Hoofed Stock

There's a New Kid at Stone Zoo

Markhor kid 3; credit Dayle Sullivan-TaylorVisitors to Stone Zoo will notice a new furry face with the recent birth of a Markhor, an endangered Mountain Goat species.

The female kid, born on May 30, was walking within a half hour of birth and was observed nursing within 45 minutes of birth.  She made her public debut on June 6 and has already been demonstrating the incredible agility that is a hallmark of this species.

Markhor kid 2; credit Dayle Sullivan-Taylor
Markhor kid; credit Dayle Sullivan-TaylorPhoto Credit:  Dayle Sullivan-Taylor

“The experienced mother is very attentive and is doing everything she should be doing. These animals are skilled climbers suited to rough, rocky terrain, and it’s amazing to observe the agility in the kid at such a young age,” said Pete Costello, Assistant Curator of Stone Zoo.

Zoo New England participates in the Markhor Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding.

Markhors are native to the Himalayan Mountains. Their range includes northern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and they typically live around or above the tree line. The largest of the wild Goat species, Markhor have broad hooves and striking spiral horns that can grow to three feet long in mature males. These endangered animals face a number of threats including hunting as well as competition for food. The long corkscrew-shaped horns that males develop as they mature are much sought after by trophy hunters. These animals are also competing against domestic livestock for food and water resources in their native habitat.

 


Meet Zoo Basel's Four Reindeer Calves

Rentier_jungtiere_ZO21291Four Reindeer were born at Zoo Basel in quick succession between April 20 and May 5.  All four calves were healthy, following their mothers and nursing within just a few hours of their births. 

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Rentier_jungtiere_ZO21033Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel

Zoo staff are always pleased to see babies nurse soon after birth, because this is the only time when the mothers produce colostrum milk.  Colostrum is rich in antibodies that protect against disease in newborns with underdeveloped immune systems. Reindeer milk is rich in fat, which allows the young animals to grow very quickly in a short period of time – something vital for their survival in the bitterly cold Arctic tundra.

Before giving birth, pregnant female Reindeer separate themselves from the herd and look for a quiet location, usually a stall in the barn. When a calf is born, the zoo’s veterinarians examine the newborn, insert an ID chip, deliver a selenium and Vitamin E shot to prevent white muscle disease, and antibodies to boost their immune system. Their navel is also disinfected with an iodine solution. 

Reindeer have unusual feeding habits, and the nutritional quality of their food is more important than the quantity.  In the Arctic tundra where they live, Reindeer feed mainly on lichens, which are a good source of energy.  They do not graze on grasses, which are high in fiber and low in nutrients.  At the zoo, the Reindeer receive hay, vegetables, and pelleted food supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

Reindeer are the only species of domesticated deer and the only one where the females have antlers. On their seasonal migrations, huge herds of more than 100,000 Reindeer migrate up to 3,000 miles - the longest migration of any land mammal. Reindeer have another peculiar characteristic, which can be heard if you stand close by:  when they walk, they make a soft clicking noise. This sound comes from a tendon on their hind legs that slips over the bone as they walk.

See more photos of the calves below.

Continue reading "Meet Zoo Basel's Four Reindeer Calves" »


Two Bonnie Baby Bentangs at Edinburgh Zoo

Banteng + Calf - Edinburgh Zoo - Wed 24 Feb 2016 (photographer - Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)
Two calves were born this spring to the Edinburgh Zoo’s herd of Banteng, an endangered species of wild Asian Cattle.

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Photo Credits: Andy Catlin (1), Maria Dorrian (2,4), Edinburgh Zoo (3, 5, 6, 7, 8)

The first calf was born on February 15 and is a male, and the second calf, a female, was born on March 11.  The two youngsters, who have not yet been named, can be seen with their family in the zoo’s outdoor paddock.  Keepers report that though the two calves will stay close to their mothers until they are six to nine months old, they often prance and jump with other members of the zoo’s herd.  Banteg are social animals that live in herds of up to 40 individuals.

The zoo is hopeful that the two Banteng calves will contribute to the conservation of this endangered species in the future. 

Banteng, also known as Tembadau, are a species of wild Cattle found in Southeast Asia that feed on grasses, bamboo, leaves, and fruits. Calves of both sexes are born with light brown coats. It is easy to distinguish between the sexes as they mature:  Males have a dark brown coat, while females are light brown with a dark strip down the back.

Listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Banteng are threatened by illegal hunting and habitat loss. In Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, this species faces local extinction. Interbreeding with domestic cattle has caused hybridization, thereby contaminating the gene pool and increasing the transmission of diseases with domestic cattle.

See more photos of the Bantengs below.

Continue reading "Two Bonnie Baby Bentangs at Edinburgh Zoo" »


Foal Part of Conservation Success Story

Bukhara_Kellsey Melhuish (2)Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted to announce the birth of a Przewalski’s Horse foal, born on January 20.

The female foal has been named Bukhara after a reserve in Uzbekistan, Mongolia, where the population of this Critically Endangered species is regaining a foothold after being declared Extinct in the wild.

Bukhara_Kellsey Melhuish (1)Photo Credit:  Kellsey Melhuish
 
“Both mother and foal are doing well. The foal is staying close to her mother’s side although she is starting to become curious about her surroundings. She continues to gain strength and confidence,” said Unit Supervisor Pascale Benoit.

Native to central Asia, the Przewalski’s Horse is Critically Endangered and was once classified as Extinct in the wild. In 1995, five Przewalski’s Horses from Taronga Western Plains Zoo were flown to Mongolia and reintroduced to the wild in the Gobi Desert as part of a herd assembled by zoos from around the world. Since then, the Horses’ numbers have steadily increased in Mongolia.

“There are now almost 2,000 Przewalski’s Horses in human care and in the wild today, which is a huge step for this species that was once Extinct in the wild,” said Pascale.


Seeing Double: Two Rare Onagers Born In One Day

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Keepers at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo are celebrating the arrival of two exceptionally rare Onagers.  The foals were born within hours of each other to two different mothers on July 4 after year-long pregnancies.

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Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
 
The Onager is an Asiatic wild ass and was once found in abundance across the deserts of Mongolia, China, and Iran. Now, they are found in just two protected areas and over the past 16 years their numbers have declined by more than 50%.

“Onagers are the rarest equid species in the world and one of the rarest animals that we have here at the zoo, so we were absolutely delighted to have two foals arrive - one male and one female - during same night!” said Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at Chester Zoo.

“We hope the foals themselves will one day go on to contribute to the international breeding program for the species, which is working to ensure there’s a sustainable population in zoos,”  Rowlands said.

The species is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature after decades of illegal poaching, overgrazing, and disease passed on from farm animals. Research suggests that only 600 Onagers remain in the wild and very few zoos in the world work with the animals due to the challenges of breeding and keeping the species.

Chester Zoo is part of an international conservation effort and is helping to save Onagers from extinction through this successful breeding program.


Reindeer Calf is Stone Zoo's First

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A Reindeer calf born on April 27 is the first ever born at the Stone Zoo in Massachusetts and is already in the exhibit with mother Holly and father Cornelius.Reindeer calf

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Mom and babyPhoto Credit:  Zoo New England/Dayle Sullivan Taylor
The newborn male Reindeer, which weighs 15 pounds, appeared healthy, bright and alert at his first well-baby examination. As with any new birth, the veterinary and animal management staffs are closely monitoring the mother and baby. 

“We are thrilled to share news of this exciting birth,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “Holly is a protective first-time mother and she is being very attentive to her newborn calf. The baby has been standing and walking, and he is nursing well. Visitors are going to take great delight in watching this baby grow up.”

The gestation period for Reindeer is about 7 months. Pregnant Reindeer do not shed their antlers until a few days to a week after giving birth. Reindeer are the only species of cervid (member of the deer family) where both males and females have antlers.

The Reindeer is one of 36 species of deer in the world. These animals can be found in the arctic tundra, as well as in boreal forests in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. They have been domesticated in Scandinavia for thousands of years. The Reindeer has two thick coats – an outer coat and undercoat – that help it stay warm in cold temperatures. The Reindeer’s two-toed hooves help prevent slips and falls in icy conditions. Reindeer are herbivores and feed on leaves, bark, moss and lichen.


Z is for Zebu at Zoo Basel

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A shy Dwarf Zebu calf born on April 14 at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel is becoming more spirited as it grows.

The male calf is the second for the mother, five-year-old Conny.  Zoo officials were especially pleased with the smooth delivery of this calf, because Conny had already delivered one calf by Cesarean section and had miscarried another calf. 

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10153242_676010172436726_2468899010021385578_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Basel

Zoo officials say the Dwarf Zebu calf was so shy that he hid behind his mother’s legs most of the time.  But curiosity has gotten the better of the calf, and he has started approaching the other cows, looking for milk. 

When the calf approaches the bull, he is immediately chased away and runs to his mother.  But during his photo session, the calf was not at all shy about checking out the photographer.

Dwarf Zebu are one of more than 700 domestic cattle breeds worldwide.  They have a large hump on their shoulders, a droopy dewlap, and large ears.  Because they are tolerant of hot, humid conditions, Zebu are widely used in tropical countries to pull heavy loads and for their milk and meat.  Zebu originated in Southeast Asia.


Two Little Reindeer Born at Prague Zoo

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Prague's Zoo Praha has two new baby reindeer, a boy and a girl. The male was born on Friday the 13th and the female came along about three days later. They went out in the zoo's large paddock for visitors to see for the first time on April 20. The mothers can be seen with their babies following closely behind them.  The father of both is Mirda, who himself was born in Prague Zoo.

Their large, broad hooves spread apart to form a nearly circular print and help them navigate the soft ground that covers much of the tundra in which they live in the wild. They also aid in digging for food under the snow. 

Reindeer are a species of deer found in the far northern areas of arctic Europe, Asia, and North America extending onto the tundra above the tree-line. They are called Caribou in America. Domesticated for thousands of years, they were mainly used as beasts of burden and farmed for milk, meat and their hides, reindeer have been the economic basis of the Lapp culture. Today they are raised in many areas of the world outside of their native arctic.

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Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha


Meet Blossom the Blesbok Calf, Born at Belfast Zoo

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The flowers at Belfast Zoological Gardens are not the only things ‘blossoming’ this spring, as keepers are celebrating the birth of Blossom, the Blesbok calf. Its father, Basel, arrived in Belfast in 2009 from Africa Alive in Suffolk and was soon joined by mother, Daphne. The pair’s relationship has since ‘blossomed’ and they welcomed their first calf on March 5. 

Blesbok are a species of antelope that are indigenous to the open grasslands of South Africa. This species was first discovered by settlers in the 17th century and their numbers were said to be so huge that they filled the horizon. However, blesbok were hunted for their skin and for meat and by the 19th century they were on the verge of extinction. Protective measures have since been put in place and the population has sufficiently increased to the point that the species has been removed from the endangered list.

Zoo Manager, Mark Challis, said, “The zoo team are all delighted to be playing an active role in the conservation of this beautiful species which has been brought back from the brink of extinction by conservation efforts.  We only became home to blesbok in 2009 and this is the first time that a blesbok has been bred in Ireland.  Let’s hope there will be many more in the future! ”

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Photo Credcit: Belfast Zoo


Two New Animal Babies for Prague Zoo

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In the Children's Zoo at Zoo Praha in Prague something special happened: two furry babies - an alpaca llama and dwarf zebu -- were born. Both are thriving under the care of their mothers.

Alpaca are related to the camel and the llama. Once nearly driven to extinction by Spanish conquerors, a small number survived high in the Andes Mountains, thanks to their adaptability. Now they populate the mountain plateaus in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Highly pirzed for their luxurious coats, the alpaca has been a treasured blessing to the people who live near them. Their fleece grows in abundance, in 22 naturally different shades, from black to champagne color, and is easy to shear to make coats, hats, and the like. They are very low maintenance, needing little to drink or eat. They nibble at grasses and do no harm to trees and other plants. 

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Dwarf Zebu like the ones below are a kind of cow and stand about 4 feet tall (1.22 meters), with a large hump on the shoulders. They have long, slender legs, and a large dewlap -- a fold of loose skin that hangs from the neck. Unlike many other horned animals, their horns point forward.

Found primarily in Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, they have been mostly domesticated and become very helpful draft animals. Their small size allows them to survive on scarce food supplies, so they are easier to maintain than larger cattle.

Due to the gentle nature of both, these animals make perfect ambassadors for their species in the Children's Zoo, where kids can get up close as they learn about them. 

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Photo Credit: Tomas Adamec/Prague Zoo