Meet El Paso Zoo’s First Birth of New Year

10988333_10153065142952622_5379029355534954236_nThe first birth of 2015, at the El Paso Zoo, was a female Thomson's Gazelle. 


10440938_10153065142967622_2258432596192051485_nPhoto Credits: El Paso Zoo

As with all gazelle and antelope births, at the El Paso Zoo, the babies are initially left to bond with their moms for several hours, or overnight, before brief initial examinations are conducted to make sure babies are healthy and nursing. The babies are immediately placed back with mom and their herd after their exams.

The Thomson’s Gazelle is one of the best-known gazelles. Named after explorer Joseph Thomson, it is sometimes referred to as a “Tommie”.  Native to Africa’s savannas and grassland habitats, particularly the Serengeti region of Kenya and Tanzania, it has a habitat preference for short grasslands.

After mating and a five to six month gestation period, females will leave the herd to give birth to a single fawn. They generally give birth twice yearly with 1-2 fawns. In the first six hours of the fawn’s life, it moves and rests with its mother, but eventually spends more time away from the mother or hides in grasses. The mother will remain in the vicinity of the fawn and return periodically, throughout the day, to nurse the baby. Mothers, in the wild, will defend their young against jackals and baboons, but not against larger predators. Head-butting is her means of defense against the smaller predators.

At around two months of age, the young will begin to spend more time grazing with mother and less time in hiding. However, the mother will also continue to nurse her offspring, during this time period.

The Thomson’s Gazelle is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. There was an estimated population decline of 60% from 1978 to 2005. Threats to the animal include: tourist impacts, habitat modification, fire management, and road development. 

Lazarus the Gazelle Makes a Comeback


A newborn Thomson’s Gazelle, abandoned by its mother, was taken home by a senior keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and nursed back to health.



10484549_974761079206629_7268796461622791201_oPhoto Credits: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

‘Larry’, who was born October 9th, is one of only four Thomson’s Gazelles in the UK, all of which live at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

After the little gazelle, Larry, was born, keepers noticed that his first-time mother was not returning to feed him, and they grew concerned for his survival. Senior staff-members at the zoo were forced to make the difficult decision to step in and hand-rear Larry, requiring Team Leader, Mark Holden, to bottle-feed the calf with goat milk five times a day and at regular intervals during the night.

Mark said, “It’s always a last resort to separate a calf from the group, but little Larry was getting very weak and needed our help. As soon as we got some milk into him he started to improve. We named him ‘Lazarus’---Larry for short---because for a moment there, we really didn’t think he was going to pull through.”

“We put a sky kennel in our lounge for him and he quickly settled into a routine. When he’d had his milk and a little walk-about, he’d just take himself back off to bed. It was a little tricky having Larry in the house. We had to keep an eye on him after each feed and get ready with a towel in case he started to urinate.”

Mark continued, “After two weeks, Larry was healthy enough to go back to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and be reunited with the group, although he’s still getting a lot of extra care. He’s doing really well now, growing nicely and putting on weight. He has started to eat some solids like grass and hay, and he can be properly weaned in a few months.”

Mhorr Gazelle Learns to Trust Its Legs in Hungary

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Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden recently welcomed its newest resident, a newborn Mhorr Gazelle. The newcomer, a male, was born to Evita, a thirteen-year-old female who is an experienced mother. The baby has been named Ebo. Ebo is receiving a special milk formula every two and a half hours, as this has been shown to be an effective way to make sure young Gazelle receive proper nutrition.

The Mhorr Gazelle is a subspecies of Dama Gazelle, which is native to Northwest Africa. It is one of the most endangered ungulates in the world as there are none left living in their native habitat. As a result, the Budapest Zoo has been participating in a breeding program for the gazelle to help conserve this vanishing species since 2008. This birth, along with the many others that have come as a part of this successful breeding program, can be considered a huge success for their conservation.

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Photo credits: Kis Tiygriss

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My, what big ears you have! Slender-horned Gazelle born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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An endangered Slender-horned Gazelle with improbably long ears and big dark eyes will greet visitors at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo beginning August 1 in the African Savanna.

Born in late June, the female calf has been off exhibit for about four weeks to give her time to bond with her mother, Francis. The calf is the first offspring at the Zoo for Francis, who came to Cleveland in 2009 from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and for her father, Ziggy, who came to the Zoo in 2010 from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. The calf brings the number of Slender-horned Gazelles at the Zoo up to five. The other members of the herd are adult females Bullet and Ella.

Standing about 30 inches tall and weighing about 60 pounds, these graceful Gazelles have large ears, which serve as a cooling mechanism in the scorching desert heat, and slightly oversized hooves for walking in sand. Both males and females have horns.

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Slender-horned Gazelles were once one of the most common Gazelles in the Sahara Desert. While they still have a wide range, including Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia, their populations are small and fragmented. They are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Slender-horned Gazelles.

Photo credits:  Joe Yachanin


Speaking of Speke's Gazelles...


A new female Speke's gazelle named Iris was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on January 6. This is the second offspring for mother Lily and father Chip. This birth is the result of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Speke's Gazelle Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program which manages Speke's gazelles in AZA zoos.

These small antelope are quite endangered in their arid homeland of Somalia. Their pale fawn color blends well with the sandy terrain there. To avoid predators, newborn calves lie motionless in the sparse vegetation, emerging from hiding long enough to nurse. 

The gazelle family can be seen together outside at Red Rocks on warmer days and inside the Antelope House on colder days. You can see in the video below that Iris has been exploring the habitat and getting used to stretching her legs by dodging adults and generally darting around!

CU Spekes w mom

Photo Credit: St. Louis Zoo


Orphaned Baby Mhorr Gazelle Thriving at Al Ain Zoo


Al Ain Zoo in the UAE has just closed a naming competition for their newest member... an endangered baby Mohrr gazelle. Keep an ear out for the winning name in the near future.

Born in late October, 2011, the baby was orphaned after it's mother passed away just hours after giving birth. A team of vets and zookeepers have been hand raising the little male, and he has been thriving.  They are taking the steps necessary to ensure the gazelle can be easily re-integrated into the herd one he's weaned and can feed himself. 

The baby is bottle-fed 5 times per day. Though he's kept in a separate area for now so he can be closely monitored as he grows, the enclosure is in close proximity to his herd, allowing connection and contact with them.

Dr Arshad Toosy, Manager of Venerinary Operations at Al Ain Zoo said, “We are delighted to welcome the new baby Mhorr gazelle to our western sub-species of the Dama gazelle, once lived in the Sahara desert areas in Morocco. Their numbers have rapidly declined due to hunting, over grazing by domestic livestock and civil unrest, and today the Mhorr gazelle exists only in captivity, where breeding and re-introduction programs are its only hope for survival.”


Photo Credit: Al Ain Zoo

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Endangered Gazelle Fawn, Elvira, Finds Her Feet


The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming a new arrival – a female Addra Gazelle calf born on Sunday, October 30, 2011, at approximately 8:00 am. The calf, named Elvira, weighed 4.95 kg (11 pounds) at birth, and is strong and healthy. Her parents are 9-year-old Pearl and 4-year-old Makuru. 

“Pearl, who gave birth to our male calf Ray-Ray in February, is unfortunately showing no signs of interest in her new offspring,” stated Mike McClure, general curator of the Zoo. “Because the calf is so significant to the overall population of this endangered species, we decided that a quick intervention was necessary in order to keep her healthy.”


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Busch Gardens Tampa Welcomes Baby Thomson's Gazelle


Busch Gardens’ hoof-stock care team is currently hand raising a baby female Thomson’s Gazelle. The baby weighed just over four pounds at birth on February 25. When the calf refused to take milk from its mother, the park’s animal care team started bottle-feeding the baby.  She is now receiving five bottle feedings each day and is weighed daily to monitor her health.  At  about four weeks old, she has already gained more than two pounds. Thomson’s Gazelle, also called “tommies,” are one of three migratory species that make up the vast Serengeti migration. Like the zebra and the wildebeest, the Tommie population can reach more than 500,000 per migration. This baby will remain in the park’s back area until she is healthy enough to join the herd of Thomson’s gazelles on the 65-acre Serengeti Plain. Guests can view the herd from Nairobi Walkway and get close-up views of the animals on the Serengeti Express Railway.


Photo credits: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Ray-Ray the Addra Gazelle Calf Takes Dinner Seriously

Baby Addra Gazelle at Maryland Zoo

Meet Ray-Ray, the Maryland Zoo's newest Addra Gazelle calf. Born February 5, the calf is strong and healthy. Named after Ravens players Ray Lewis and Ray Rice, the calf isn't quite yet ready to play with the big boys as he weighs just 11lbs 6oz (5.3kg). The Addra Gazelle, also known as the Dama Gazelle, is the largest and tallest of all gazelles. This species is critically endangered due to drought, disease communicated by domestic livestock, and habitat destruction.

Dinner time for a little Addra Gazelle calf at Maryland Zoo1Keeper Cristina Laurie joins little Ray-Ray for dinner time. Photo and video credits: Maryland Zoo

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Antlered Beasts in Record Numbers!


Desert Antelopes, a highly threatened and beautiful group of animals, are a key part of Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort’s (AWPR) conservation work. The year 2010 has seen a bumper harvest of young animals born in the zoo and a number of conservation research initiatives are moving ahead. 2010 marked one of AWPR’s best recorded year for Antelope births, with a record number of young Antelope raised, including 16 Scimitar-horned Oryx, 27 Arabian Oryx, ten Beisa Oryx, four Addax, three Chad Dama Gazelles, six Mhorr Dama Gazelles and six Speke’s Gazelles.

Addax-003 Addax babies huddle up behind Mom (above).


Mhorr-gazelle-003cropA baby Mhorr Gazelle pauses during a drink.

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