Hellabrunn

Sumatran Orangutan Becomes Adoptive Mother

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Matra, a Sumatran Orangutan at Hellabrunn Zoo, is known as good-natured and an affectionate mother to her offspring. She was born in 1975 and has made her home at the Zoo since 1993. In early October, she gave birth to a lovely little boy.

Not long after the birth of Matra’s boy, 13-year-old Jahe also welcomed a baby into the world. For Jahe, who is a relatively young and inexperienced mother, this represents her first successful pregnancy. The father of the two new arrivals is Bruno (the head of the group), making the two infants half-siblings.

Orangutans are typically solitary animals, but social bonds often form between adult females and their offspring. Keepers report that Jahe experienced apprehension and was overwhelmed soon after her baby’s birth. She willingly handed over her offspring to experienced mom, Matra, who has happily taken on the role of raising both babies. For several days, zookeepers began to notice that, in addition to her own son, Matra was carrying a second baby in her arms and breastfeeding both infants.

"As long as Matra produces enough milk, which she does, she can raise the two babies without any problem," says curator Beatrix Köhler. "The fact that Matra is caring for both babies is not so uncommon. This behavior is known to occur among Orangutans in their natural habitat, as well as in zoos. In the past, zoos have observed that the most experienced mum in the group takes care of all new offspring. This is a great relief for Jahe. One can observe that although she always watches Matra from afar, she is not interested in the child."

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4_OrangUtanMatra+Nachwuchs_TierparkHellabrunn2016_MarcMüller (2)Photo Credits: Hellabrunn Zoo / Marc Müller

Matra, who has lived at Hellabrunn since 1993, is now a mother for the sixth time. Her daughter Jolie, born in 2009 at Hellabrunn, also lives with her. She and the other female members of the group, Sitti and Isalie, have now become accustomed to the new situation with the two new babies. 

"To give Matra some privacy with the babies we have decided to create a temporary retreat space that will be screened off from the public, placing greater distance between the visitors and the animals", explains Köhler. "This allows Matra to decide when she wants to show off her offspring."

Furthermore, the retreat space and the screen, which will be in place until further notice, will also ensure that the other Orangutans continue to feel at ease in the group. "Bruno, in particular, loves the attention of visitors and, despite the new additions to the group, would like to be noticed by you," adds Köhler, who is in constant contact with the keepers and is confident that Matra will be able to handle the situation with two babies well.

Bruno, Hellabrunn's oldest Orangutan, has become a dad thirty times over. In addition to the two newborns, two of his daughters, Isalie and Jolie, also live at Hellabrunn Zoo. He was born in 1969 in Munich. However, he is not the oldest Orangutan residing in a scientifically managed zoo. The oldest is a 60-year-old Sumatran Orangutan, named Puan, who lives in Perth. His achievement is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

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Second Polar Bear Birth of the Year for Germany

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Three years after the birth of twin Polar Bears at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich, they are celebrating another arrival. On November 21, Giovanna gave birth to a healthy cub.

The newborn cub is in good health and mum Giovanna has been caring lovingly for her little one. The father of the latest offspring is 17-year-old Yoghi.

The birth at Hellabrunn represents only the second Polar Bear birth in Germany this year, after the birth of a cub at Tierpark Berlin.

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4_Eisbären-Junges mit Giovanna_25.11._TierparkHellabrunn2016Photo Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn

In their natural habitat, expectant females dig a den in a snowdrift, which provides shelter for giving birth and provides protection for the vulnerable newborn. At Hellabrunn Zoo, ten-year-old Giovanna has a birthing den, where she has retreated since the beginning of the autumn.

Following this voluntary seclusion by Giovanna, zookeepers were curious to find out if another cub would be born in the Polar World exhibit this year. Zoo curator Beatrix Köhler monitored Giovanna's behaviour via a video stream from the birthing den, "On the afternoon of 21 November, it became apparent that Giovanna was in labour. Unlike the birth of the twins Nela and Nobby, which could be clearly watched via video link, Giovanna gave birth to her third cub in a sitting position, so that the actual birth could not be seen."

The new cub is getting bigger and more active with each passing day. Giovanna keeps her little baby warm by holding it either at her neck or between her paws. "One can clearly see that Giovanna is an experienced mum. She handles her offspring with loving care and regularly checks to make sure everything is okay," explains Beatrix Köhler.

According to keepers, the cub currently weighs about 600 grams and is approximately 20 cm tall. However, the sex of the newborn cannot yet be determined.

Without siblings to compete with, the new arrival is expected to grow quickly in size and weight, thanks to mother's milk. The cub’s eyes will open for the first time after about four and a half weeks.

Christine Strobl, Mayor and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Hellabrunn Zoo, is extremely delighted, "The birth of another Polar Bear cub is a wonderful success for the zoo and represents a significant development in the conservation of this endangered species."

It may take some time before visitors will be able to see the newborn Polar Bear cub in the outdoor enclosure. The cub is expected to emerge, for the first time, towards the end of winter when it is strong enough to step outside. As with Giovanna and Yoghi’s twins, Nela and Nobby, dad will not play a part in raising the new cub. Female Polar Bears do not allow the male near their young, as the fathers may see their own offspring as potential prey and attempt to harm them.

A video link of the birthing den is available for visitors in the zoo’s Species Conservation Center, where visitors can have a view into the den via Live Stream.

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“It’s the Great Pumpkin…!”

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Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns are indicative of the fall season…and Halloween.

Zoo Keepers work hard to keep their animals healthy and happy. Enrichment toys and activities are an important tool that Keepers utilize to help in that pursuit. Enrichment items encourage natural behavior and stimulate the senses…and what could be more stimulating, this time of year, than celebrating by tearing into a bright orange pumpkin!

Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

2_Red pandas Jung and Nima get into the Halloween spirit at Chester Zoo on Pumpkin Day

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4_Amur tiger with pumpkin_Woburn Safari Park

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Image 1: (Lynx) Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Muller

Image 2: “Red Pandas, Jung and Nima, get into the Halloween spirit”/ Chester Zoo

Image 3: (Snow leopard) Woodland Park Zoo

Image 4: (Amur Tiger) Woburn Safari Park

Image 5: Piglets-in-a-pumpkin/ Tierpark Berlin

Image 6: “Andean Bear, Bernie, tucks into honey-coated treats”/ Chester Zoo

Image 7: “Black Jaguar, Goshi, enjoys and early treat”/ Chester Zoo

Images 8, 9: Elephant Pumpkin Stomp/ Denver Zoo

Image 10: (Chimpanzee)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 11: (Bison)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 12: (Giraffe “Mpenzi”)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 13: (Hippo)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 14: (Tiger)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 15: (Maned Wolf)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

More adorable Halloween pics, below the fold!

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“Q” & A at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich

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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.

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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).

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

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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”.

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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.

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Hellabrunn Zoo Is Hatching a Plan for Flamingos

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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).

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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.

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The Kids Are Alright at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich

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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”.

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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.

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Yak Calf Debuts at Hellabrunn Zoo

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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. 

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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.

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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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