Indianapolis Zoo

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

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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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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. 

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MitikPakak (2) Shauna Gallagher

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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!

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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!

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Photo credits: Gabi Moore / Indianapolis Zoo

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