Indianapolis Zoo

Ring-tailed Lemur Twins Venture Outdoors

Lemur Baby with rope 2018-Carla Knapp

With the slow arrival of spring in the Midwest, visitors to the Indianapolis Zoo had to wait a few weeks before meeting two Ring-tailed Lemurs born on March 14. But the twins finally went outdoors for the first time on a warm, sunny day late last week.

Bree wBabies outside3 2018-Carla Knapp
Bree wBabies outside2 2018-Carla KnappPhoto Credit: Carla Knapp/Indianapolis Zoo

The babies were born to experienced mother Bree, who is attentive and nurturing with her newborns. The one-month-old twins are growing fast, and they have already transitioned from clinging to Bree’s belly to riding on her back.  They’ve begun to explore their surroundings, but never venture far from mom.

The babies’ genders are not yet known, so they have not been named. Twins are common in this species.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are native to the island of Madagascar, where they live in social groups of a dozen or more individuals. These primates feed, huddle, and sunbathe together.

The clearing of Madagascar’s forests for pasture and agricultural land has severely affected Ring-tailed Lemurs, which rely on trees for food and shelter. Recent studies estimate that only about 2,000 Ring-tailed Lemurs remain in the wild. The species is listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

See more photos of the twin Lemurs below.

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Endangered Addra Gazelle Receives Special Care

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The Indianapolis Zoo welcomed the birth of a rare Addra Gazelle on September 29, 2017.

After the birth, the female calf, named Carina, was not receiving the care she needed from her first-time mother. Keepers monitored the situation and decided the best option was to hand-rear, to ensure she would receive adequate care for her survival.

With Zookeepers attending to the calf around the clock, Carina was bottle-fed several times a day and received all the care she would have been given from her mom.

Today, Carina is an energetic, playful, and healthy young gazelle. She has been reintroduced to the rest of the Indianapolis Zoo’s herd and now spends much of her time venturing outside on warm, sunny days.

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3_Addra calf Carina CU-Carla KnappPhoto Credits: Indianapolis Zoo/Carla Knapp

The Addra Gazelle (Nanger dama ruficollis) is native to Africa, particularly the Sahara desert and the Sahel. Its habitat includes grassland, shrubland, semi-deserts, open savanna and mountain plateaus. Their diet includes grasses, leaves, shoots, and fruit.

Addra Gazelle’s are considered the largest type of gazelle. Although they tend to need more water than some of their desert relatives, they can withstand longer periods of drought. They are also a diurnal species (active during the day).

The species is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It has disappeared from most of its former range due to overhunting and habitat loss.


New Little ‘Dear’ for the Indianapolis Zoo

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The Indianapolis Zoo excitedly announced the first Orangutan birth for the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. The female Sumatran Orangutan was born March 23 to mom Sirih.

Sirih gave birth in a behind-the-scenes area. The other resident Orangutans at the Center watched the entire birth very intently and were quiet and curious during and after the delivery.

“This baby Orangutan gives us special reason to be joyful,” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, Executive Vice President and Zoo director. “We are thrilled for the many visitors who will care more deeply for Orangutans and their conservation by watching the baby grow, learn and thrive. Sumatran Orangutans are critically endangered in the wild with only thousands left.”

The Zoo recently held a naming contest, via Facebook, and the winning name for the new girl is “Mila” (MEE-lah)! Mila means “dear one” in Indonesian.

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3_13131090_10154853724712576_8102568991043503813_oPhoto Credit: Vicki Townsend

The baby is the second for 23-year-old mother Sirih, who arrived at the Indianpolis Zoo last year from the Frankfurt Zoo in Germany. Both mom and infant are doing great. Sirih is a caring and attentive mother, doing everything an Orangutan should do. She keeps her daughter close and guests are able to see Mila hold on tightly to mom as she climbs around the Orangutan Center. Father, 14-year-old Basan, has also been introduced to the baby, as have most of the Orangutans in the center.

Sirih and first-time father, Basan, were recommended as a breeding pair through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, a program ensuring a sustainable, genetically diverse and demographically varied AZA population.

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the two species of orangutans. They are found only on the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, and are more rare than the Bornean Orangutan. Males grow to about 200 lbs. (90 kg), and females can weigh about 99 lbs. (45 kg). Compared to the Bornean species, they are thinner and have longer faces, and their hair is longer with a paler red color.

The Sumatran species also tends to be more frugivorous and especially insectivorous. Their preferred fruits include figs and jackfruits.

Female Orangutans reach sexual maturity at around 5 years of age and have a 22 to 30-day menstrual cycle. Females generally give birth to their first offspring at around 14 years of age, and they have a gestation period of about 9 months. There are usually eight years between pregnancies. Females do most of the caring and socializing of the young.

Sumatran Orangutans are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It’s estimated that less than 6,500 Sumatran Orangutans now remain in the wild, as a result of destruction of habitat for logging, wholesale conversion of forest to palm oil plantations, and fragmentation caused by roads and hunting.


Six-foot-tall Calf Arrives at Indy Zoo

Giraffe calf5-Carla Knapp

Can you name a baby that was taller than an NBA point guard at birth?  We can - this male Giraffe calf born at the Indianapolis Zoo on January 9.

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Giraffe calf1-Carla Knapp
Giraffe calf4-Carla KnappPhoto Credit:  Carla Knapp/Indianapolis Zoo

The calf is the zoo’s first baby of 2016 and stood six feet tall at birth and weighed 158 pounds.  The calf has not yet been named, but the zoo plans to hold a naming contest for the newborn soon.  This is the sixth calf — all of which were males — for 18-year-old mother Takasa. Like all Giraffes, Takasa gave birth standing up.  The calf stood and nursed by the time he was one hour old.  

Zoo keepers said the calf likes to explore his surroundings, but rarely ventures far from his mother.  He is the first calf for the zoo’s bull Giraffe, Majani.  Keepers note that the calf’s coloration is very similar to Majani’s, with pale, caramel-colored spots in contrast with Takasa’s cinnamon-colored spots. 

The tallest land mammals on the planet, Giraffes are under threat from shrinking wild lands and armed conflicts in their native sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Zoo’s Giraffe herd will remain in a heated indoor facility throughout the winter. The new family is expected to make its debut in the spring, and at that time, guests will have an opportunity to meet the new calf.


Baby Gibbon A First For Indianapolis Zoo

Gibbon baby-Carla Knapp

A baby White-handed Gibbon born at the Indianapolis Zoo on October 23 is the first offspring for its parents and the first Gibbon ever born at the zoo!Gibbon baby2-Carla Knapp

Koko and baby-Carla Knapp
Koko and baby2-Carla KnappPhoto Credit:  Carla Knapp

Zoo keepers do not yet know the gender of the little Gibbon, because for the first several weeks the baby clings tightly to mom’s belly.  These gripping skills are important, because mom uses both arms to swing through the trees in a fluid motion called brachiation.  That means it’s up to the baby to hang on by gripping mom’s fur.  Mom helps a bit by holding her legs up to create a supportive “seat” for the baby.

Though this is the first baby for female Koko and her mate Elliot, both are doing a great job caring for their infant.  White-handed Gibbons’ fur colors include tan, brown, and black.  The baby takes after Koko and has black fur.

Native to Southeast Asia, Gibbons are known for their elaborate vocalizations, which mated pairs engage in daily as a way to reinforce their bond.  These Apes also sing to announce their territories to other Gibbons.  As it grows, the baby Gibbon will join its parents’ song.

White-handed Gibbons are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to illegal hunting and habitat loss from forest clearing for agriculture and the construction of non-sustainable palm oil plantations.

 


Help Name Indianapolis Zoo's Lion Cub Trio

1_Cubs 5wks-Jackie Curts

ZooBorns recently shared the Indianapolis Zoo’s excitement in welcoming three adorable new African Lion cubs. Two males and a female were born on September 21. They are the first lion cubs born at the Indy Zoo since 2003.

The Zoo is now asking for help selecting names for the feisty cubs. The public can cast their vote in a Facebook poll. Zookeepers originally preselected nine names, but they have narrowed that list to six for the public vote. The three most popular names will become the names for the cubs.

 

The selected names, along with their pronunciation and meaning, are:

Enzi (ehn-ZEE), “powerful”

Mashaka (mash-AH-kah), “troublemaker”

Zuberi (zuw-BEH-ree), “strong”

Leland (LEE-lahnd), “meadowland”

Sukari (sue-CAR-ee), “sweet”

Niara (nee-AH-rah), “one with high purpose”

 

The poll opened at 5am on November 3rd, and voting will close at 11:59pm on Monday, November 30th. The results will be announced on December 1st.

Voting is taking place on the Indianapolis Zoo’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/indianapoliszoo

Facebook users who “like” the Indianapolis Zoo’s page can vote once per day. Additionally, one lucky fan will be chosen at random to receive an Indianapolis Zoo prize pack, which includes a lion plush and a family four-pack of Zoo tickets.

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4_Cub-Jackie CurtsPhoto Credits: Jackie Curts

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First Meerkat Pups for Indianapolis Zoo

1_Mom nursing pups-Alea Kuczynski

The Indianapolis Zoo welcomed two tiny Meerkat pups on October 13. They are the first ever born at the Zoo! This is also the first litter for mom Rue. The births bring the number of Meerkats in the Indy Zoo’s ‘mob’ up to seven. 

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4_Meerkat and pup-Alea KuczynskiPhoto Credits: Alea Kuczynski / Indianapolis Zoo

Gestation for Meerkats is about eleven weeks. In the wild, Meerkats give birth in underground burrows to help keep the newborns safe from predators. To shield the pups from dust in their subterranean homes, they are born with their eyes and ears closed. The Zoo's newcomers opened their eyes for the first time at eleven-days-old. Meerkat babies are also nearly hairless at birth, though a light coat of silver and brown fur begins to fill in after just a few days.

These desert-dwellers are highly social critters and live in groups, called mobs, which can include dozens of individuals from multiple families. Within the Zoo's mob, all of the Meerkats have been taking turns caring for the new pups, including the males.

The babies will continue to nurse for about nine weeks, and they grow very quickly. Though they weigh only about an ounce at birth, by six months old, the pups will be about the same size as the adults.

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Indy Zoo’s Lion Pride Grows by Three

1_lion cubs-Jackie Curts

With their awesome strength and intense beauty, Lions are one of Africa’s most iconic animals. Yet as these regal cats are in decline in the wild, three adorable newborns at the Indianapolis Zoo will help inspire awareness and support for conservation of the species.

The African Lion cubs, two males and a female, were born on September 21 to first-time mother, Zuri, and first-time dad, Nyack. When Zookeepers arrived the day of the cubs’ birth, they found that 9-year-old Zuri had already delivered her first cub sometime during the night or early morning. The others followed around 10am and 1:15pm. These are the first African Lions born at the Zoo since 2003.

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4_lion cubs6-Jackie CurtsPhoto Credits: Jackie Curts / Indianapolis Zoo

Adult Lions are one of the most fearsome predators on Africa’s plains, yet newborns are defenseless and rely solely on their mothers for survival. Zuri has shown excellent maternal behavior and is a caring, protective mom to her trio.

The youngsters are nursing well and growing, currently weighing between 7.5 and 9.5 pounds. Like all Lion cubs, the babies were born with mottled fur. Their dark spots will eventually fade, though some young adults still show hints of brown in their sleek, golden coats.

Zuri and her cubs will remain indoors for several months, to protect the health of the newborns. The family is expected to make its debut in Spring 2016, and at that time, guests will be able to get closer than ever before. Renovations are currently under way at the Lion Exhibit, and new glass windows and expanded viewing areas will allow visitors to get within inches of the ferocious felines.

Even before visitors have a chance to come face to fuzzy face with the new cubs, they will soon be able to vote on the babies’ names, through a poll on the Zoo’s Facebook page. More details will be announced soon.

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Name Game for Amur Tiger Cub

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In early August, ZooBorns brought you a story about the new Amur Tiger cub at the Indianapolis Zoo. The adorable female is now two-months old, and keepers want the public's help in selecting a name!

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Tiger cub_Indianapolis Zoo_2Photo Credits: Jill Burbank (Photos 1,2,5); Laura Kriehn (Photos 3,4)

Born July 10th to first time parents, Andrea and Petya, the cub is one of four Amur Tigers at the Indianapolis Zoo. Both mother and cub are doing well, though they will remain in a private indoor area for several weeks to protect the young tiger's health. Veterinarians and keepers are pleased with the cub's progress. At her two-month checkup on Sept. 10, she had grown to about 18.3 pounds, nearly three times larger than the 6.2 pounds recorded during her first weigh-in on July 26. Keepers also note the cub is very active and playful toward Andrea. She is already eating meat and has even been observed doing some stalking behaviors.

Keepers at the Indianapolis Zoo have preselected three names and are inviting fans to participate in choosing a name via their facebook page. The three names selected for the poll are: Chudo (pronounced CHEW-da), meaning "miracle"; Shoomka (pronounced SHUM-ka), meaning "noisy"; and Zoya (pronounced ZOY-a), meaning "life”.

Facebook users who “like” the Zoo's page can vote daily through Friday, Sept. 26. Click the “Poll” tab at the top of their page, and votes can be placed. Additionally, one lucky fan who votes in the poll will be chosen at random to receive an Indianapolis Zoo prize pack, including a tiger plush and a family four-pack of Zoo tickets.

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Big Announcement at Indianapolis Zoo

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The Indianapolis Zoo recently celebrated International Tiger Day (July 29) by announcing the arrival of a new Amur Tiger cub!  The baby was born July 10, and first-time mother, Andrea, is doing an amazing job in her new role.  The pair have been bonding in a private indoor enclosure, but in due time, visitors to the zoo will meet the new cub.  Until then, the public can actively participate in the celebration of this happy event by helping select a name for the new Amur Tiger cub.  The Indianapolis Zoo will be posting more information via their facebook page: Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens

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Tiger cub_Indianapolis Zoo_3Photo Credits: Indianapolis Zoo/Laura Kriehn and Jill Burbank

With the arrival of the new baby, the Indianapolis Zoo is now home to four Amur Tigers.  The cub joins its parents, six year old Andrea and seven year old Petya, as well as, Cila, an eleven year old, who was also born at the zoo.

The Amur Tiger, also known as the Siberian Tiger, is currently listed as EN (Endangered) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  This may seem a discouraging outlook for the tiger, but it is a marked improvement from just 18 years ago, when the Amur Tiger was still classified as CR (Critically Endangered).

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