The Houston Zoo welcomed a Pygmy Marmoset, born July 27. The baby, whose sex is still unknown, was born to veteran parents Oko and Per. The baby is born to an already large family with 3 older brothers and 1 older sister. While it will spend most of its time riding on the back of its dad or brother, everyone in the family will take a turn in helping to care for the little one.
Pygmy Marmosets are generally born in pairs, but "singlets" such as this are not uncommon. Singlets tend to be larger that babies born in pairs, and this baby is no exception. It already weights .08 pounds (36 grams), which is huge in comparison to most baby pygmy marmosets. Interestingly enough, the baby is weighed by weighing both
dad and the baby, then subtracting dad's weight.
Pygmy Marmosets are the world's smallest true monkeys. They live in rainforests of the Amazon Basin of South America. They are currently threatened by habitat loss
as well as pet trade.
A few months ago, ZooBorns reported on two endangered Madagascar Big-headed Turtles who laid a total of 33 eggs at the Houston Zoo. Because the ground was too cold for the eggs to develop, the females were induced to lay the eggs in the safety of the zoo clinic. On May 18 and 19, three of the eggs hatched!
Photo Credits: Beth Moorehead/Houston Zoo (1); Tina Carpenter/Houston Zoo (2,3)
Though the remainder of the 33 eggs were infertile, zoo keepers say this result is not unusual in young female turtles who have just reached maturity.
The hatchlings are currently behind the scenes until they are old enough to be on exhibit. In the meantime, zoo visitors can see their older siblings, who hatched on September 15, inside the reptile house.
The Big-headed Turtles live in the moat of the zoo's Lemur exhibit. Zoo keepers have created a sandy spot for the female turtles to dig in and lay their next clutch of eggs.
The hatching of these Turtles is significant because they are one of the world's most endangered Turtle species. Found only on the island of Madagascar, they are traded illegally for use in traditional Asian medicine.
Bird keepers at the Houston Zoo have been busy lately as they have been providing care for their newest resident, a Plush-Crested Jay chick. The chick, who was the lone hatchling from its clutch, is being closely monitored by keepers. Caretakers in the zoo's bird department have been feeding the chick daily and closely monitoring its weight to make sure that it's growing at an acceptable rate.
Photo credits: Houston Zoo
Plush-Crested Jays are a type of Corvid native to the central regions of southern South America in Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. These medium sized birds have dark coloration with a whitish cream colored chest. Plush-Crested Jay chicks, like most birds, are very dependent on their parents after hatching, and don't even open their eyes until they are a week old.
On Wednesday April 3, at 3:55 pm, the Houston Zoo's four and a half year old Nyala antelope named Ginger went into labor. By 4:02, the healthy baby boy had already kicked his way out of his mom and onto the ground, making this one of the fastest deliveries seen by staff. The baby was very quick to get on his feet and to begin nursing and even to start exploring his new world.
The new baby has yet to be named, but he is now spending afternoons in the newly constructed west hoof run exhibit at the Houston Zoo with the entire Nyala antelope family. Please stop by the new west hoof run exhibit to see our newest addition to the family.
A word of caution though, Nyala antelope like to “stash” their babies so that predators in the wild would not find them. So if you don’t see him running around chasing his bigger brother, then you may have to look deep into some of the foliage we have in the exhibit for a glimpse of him.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bledsoe-Adams/Houston Zoo
This is the second birth for mom Ginger and for dad Niles. Their first offspring, a boy named Cashew, was born July 14th 2012
Lurking in the murky waters of the Houston
Zoo’s Lemur exhibit moat are seven critically endangered Madagascar Big-headed
Turtles. When the Turtles received their
annual veterinary checkup, radiographs and ultrasounds revealed that two of the females had
Photo Credits: Houston Zoo
The females would normally lay their eggs in nests excavated near the water’s
edge, but the Houston Zoo staff determined that ground temperatures were too
cold for the eggs to develop successfully.
Instead, the zoo veterinarian induced the females to lay their eggs in
the safety of the clinic. The two females laid a total of 33 eggs!
The eggs were collected and placed in two separate incubators in the reptile
house, with temperatures set at 28.5° Celsius (83.3°F) and 30.5° Celsius
(86.9°F). The Houston Zoo is the first in North America to incubate eggs
from Madagascar Big-headed Turtles, and little data exists. The staff expects the first hatchlings to
emerge sometime in May.
Madagascar Big-headed Turtles are found only on the island of Madagascar,
where they inhabit slow-moving streams.
Though they are among the world’s most endangered turtle species, they
are still eaten for food and illegally shipped to Asia, where they are used for
traditional Asian medicine.
The newest and tallest addition to the Houston Zoo is a male
Masai Giraffe, born to 5-year-old mom Neema and 6-year old dad Mtembei early on
February 25, after a 14-month gestation. The calf weighs 139 pounds (62 kilos),
and stands 74 inches tall (1.87 m). “The calf was standing on his own a little over an
hour after he was born and was nursing about 4 hours later,” said Hoofed Stock Supervisor John Register.
The calf has been named Yao by the keepers who
cared for Neema through her pregnancy, in honor of former Houston Rockets player
Yao Ming. Working with the conservation organization WildAid, Yao Ming has led
the world’s largest conservation awareness program spotlighting illegal
elephant and rhino poaching in Africa and the shark fin trade in Asia. Yao toured the Zoo’s Giraffe, Rhino and Elephant exhibits on February 14. You can
read more about that and his efforts for conservation on the Houston Zoo’s
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bledsoe-Adams/Houston Zoo
While Masai Giraffes are not threatened or endangered in their native habitat, there are only about 100 of the species living in 24 North American zoos. Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal. Males average 17 feet in height and can weigh up to 2,500 pounds. Female Masai giraffes typically reach a height of 14 feet. At birth, Masai giraffes weigh between 125 and 150 pounds and stand approximately 6 feet tall.
week the Houston Zoo announced that five baby Madagascar Big-Headed Turtles
hatched in their Madagascar Lemur exhibit. The hatchlings are small – approximately 6.8 g each, just a little larger than an US Quarter, and averaging only 28.7mm wide
and 32.3 mm long.
is the first hatching at a zoo in the United States – and Houston is one of the
only zoos in the world that is currently breeding them. Ranked at number 16 on the worlds’ most endangered turtle and tortoise list, these turtles are
facing extinction due to drastic deforestation and illegal hunting.
This species can only be found in seven protected areas in western
Photo Credit: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo
Read more about these endangered Turtles after the jump:
The Houston Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a male Masai Giraffe. Mom Tyra delivered the healthy baby shortly before 8 p.m. on July 14 following a 14 month pregnancy. This is 14-year-old Tyra’s seventh calf. The proud first time father, Mtembei is 5 years old.
“Tyra went into labor at approximately 4:50 p.m. on July 14 and delivered her baby boy at 7:48 p.m.,” said Houston Zoo Hoofed Stock Supervisor John Register. The calf was standing on his own and nursing by 8:27 p.m. John added, “The calf weighs about 160 pounds (73 kilos), and is over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall. He’s a strong healthy baby."
While Masai Giraffes are not threatened or endangered in their native habitat, there are 92 Masai Giraffes living in 24 North American zoos. Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal. The average male is about 17 feet tall and can weigh 3,000 pounds, while an average female is over 14 feet tall. With this new arrival, the Houston Zoo’s herd of Masai Giraffe has grown to 8, including 5 males and 3 females.
The Houston Zoo is holding an online naming contest for the newest addition to the giraffe herd. Visit the Zoo online at http://www.houstonzoo.org/babygiraffe/ to cast your vote for your favorite choice from the list of names chosen by the Zoo’s giraffe keepers.
After months of tender loving care and sleepless nights, a team of 50 trained Houston Zoo care givers who have been hand-raising baby orangutan Aurora, achieved its ultimate goal – Aurora’s ‘adoption’ by the Zoo’s experienced surrogate orangutan mom Cheyenne.
Aurora was born on March 2 of 2011. After the first 12 hours, birth mom Kelly abandoned the infant and refused repeated attempts by zoo staff to return the baby to her. Concerned for Aurora’s welfare, the primate care team made the decision to hand rear the baby.
For 9 months, always in view of the Zoo’s other orangutans, a total 50 different volunteers assisted the Houston Zoo’s primate care team in that process. Aurora clung to her care givers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can see a remarkable video about that process in our ZooBorns article published last April. When Aurora was thriving and ready to move on, the care team closely monitored Kelly and Cheyenne to gauge their interest in the baby.
“As Aurora became more independent of her care givers, we taught her to go through what’s called a ‘creep door’, a very small opening in doors between rooms in the off-exhibit night house,” said Killam.
On December 28, the creep door between Cheyenne and Aurora was opened for the first time. “Aurora chose not to go completely through it, instead touching and playing with Cheyenne, who reached her arm through,” said Killam. The next day, Cheyenne chose not to play with Aurora through the creep door, but instead sat just outside it. She waited patiently until Aurora came through the on her own and then Cheyenne picked Aurora up and carried her across the room.
Cheyenne carried Aurora around for the next 7 hours, even allowing Aurora to ride on her head. The two shared produce and cereal and fruit juice together; the primate care team was able to give Aurora her bottles right next to Cheyenne. Several times Cheyenne would do somersaults around Aurora as the little orangutan watched in amazement. “It was a wonderful day,” said Killam.
The two can now be seen in the outdoor habitat together and all is well.
There's a new baby Bongo at the Houston Zoo in Texas, and his name is Brody. Born on December 6, Brody weighed just over 40 pounds (18.3 kg). He’s a big healthy boy with a good appetite as evidenced by his current weight 5 weeks later - 92+ pounds (42 kg). He can be seen every day (weather permitting) on exhibit with his 3 year old mom Penelope. His favorite spot for resting and naps is in the front right hand corner of the exhibit.
To the casual observer, all bongo calves look alike. But the zoo's keepers found a perfect way to tell them apart – they count the white stripes on their side. Bongo can have 10 to 14 white stripes on each side and each side can present a different configuration. For instance, Penelope has 11 stripes on each side.
A bongo is a type of antelope native to the lowlands and mountain forests of Kenya and western Africa and are among the largest of the African forest antelope. In the wild, bongos are shy and elusive but very social. In fact, they are the only forest antelope to form herds.
The Western or lowland bongo is classified as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the IUCN. The Eastern or mountain bongo is classified as endangered.