Hellabrunn

“Q” & A at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich

1_Elk_offspring_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (2)

The youngest European Elk (Moose in North America), at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich, was born on May 23. 

This year every offspring born at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich will get a name starting with “Q”…so the new calf has been named Quanita. She is doing well and is under the great care of her mother Anita. Staff report that Quanita has also started to become more acquainted with her half-brother Quebec, who is one week older.

2_Elk_offspring_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (3)

3_Elk_offspring_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (1)

4_Elk_offspring_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (4)Photo Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Mueller

The Elk (Eurasia) or Moose (North America), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. The palmate antlers of the males distinguish Elk/Moose; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. They typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. The species used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities have greatly reduced it. Elk/Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Currently, most are found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Scandinavia, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. Their most common predators are wolves, bears and humans. Unlike most other deer species, Elk/Moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, they can become aggressive and move quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.

On average, an adult stands 1.4–2.1 m (4.6–6.9 ft) high at the shoulder. Males (or "bulls") normally weigh from 380 to 700 kg (838 to 1,543 lb) and females (or "cows") typically weigh 200 to 490 kg (441 to 1,080 lb). The head-and-body length is 2.4–3.1 m (7.9–10.2 ft), with the vestigial tail adding only a further 5–12 cm (2.0–4.7 in). Typically, the antlers of a mature bull are between 1.2 m (3.9 ft) and 1.5 m (4.9 ft).

Continue reading "“Q” & A at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich" »


Hellabrunn’s Emu Chicks Go to ‘Daddy Day Care’

1_Emu_chicks_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (3)

Hellabrunn Zoo Munich currently has five new Emu chicks! The chicks hatched between May 8th and May 14th, and the new mob is currently under the protective care of their ten-year-old father “Kanoro”.

2_Emu_chicks_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (2)

3_Emu_chicks_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (4)

4_Emu_chicks_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (1)Photo Credits: Marc Mueller

The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the second-largest living bird by height, after the ostrich. It is endemic to Australia where it is the largest native bird and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius.

Emus are soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds with long necks and legs, and can reach up to 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in height. Emus can travel great distances and sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph). They forage for a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go weeks without eating. They drink infrequently, but take in large amounts of water when opportunity arises.

Breeding takes place in May and June, and fighting among females for a mate is common. Females can mate several times and lay several clutches of eggs in one season.

The male does the incubation; during this process he hardly eats or drinks and loses a significant amount of weight. Incubation takes 56 days, and the male stops incubating the eggs shortly before they hatch. The temperature of the nest rises slightly during the eight-week period. Although the eggs are laid sequentially, they tend to hatch within two days of one another, as the eggs that were laid later experienced higher temperatures and developed more rapidly. During the process, the precocial Emu chicks need to develop a capacity for thermoregulation. During incubation, the embryos are kept at a constant temperature but the chicks will need to be able to cope with varying external temperatures by the time they hatch.

Newly hatched chicks are active and can leave the nest within a few days of hatching. They stand about 12 cm (5 in) tall at first, weigh 0.5 kg (17.6 oz), and have distinctive brown and cream stripes for camouflage, which fade after three months or so. The male guards the growing chicks for up to seven months, teaching them how to find food.

Chicks grow very quickly and are fully-grown in five to six months; they may remain with their family group for another six months or so before they split up to breed in their second season.

During their early life, their father, who adopts a belligerent stance towards other Emus, including the mother, defends the young Emus. He does this by ruffling his feathers, emitting sharp grunts, and kicking his legs to drive off other animals. He can also bend his knees to crouch over smaller chicks to protect them. At night, he envelops his young with his feathers. As the young Emus cannot travel far, the parents must choose an area with plentiful food in which to breed.

In captivity, Emus can live for upwards of ten years.

In the 1930s, Emu killings in Western Australia peaked at 57,000, due to rampant crop damage. In the 1960s, bounties were still being paid in Western Australia for killing Emus. Since then, wild Emus have been granted formal protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Their occurrence range is between 4,240,000 and 6,730,000 km2 (1,640,000–2,600,000 sq mi), and a 1992 census suggested that their total population was between 630,000 and 725,000. The bird is now classified as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

5_Emu_chicks_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (5)


Hellabrunn Zoo Is Hatching a Plan for Flamingos

1_Flamingo-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_Marisa Segadelli-MGsee (1)

A Flamingo chick pecking its way out of an egg was an almost daily occurrence for several weeks at Hellabrunn Zoo.

Warmed and well protected, the chicks at Hellabrunn Zoo began hatching on May 9th. Currently, seven chicks have been seen under their parents, and about a dozen chicks are still waiting to hatch from their eggs.

Zoo director, Rasem Baban, is delighted with the new births, "A total of seven chicks have been hatched. The Flamingos incubate about 20 eggs, in nest mounds made from mud. Once the sun comes out and the temperatures rise, the colorful offspring become independent and strike out on their own."

The Flamingo group at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich currently contains over 130 birds of the species’ American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) and Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus).

2_13244029_1178690438831896_6487639372542241792_o

3_13217432_1178690482165225_6014269550721779634_o

4_13248548_1178689685498638_2938850905119961602_oPhoto Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller (Images 2-4); Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marisa Segadelli-MGsee (Images 1,5-10)

Flamingos are among the oldest groups of birds. It is said they have existed on earth in their present form for about 30 million years.

Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other leg tucked beneath the body. The reason for this behavior is not fully understood. Research indicates that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water. However, the behavior also takes place in warm water. As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom.

Young Flamingos hatch with greyish reddish plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta-Carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly colored and thus a more desirable mate; a white or pale flamingo, however, is usually unhealthy or malnourished. Captive flamingos are a notable exception; many turn a pale pink, as they are not fed carotene at levels comparable to the wild.

The American Flamingo breeds in the Galápagos, coastal Colombia, Venezuela, and nearby islands, Trinidad and Tobago, along the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cuba, Hispaniola, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The American Flamingo was once also found in southern Florida, but since the arrival of Europeans, it has been all but eradicated there. Sightings today are usually considered to be escapees. From a distance, untrained eyes can also confuse it with the Roseate Spoonbill.

The Greater Flamingo is the largest and most widespread species of the Flamingo family. It is native to Africa, Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and southern Europe.

Continue reading "Hellabrunn Zoo Is Hatching a Plan for Flamingos " »


The Kids Are Alright at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich

1_Girgentanaziegen-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_D. Greenwood (6)

There has been a baby boom at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich…seriously, we aren’t ‘kidding’! Four Girgentana Goat kids were born there in the last two months!

According to staff, all new offspring born at the Zoo in 2016 are being given names that start with the letter ‘Q’ (babies born in 2015 all started with ‘P’).

Quirin was born February 18 to his mom, Orchidee. Male, Quax, and his sister, Quidana, were born February 22 to mom Mildred. The newest ‘kid’ was born March 9 to Penelope, and he has been named Quentino. The father of all the young is a four-year-old, known by the Zoo as “Mr. Montgomery”.

2_Girgentanaziegen-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_D. Greenwood (2)

3_Girgentanaziegen-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_D. Greenwood (3)

4_Girgentanaziegen-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_D. Greenwood (4)Photo Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn/D. Greenwood

The Girgentana is a breed of domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) indigenous to the province of Agrigento, in the southern part of the Mediterranean island of Sicily. The name of the breed derives from Girgenti, the name of Agrigento in local Sicilian language. There were in the past more than 30,000 head in the hills and coastal zone of the province. Today, however, this breed is in danger of disappearance. According to Hellabrunn Zoo Munich, there are only about 400 left.

The Girgentana Goat has characteristic horns, twisted into a spiral. It has a long beard and a primarily white coat with grey-brown hair around the head and throat. It is known for the production of high-quality milk.

The Girgentana is one of the eight autochthonous Italian goat breeds, for which a genealogical herdbook is kept by the Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia (the Italian national association of sheep-breeders).

It was formerly numerous in the province of Agrigento, where there were more than 30,000 in the coastal area and the hilly hinterland. It has since fallen rapidly, to the point that measures for its protection may be needed. At the end of 1993 the population was estimated at 524. In 2007, the conservation status of the breed was listed as "Endangered" by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). At the end of 2013 the registered population was 390.

5_Girgentanaziegen-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_D. Greenwood (5)

6_Girgentanaziegen-Nachwuchs_Hellabrunn_2016_D. Greenwood (1)


Yak Calf Debuts at Hellabrunn Zoo

1_Domestic Yak_Hellabrunn_2015_Bihler Photograpy (4)

Hellabrunn Zoo, in Munich, Germany, welcomed a new male domestic Yak. Pedro was born September 10, and he is the first offspring of four-year-old mother, Kat, and two-year-old father, Norbu. 

2_Domestic Yak_Hellabrunn_2015_Bihler Photograpy (1)

3_Domestic Yak_Hellabrunn_2015_Bihler Photograpy (2)

4_Domestic Yak_Hellabrunn_2015_Bihler Photograpy (3)Photo Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Bihler Photography

The Yak (Bos grunniens or Bos mutus) is a long-haired bovid found throughout the Himalaya region of southern Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. Most Yaks are domesticated (Bos grunniens). The small, vulnerable population of wild Yaks are ‘Bos mutus’.

The Yak may have diverged from cattle at some time in the past, and there is a suggestion that it may be more closely related to the bison that to the other members of its designated genus ‘Bos’.

The Yak is the largest native animal in their range. Wild Yak adults stand about 5.2 to 7.2 feet (1.6 to 2.2 m) tall at the shoulder and weigh 672 to 2,205 lbs (305 to 1,000 kg). Domesticated Yaks are much smaller, males weighing 770 to 1,280 lbs (350 to 580 kg) and females 496 to 562 lbs (225 to 255 kg).

Wild Yaks typically have black or dark brown hair, with a greyish muzzle. Wild Yaks with golden coloring are known as ‘Wild Golden Yak’ and are considered endangered in China. Domesticated Yaks have a wider range of coat coloring, with some individuals being white, grey, brown, roan or piebald. Hellabrunn’s new calf, Pedro, inherited the white coloring of his father, instead of the black his mother exhibits.

Gestation for Yaks lasts between 257 and 270 days. The female finds a secluded spot to give birth, but the calf is able to walk within about ten minutes of birth, and the pair soon rejoins the herd. Females of both the wild and domestic forms typically give birth only once every other year. Calves are weaned at one year and become independent shortly thereafter.

Wild Yaks usually form herds of ten to thirty individuals. Their diet consists largely of grasses and sedges. They also eat a smaller amount of herbs, shrubs, mosses, and occasionally lichen.

The wild Yak (Bos mutus) is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is inferred that the species has declined over 30% the last 30 years, based on direct observations, decline in range, and continued threats to their habitat.


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.

2_Panzernashorn Jungtier_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller_20

3_Panzernashornbaby_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (4)

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.

Continue reading "First Indian Rhino Calf of 2015 at Hellabrunn Zoo" »


Drill Troop at Hellabrunn Welcomes Newest Member

1_Drill-Jungtier Pinto mit Mama Kaduna_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc  Müller (1)

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. 

2_Drill-Jungtier Pinto mit Mama Kaduna_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc  Müller (3)

3_Drill-Jungtier Pinto_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (3)

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.

Continue reading "Drill Troop at Hellabrunn Welcomes Newest Member" »


German Zoo Fans Are Taken With This Takin

Takin-Jungtier Paulina_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (5)
A Mishmi Takin calf at Hellabrunn Zoo is already displaying the skills required to be a Takin: climbing, fighting, and leaping onto rocks. 

Takin-Jungtier Paulina mit Mutter Kim_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (1)
Takin-Jungtier Paulina_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (3)
Takin-Jungtier Paulina_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc Müller (4)
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.

Continue reading "German Zoo Fans Are Taken With This Takin" »


After 11 Years, Hellabrunn Zoo Welcomes A King Penguin Chick

4 penguin

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.

3 penguin

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.

Continue reading "After 11 Years, Hellabrunn Zoo Welcomes A King Penguin Chick" »


UPDATE: Polar Bear Twins Visit the Vet

Eisbärenzwillinge_Hellabrunn_2014
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. 

Eisbaerenbabys_Hellabrunn_Tag 54_Purzelbaum1
Eisbärenbabys_Tag 60_1.Gehversuche
Eisbärenbabys_Tag 52_Hellabrunn (2)
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.