First Indian Rhino Calf of 2015 at Hellabrunn Zoo

1_Panzernashornbaby_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (3) On September 9, a recently born Indian Rhinoceros baby was finally presented to the public, at Hellabrunn Zoo, offering visitors an opportunity to see the first Indian Rhinoceros born, worldwide, in a zoo in 2015. Mama rhino Rapti and her calf can now be seen in the Rhino House and its outdoor enclosure, at the Munich zoo.

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4_Panzernashornbaby_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (1)Photo Credits: Hellabrunn Zoo / Marc Müller

He is one of the last of his species, but fortunately the little rhino bull is not aware of how important he is. He runs and romps in his enclosure full of energy, enjoying the sun and from time to time giving mama Rapti several nudges and prods as a way of pestering her to come and play. As with most baby rhinoceros, this storm and stress phase is usually followed by moments of calm, when the little rhino lies down for a rest.

The yet to be named young bull was born at Hellabrunn Zoo on August 31, 2015 at 9:01 am. Since then, his mother Rapti has been looking after him with patience and care. He regularly nurses and receives a lot of body contact from her. He has not yet met his father, Niko, who also lives at Hellabrunn.

Three days after the birth, the baby rhino suddenly appeared to be in a weakened state. Zoo veterinarian’s and staff made a quick decision to keep the mother and child behind the scenes for a little longer and initiate intensive treatment. He was monitored around the clock by the keepers and examined and treated several times daily by the vets. The newborn calf was quickly back on his feet and was eventually given the all-clear.

There are currently just under 3,000 Indian Rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis) left on the planet, of which, just over 200 live in zoos. "The rhino bull is of great importance for the global conservation breeding programme," says Hellabrunn zoo director Rasem Baban, underlining the importance of breeding for conservation. "Hopefully he will bear many offspring."

The Indian Rhino is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In addition to habitat loss, the rhino population has been brought close to extinction by hunting, primarily for their horn. The rhino horn - in the powdered form - is highly valued in traditional Asian medicine, even though it has no proven medical benefit, since the horn mostly consists of keratin, which is also found in human fingernails and hair. The threat makes conservation breeding in zoos all the more important. There are only five zoos in Germany that keep Indian Rhinoceroses. Rapti, who was born in Nepal, is therefore particularly important for the gene pool of Indian Rhinos living in zoos. Her genes have now been successfully passed on to the newborn bull.

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Drill Troop at Hellabrunn Welcomes Newest Member

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The newest member of the Drill troop at Hellabrunn Zoo was born June 24th.  The tiny male, named Pinto, is the offspring of dad, Bakut (12), and experienced mom Kaduna (10).  

This is Kaduna’s third baby; her two oldest sons are Nepomuk, who was born on 8 May 2013, and Oneto, born on 11 September 2014. The Drill family at the zoo in Munich is now comprised of seven members: Bakut, Kaduna, Afi, Nepomuk, Napongo, Oneto and the new baby. 

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4_Drill-Jungtier Pinto mit Mama Kaduna_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc  Müller (4)Photo Credits: Marc Müller

Zoo director Rasem Baban is delighted with the birth of the new baby, "In just two years, four Drill babies were born at Hellabrunn, three of which are the offspring of Kaduna and Bakut. We are especially proud of the successful breeding, as Drills are among the most endangered primate species in the world. Little Pinto now lives with his brothers and the three adult Drills, in the Monkey World at Hellabrunn, where he can join in exploring the newly designed outdoor enclosure with natural rock walls and climbing facilities, as well as many plants and a water course."

At the moment, Pinto prefers clinging to mama Kaduna’s belly. This is the safest place for him, and he knows he won't have to go far to get mama's milk. The baby of the family needs a lot of milk, so Kaduna currently prefers to eat energy-boosting foods such as bananas and protein-rich pellets. In addition to draining the mother's energy, a lot of patience is required to raise the young baby. Infant drills, like Pinto, are suckled up to a year, but they also begin to try solid food a few months after birth. Adult Drills, at Hellabrunn Zoo, eat mainly vegetables (lettuce and leeks) and all kinds of fruit.

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German Zoo Fans Are Taken With This Takin

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A Mishmi Takin calf at Hellabrunn Zoo is already displaying the skills required to be a Takin: climbing, fighting, and leaping onto rocks. 

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Photo Credit:  Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

Born on February 19, the calf, named Paulina, displays her amazing climbing skills by springing onto rocks more than twice her height. Adult Mishmi Takins can leap more than 12 feet.

Paulina was born to female Kim, who is nursing her calf and being a good mother.  The calf stood on her first try - an essential requirement for prey that need to run to survive.

Aside from mother’s milk, Paulina has nibbled on all the food that adult Takins like to eat, including carrots, hay, and pine needles. 

Both female and male Takins have distinctive short, stout horns that curve upwards from the center of the head. Signs of baby Paulina’s horn growth began to appear three days after birth. This makes the little calf look like a mini version of her mother, who is nicknamed "Sporty Kim" by her keepers because she is so energetic.

Paulina follows Kim's every move and tests the power of her little horns by annoying her father, Till, who takes everything in stride.

Mishmi Takins are native to southeast Tibet, China's southwest Yunnan province, northeast India, and northern Myanmar. Their stocky, muscular bodies and two-toed hooves are well-suited to their mountainous habitat.  Their thick, shaggy coats are covered by an oily substance secreted by the skin, which protects against the cold, damp air of the Himalayas.

See more photos of the Takin calf below.

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After 11 Years, Hellabrunn Zoo Welcomes A King Penguin Chick

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A fluffy newborn chick has come along to steal the show at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo! The chick is the first King Penguin to be born at the zoo in 11 years. The father, 22-year-old Nautilus, and the mother, 11-year-old Rocio, keep a watchful eye on their little one, who hatched on October 11.  

King Penguins are notoriously difficult to breed. First, compatible partners have to be brought together, and then both parents have to take turns incubating the egg, guarding the chick and foraging for food to feed the newborn. 

For about 55 days, both parents took turns sitting on the egg. Once the chick emerged from the egg, the mother and father have alternated between guarding the newborn and foraging for food. The chick is fed regurgitated fish up to 20 times a day. Whenever the chick is hungry, it makes a unique begging call to attract the parents’ attention.

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1 penguinPhoto credit: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

"Our little King Penguin is doing great! And it’s well looked after by its parents,” says Zoo Director Rasem Baban. “In about seven months, after the molt, we will be able to take a sample of its feathers and run some DNA tests to determine if it is male or female. But no matter what gender it is, the birth of a King Penguin chick after 11 years is a great success."

See and read more after the fold.

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UPDATE: Polar Bear Twins Visit the Vet

Twin Polar Bears born on December 9 at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo got their first medical checkup last week and were proclaimed in excellent health.

You first met the twins on ZooBorns just a few weeks after they were born to mother Giovanna, age 7, and father Yoghi, age 14.  For the twins’ exam, zoo staff members separated the babies from Giovanna for the first time. 

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Photo Credit:  Munich Zoo Hellabrunn


The zoo’s three veterinarians performed a quick medical checkup.  They weighed the babies, determined their gender, and inserted an identification chip in each cub.  After just five minutes with the vets, the cubs were returned to Giovanna, who conducted her own very detailed inspection of her cubs before allowing them to nurse.

"As I suspected, the twins are a girl and a boy. And quite surprisingly, the girl is considerably stronger, weighing 5.4 kg (12 lb). The darker of the two is the boy, who weighs 4.6 kg (10 lb)," says zoo director Dr. Andreas Knieriem. 

Dr. Christine Gohl is equally impressed: "The polar bear babies are healthy. The chips mean they now also have an 'identity card' and can be properly registered in Hellabrunn Zoo's animal database." 

The two baby polar bears will still be protected by their mother Giovanna in their Arctic-style family home for several weeks to come, without contact with the outside world. They will probably venture outdoors for the first time in late March.  It is not yet known whether father Yoghi will join the family or continue to be separated from them.  Zoo keepers will base their decision on how Giovanna reacts to him.

Hellabrunn Zoo Welcomes Polar Bear Twins

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On December 9, a Polar Bear named Giovanna gave birth to two cubs at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo. Both births were seen on cameras installed in the birthing den and the connecting corridor to the main den. This is remarkable on two counts: for both births, Giovanna positioned herself so that she was directly in the cameras’ field of view. Secondly, this is the first time that a Polar Bear birth has been filmed in color worldwide!

The cubs were born at 08:39 and 09:43 respectively, to parents Giovanna (7) and Yogi (14). The zoo’s director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem, enthused, “It is as if we were there live watching the labour and birth of a Polar Bear and, as if that weren’t enough, Giovanna showed us not one, but two very different births!”

Curator Beatrix Köhler is impressed with the Polar Bear mom’s behavior, saying, "Giovanna is caring for her twins very capably as if she were an experienced mother, but at seven years old, she is actually a first-time mum!”

The cubs are pictured at three weeks old. 

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Photo credit: Hellabrun Zoo

See a video of the little cubs:


Hellabrunn Zoo has shared a timeline of events describing the two remarkable births:

08:37: Giovanna walks down the corridor between the two dens. She bites one of her front paws to counteract the pain of a contraction. Then she moves out of camera view but then takes several steps back into frame.

08:39: View of Giovanna’s back. A polar bear cub slides onto the floor in a very speedy birth. It is about 8 inches (20 cm) long, hairless, smeared in blood, blind and deaf.

09:40: Giovanna pushes her back legs forcefully against the wall and her body shakes as she has a contraction.

09:43: A thin arm, a small head and then another arm come into view. Giovanna gives birth to a second baby. At this point she is so busy with her first born that she doesn’t attend to the second baby immediately. The little one is left to fend for itself for the next few minutes. It wriggles and turns round and is very active.

10:05: Giovanna notices something going on behind her. She turns her head and notices the second baby. She turns round and picks it up carefully in her mouth. Then she leans against the wall and lays it on her leg next to its older sibling.

22:40: The babies now resemble miniature Polar Bears. Giovanna has painstakingly licked them clean over the last few hours so that they are now bright white and dry. They are snuggling into mum’s warm coat and tumbling around on her chest. They’re already drinking her milk.

December 11 2013, two days after the birth: the Polar Bear twins are developing well. Giovanna is taking excellent care of them. They are both regularly drinking her milk. In between, they are tumbling around on mum.

The first weeks in a Polar Bear cub’s life are critical. Caretakers say that Giovanna is acquitting herself admirably, but still complications could arise. She won’t be out and about in the external enclosure with her cubs until March 2014 at the earliest.

First Arctic Fox Cubs Born at Hellabrunn in Zoo's 102-year History

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Ronja, a two-year-old Arctic Fox at Munich's Hellabrunn zoo, gave birth to cubs on April 26 in the privacy of her den, but only now – roughly seven weeks later - are keepers and zoo visitors getting their first glimpse of the babies! Initially five cubs had been counted… but then, keepers spotted a sixth! The individual cubs can be identified by the color of their fur - one has white paws, another a white bib, and one is completely grey. It's still too early yet to know what sex each is. These are the first Arctic Fox cubs to be born in the entire 102 year history of the zoo.

The cubs spend most of their time cuddling up to their mother in their den. Although the little ones still sleep a lot, they are getting more active all the time. About five times a day Mom and Dad (named Yaqui, also two years old), show them the world beyond the den for about 15 minutes at a time. And where they once only nursed, at this age they are almost weaned, as their pointed teeth have grown in and they have begun to eat meat. 

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Photo Credit: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Read more about these cubs after the fold:

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