Indianapolis Zoo

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:

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.

2_Cub 2-Jackie Curts

3_Female cub-Jackie Curts

4_Cub-Jackie CurtsPhoto Credits: Jackie Curts

Continue reading "Help Name Indianapolis Zoo's Lion Cub Trio" »

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. 

2_Meerkat pup-Alea Kuczynski

3_Meerkat pups-Alea Kuczynski

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.

Continue reading "First Meerkat Pups for Indianapolis Zoo" »

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.

2_lion cubs4-Jackie Curts

3_lion cubs5-Jackie Curts

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.

Continue reading "Indy Zoo’s Lion Pride Grows by Three" »

Name Game for Amur Tiger Cub

Tiger Cub_Indianapolis Zoo_update_2

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!

Tiger Cub_Indianapolis Zoo_update_1

Tiger cub_Indianapolis Zoo_1

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.

Continue reading "Name Game for Amur Tiger Cub" »

Big Announcement at Indianapolis Zoo

Tiger cub_Indianapolis Zoo_1

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

Tiger cub_Indianapolis Zoo_2

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).

Continue reading "Big Announcement at Indianapolis Zoo" »

Orphaned Walrus Calves are Home at Last

Mitik 1 Sybille Castro

The dramatic journey of two male Pacific Walrus calves, found stranded this summer near Barrow, Alaska, made a huge leap forward this week when they arrived at their new permanent homes – the  Indianapolis Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium. 

The touching stories of Mitik and Pakak, each just a few months old, began when they were found alone and suffering from dehydration on separate occasions in late July.  The tale of their rescue and rehabilitation at the Alaska SeaLife Center was first chronicled by ZooBorns on July 27 and their progress updated on August 10.  Readers around the world were captivated by the way the calves immediately bonded with their caregivers through touching and snuggling. 

580834_10151067718811471_595785728_nAlaska Sea Life Center

MitikPakak (2) Shauna Gallagher

Pakak indy


Walrus are very tactile and social animals, and the dedicated staff and caretakers at the SeaLife Center provided the social interaction that the calves needed. Walrus calves almost immediately adjust to human care, so they are not candidates for release back into the wild. 

Because the SeaLife Center is it not large enough to permanently house all the wildlife it rescues, Pakak moved last week to the Indianapolis Zoo and Mitik traveled to the New York Aquarium.  The staffs at each institution are understandably thrilled with their new arrivals, but fans will have to wait awhile to see the new calves:  both will undergo a routine quarantine period, with numerous health checks, before being introduced to the adult Walruses living at each zoo.  It may be several months before the calves are seen by the public.

The 24-hour care the calves received at the Alaska SeaLife Center continues in their new homes, fulfilling their nutritional and social needs until they are introduced to their new companions.  In Indianapolis, Patak will join longtime zoo resident Aurora; Mitik will share the New York Aquarium’s exhibit with Kulu, age 17, and Nuka, age 30.

Both calves were in poor health at the timke of their rescue, but have steadily improved during their rehabilitation period.  The calves currently weigh about 240 pounds, and as adults they could weigh more than 1,500 pounds. 

Walruses face environmental threats in their Arctic habitat. Because of the lack of suitable ice, more and more Walruses are congregating on land. Overcrowding in these areas may play a role in spreading disease among populations.

Photo Credits (top to bottom):  Sybille Castro; Alaska SeaLife Center; Shauna Gallagher, Indianapolis Zoo; Indianapolis Zoo

Third Baby Elephant Makes History in Indianapolis!

Elephant baby 7-11-Gabi Moore-rev

African Elephant Kubwa has given birth to her third calf, making history once again as the first African Elephant in the world to conceive and give birth successfully via artificial insemination three times. The newest member of the Indianapolis Zoo herd is a female born at on July 20 and weighing in at 238 lbs., a very good size for a baby African Elephant.

The calf nursed many times during the first day and Kubwa again demonstrated very good mothering instincts. As has been the case with all of her calves, the new little one initially needs a bit of help to reach the source of mom’s milk. Kubwa is a very tall elephant, so a small step stool arrangement has been used so the calf can step up with her two front legs and stretch up to nurse. It has worked very well in the past, and it appears our new, very lively little girl learned the trick quickly – trainers report she is nursing frequently!

Elephant baby3-7-11-Gabi Moore-rev

Elephant baby5-7-11-Gabi Moore-rev

Elephant baby2-7-11-Gabi Moore-rev

Elephant baby6-7-11-Gabi Moore-rev
Photo credits: Gabi Moore / Indianapolis Zoo

Continue reading "Third Baby Elephant Makes History in Indianapolis!" »

Everybody Loves A Baby Dolphin!

Dolphin Nova-calf 1-Mike Crowther (1)

At the Indianapolis Zoo in Indiana, the Marsh Dolphin Theater is closed and Dolphin Shows are temporarily cancelled  but for a really wonderful reason: the birth of an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at approximately 5am on the morning of Friday, June 3, to mother Nova. Marine Mammal staff believe the calf is a male, and he is doing well so far. He has been nursing regularly and appears healthy. The first photos are in by their own president & CEO, Mike Crowther!  

Dolphin Nova-calf 2011-2-Mike Crowther (1)

Photo Credit: Mike Crowther

Quiet time is needed for mother and baby to bond during the first crucial days of life. The staff is optimistic, but it's early on in this process, so caution is indicated.  Information on the condition of the baby will be posted on their website. It's very relaxing to watch the video of mom and the baby below.


Dolphins are endangered for several reasons, all related to humans. Pollution of rivers, seas and oceans by man is one. Since they are the highest on the food chain, everything they consume creates the highest level of contaminants in their bodies, which weaken their reproductive systems and make them far less resistant to disease.

Continue reading "Everybody Loves A Baby Dolphin!" »

Nubian Goat Kids at the Indianapolis Zoo

Nubian goat kids were born April 8 in The Indianapolis Zoo's Encounters area.  The one on the right (first photo) is a male named Domino and the one on the left is a female named Polka Dot.  Mom is named Spot! Anglo-Nubian goats originated in England as a cross between the Old English Milch Goat and the Zariby and Nubian bucks imported from India, Russia, and Egypt.


here we see Polka Dot with another brother, Stuart..

Soaking in the rays

Copyright Photographer Fred Cate.