintain genetic diversity within the species.

“The Fort Worth Zoo has had a very successful history breeding Jaguars,” said Ron Surratt, Fort Worth Zoo director of animal collections. “Our participation in the Jaguar SSP has helped ensure guests will be able to enjoy Jaguars for years to come as we continue to contribute to the survival of the species.”

 

The Jaguar is the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere (third largest in the world behind Lions and Tigers) and represents the only 'big cat' found in the New World. A Near Threatened species, the Jaguar is historically native to the southern United States. Due to habitat alteration, the Jaguar can now be found from the U.S./Mexico border south into Central America.

 

 


Fort Worth Zoo's Asian Elephant Herd Grows, Again!

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On August 5, Fort Worth Zoo celebrated the birth of its second Asian Elephant calf of the summer (third in the Zoo's history). The male calf, named Bowie, comes just 30 days after Belle, feature last month on ZooBorns. Bowie is born to first-time mother Bluebonnet, the first Asian Elephant born at Forth Worth Zoo. Rasha, Bluebonnet's mother, gave birth to Belle. Bowie's birth makes Rasha a grandmother and Belle an aunt. The Zoo now houses three generations of elephants! The multigenerational family mimics the way herds are established in the wild. Fort Worth is home to 7 Asian Elephants total; there are 4 females and 3 males.

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Bowie's name is a familiar one to Texans. Jim Bowie was a legendary figure of the American frontier. He played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution and eventually died at the Alamo.

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Foth Worth Zoo established breeding program in 1986 and has become an international leader in elephant conservation. Zoo Executive Director Michael Fouraker served as the president of the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) for nine years and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and as president-elect of the board. Asian Elephants have been endagered since 1967, threatened by habitat destruction and poaching for ivory.

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More photos below the fold!

Continue reading "Fort Worth Zoo's Asian Elephant Herd Grows, Again!" »


Splish Splash, Belle Takes a Bath

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Belle, a female Asian Elephant calf born on July 7, recently got in some serious playtime with a hose and inflatable kiddie pool at the Fort Worth Zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Fort Worth Zoo

 

Belle’s arrival was chronicled on ZooBorns last month.  She received her name through an online voting contest organized by the zoo.  Belle is named for bluebells, which are common Texas wildflowers that symbolize humility and gratitude. She is only the second Elephant calf ever born at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Poaching of the males for their ivory tusks, habitat loss, and human settlement continue to threaten the species.  Belle is an important addition to the zoo population because zoo birthrates are very low.

See more photos of pachyderm pool time below the fold.

Continue reading "Splish Splash, Belle Takes a Bath" »


Fort Worth Zoo Celebrates Asian Elephant Birth

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Fort Worth Zoo announced the birth of a 330-pound, 38-inch tall female Asian Elephant calf on July 7.  This calf is only the second Elephant ever born at the zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Fort Worth Zoo

 
Rasha, the zoo’s 40-year-old Asian Elephant, gave birth to the baby, her second, after a 22-month gestation. Rasha was carefully monitored throughout her entire pregnancy. As part of her prenatal care, she received weekly blood tests to monitor progesterone levels, regular physical examinations, and sonograms. The calf’s father is Groucho, a 43-year-old bull who is currently on loan to the Denver Zoo.

Both mother and calf are in great condition at this time. The initial bonding between an Elephant calf and its mother is vital to a successful rearing.   

The public is invited to help name the calf through July 25 on the zoo’s website.

Listed as endangered since 1976, the Asian Elephant is threatened by drastic habitat alteration and the poaching of male Elephants for their ivory tusks. Because birth rates are low in the wild and in zoos, the birth of this calf is important to the future of the species.


Rare Rhino Baby Receives Her Name

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The first Greater One-horned Rhinoceros born in Texas now has a name: Asha. More than 3,300 Fort Worth Zoo Facebook fans chose from the five names selected by Zoo staff that reflected the baby Rhino’s personality and heritage. Asha, Nepalese for “hope,” was the front-runner from the start, receiving more than half of the total votes.

Carrie Shiflet Ferguson was chosen as the grand prize winner of the naming contest. She was chosen randomly among the Facebook fans who voted for the winning name, and will receive a greater one-horned rhino adoption package and a family four-pack of admission tickets to the Fort Worth Zoo.

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Photo credit: Fort Worth Zoo

 

Asha, born August 16, 2012, has joined mother Shanti and sire Arun in the Fort Worth Zoo’sAsian Falls exhibit. The Greater One-horned Rhino is one of 43 endangered species at the Fort Worth Zoo. The Zoo’s greater One-horned Rhinos are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan, a program created to manage a sustainable population of endangered species in AZA zoos. The International Rhino Foundation lists the greater one-horned rhino as endangered.


Special Delivery: Sitatunga Baby at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

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When a baby sitatunga was born the morning of November 10, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo keepers kept a watchful eye on the tiny new calf and his mother, Shiloh. Hoofstock usually stand and nurse within a few hours of birth, but this calf wasn’t able to stay on his feet. “He was too weak to stand, and since he couldn’t stand, he was unable to nurse,” says African Journey Manager Amber Eagleson.

By that afternoon, keepers decided to bottle-feed the calf to help him gain strength. “We bottle-fed him every four hours,” Eagleson says. “At first, he would only take a small amount because he was so weak, but by Friday afternoon he was steadily drinking from the bottle.” 

Shiloh did her part by waiting patiently when her calf was moved to a separate stall at feeding time. When keepers returned the calf to her, she groomed him vigorously to remove all traces of human scent. By Monday, keepers saw the calf nursing for the first time.

“We’re still giving him a bottle and weigh him once a day,” Eagleson says. The calf weighed only 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg)  at birth - significantly less than the other sitatunga calves born at the zoo, but he’s catching up. “If his weight increases over the next week, we’ll drop the bottle feedings and let mom take over completely,” Eagleson says.  She adds that keepers hope to name the baby in the next few weeks.

The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has had great success breeding these unique marsh-dwelling antelope. Five calves have been born there since 2006.

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Photo Credits: Fort Wayne Zoo