New Pride at Philly Zoo


The Philadelphia Zoo recently celebrated the public debut of some amazing new residents: Four African Lion cubs!



PhillyZooLionCubs_3Photo Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

Two of the cubs were born on June 25th, and the other two were born the next day on the 26th.  The proud mother is four-year-old Tajiri, and their father is five-year-old Makini. They are the first lion cubs born at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1996, and the quad makes their home at the zoo’s First Niagara Big Cat Falls.

Keepers have tried to keep first time mom, Tajiri, as comfortable as possible and allow her as much space as she desires with her new family.  It will be a little while longer before keepers are allowed to get close enough to the cubs to determine their sexes. However, the cubs have been given names. The Philadelphia Zoo conducted a contest, through social media, and the public was able to cast votes for their favorite names for the cubs.  Mali, Kataba, Sabi, and Msinga are already known to be as unique as their new monikers.  Kataba has marks on both front feet, Mali has no dye marks, Msinga has a lighter mark on the left front foot, and Sabi has a mark on the left hind foot.

See more, learn more, below the fold.

Continue reading "New Pride at Philly Zoo" »

Feeling Chipper at Zoo Basel


Seven Miniature Zebus, in the Children’s Zoo of Zoo Basel, Switzerland, have recently been given identification in the form of a microchip the size of a grain of rice.



Zwergziegen_behandeln_ZOB6032Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The microchip, also called a transponder, is fitted by a veterinarian beneath the skin, above the shoulder blades and contains a fifteen-digit code that can be read using a small mobile reader. Information on the microchip allows quick access for veterinarians, and includes date of birth, parentage, offspring, and medical conditions or treatment. The ability to differentiate between individual animals of a particular species is also required by the breeding initiatives sponsored by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which enables zoos to ensure genetic diversity among their populations.

The veterinarians were assisted during the procedures by two young Children’s Zoo volunteers.  The girls, who work regularly with the animals at Zoo Basel, kept the animals calm and relaxed during the fitting.

Since the procedure cannot be performed on adult animals without anesthesia, the chips are, ideally, fitted at a very early age. In addition to the Miniature Zebu calves, several other species of zoo babies received microchips.  A Lion cub, Snow Leopard cub, a critically endangered African Wild Ass foal, and a young Sable Antelope received the transponders.  

See more photos below the fold.

Continue reading "Feeling Chipper at Zoo Basel" »

Dublin Zoo's New Mane Man

Asian lion cub_Dublin_3

Dublin Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of an Asian Lion cub!  The male cub was born to mother, Zuri, and dad, Kumar, who arrived, last year, to Dublin Zoo from Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands.

Asian lion cub_Dublin_2

Asian lion cub_Dublin_4

Asian lion cub_Dublin_6

Asian lion cub_Dublin_1Photo Credits: Patrick Bolger

Also know as the Indian Lion, the entire wild population of the Asian Lion can be found in the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Gujarat, India.  Although, the lion was on the brink of extinction some 40 years ago, with wild population estimates at less than 200 individuals, the Asian Lion remains on the endangered list.  There are only estimated to be between 300 and 400 individuals in India. The birth of this Asian Lion cub is very significant for Dublin Zoo and the international breeding programme for this critically endangered species. 

According to the animal care team at Dublin Zoo, the lion cub is bonding well with his parents, first time mum Zuri and experienced dad Kumar.

Team leader Ciaran McMahon said, “We're thrilled about the arrival of the cub. He has a wonderfully playful and curious personality. It's lovely to see Zuri taking to her role as a new mum so well, and Kumar is as cool and calm as ever. At two months old, he now weighs an estimated 6.6kg (14.5 lbs).”

McMahon also said, “In the past, Dublin Zoo was very successful breeding African Lions. It is now of great conservation importance for zoos to maintain a viable population of critically endangered Asian Lions.”

See more photos below the fold.

Continue reading "Dublin Zoo's New Mane Man" »

Rare Asiatic Lion Cubs Have Their First Checkup

13935707150_ce0058ef2b_bThree Asiatic Lion cubs born on March 27 at Finland’s Helsinki Zoo had their first vet visit at five weeks of age.  

14122325415_9347177432_bPhoto Credit:  Mari Lehmonen

The Zoo staff lured the three-year-old mother to another area of the exhibit, and the veterinary staff swooped in for a quick exam.  The cubs are still small enough to be handled safely, and they received vaccinations and gender checks. 

According to the staff, the cubs are “chubby,” so it’s clear that their mother is caring for them properly.  And if you watch the video, you'll see that the cubs have no trouble airing their displeasure with the veterinary staff.

To date, the cubs have been with their mother in a cubbing den behind the scenes.  The staff has watched the new family on closed circuit cameras.  The cubs won’t be on public display until sometime in June. 

Wild Asiatic Lions live only in northwestern India in the Gir forest area.  Because only about 400 individual lions live in the wild, they are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Though this number is small, the population has more than doubled from a low of only 180 individuals in 1974. These cats once ranged into central Asia and the Middle East as recently as the 20th century. 

Because the current wild population is derived from only a few cats, inbreeding is one of the greatest threats to Asiatic Lions.  In addition, the Gir forest is under intense pressure from an encroaching human population. 

See more photos below.

Continue reading "Rare Asiatic Lion Cubs Have Their First Checkup" »

First Look at Zoo Miami's Lion Cubs

Kashifa cub 8 IBFour Lion cubs born on March 6 at Zoo Miami were viewed in person for the first time last week after spending more than a month in the den with their mother.

Kashifa cub 11 IB

Kashifa cubs 5 IB
Kashifa cubs 12 IBPhoto Credit:  Ivy Brower

Until now, zoo keepers have viewed the new family only by closed circuit camera.  Last week, they were able to temporarily separate the mother, four-year-old Kashifa, to get a closer look at the cubs.  

In the wild, Lion cubs remain in the den or hidden in brush for about six weeks, when they are old enough to join the pride.  Zoo Miami’s four cubs are not yet on public display, and are expected to remain behind the scenes with Kashifa for a few more weeks.

See more cub photos below!

Continue reading "First Look at Zoo Miami's Lion Cubs" »

Zoo Miami's Lion Cub Makes His First Public Appearance

For the first time in Zoo Miami history, a Lioness and her cub went on public exhibit together. First-time mother Asha and her three month old male cub K'wasi thrilled zoo guests last week as they explored the exhibit and interacted together. 



Photo Credit:  Ron Magill

You’d never know by looking at him, but K’wasi had a rough start in life.  ZooBorns chronicled his difficult journey here and here.  When he was just a few weeks old, he battled bacterial infections and lost weight.  Thanks to supplemental bottles from zoo keepers, K’wasi has made a comeback.

See more photos of Asha and K'wasi below the fold.

Continue reading "Zoo Miami's Lion Cub Makes His First Public Appearance" »

Update: Zoo Miami's Lion Cub is Thriving

Lion Cub F

A few weeks ago, we introduced you to a male Lion cub born December 15 at Zoo Miami.  Shortly after the cub was born to first-time mother Asha, keepers observed that he was losing weight.  He then faced several bacterial infections.  To help the little cub, keepers began offering a supplemental bottle to the cub three times a day.

Lion Cub G

Lion Cub C

Lion Cub D
Photo Credit:  Zoo Miami

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the zoo staff, the little cub is now thriving and his prognosis for long-term survival is good.  The cub was recently separated from Asha for a quick physical exam and received his vaccinations.  Asha welcomed her cub back without hesitation after the brief exam. 

The cub, who has not yet been named, will remain off-exhibit with Asha for several weeks.  Eventually, he will be introduced to the rest of the zoo’s Lion pride.

When Mom's Away, the Cubs Get Weighed!

2 lion

Last week at Smithsonian National Zoo, African Lion mother Naba spent some time away from her cubs and enjoyed a special oxtail treat with her sister, Shera. Keepers took the opportunity to get their first in-person look at the cubs. Their report: they are adorable! 

4 lion

1 lion

3 lion

5 lion

6 lionPhoto credit: Smithsonian National Zoo / Karen Abbott

In order to distinguish the two, keepers shaved a small mark on each cub. The smaller cub, who weighs 7.6 pounds (3.4 kg), has a shave mark on his/her left shoulder. The larger cub, who weighs 8.26 pounds (3.7 kg), has a small shave mark at the base of his/her tail. Animal care staff have not yet verified the cubs’ sex. (Just shy of 2 weeks old, the cubs’ genetalia have not fully developed.) 

When Naba returned to the cubbing den, she groomed and nursed the cubs. She didn’t show any signs of stress. Keepers gave her the option to move the cubs to a different set of cubbing dens, but Naba choose to keep them where they were. 

Watch the little lion family grow on the zoo's Cub Cam.

UPDATE! Reid Park Zoo's Lion Cubs are Growing Strong

3 lion

Lioness Kaya and her four cubs are doing well at Reid Park Zoo in Arizona. The cubs, three males and one female, are being cared for by their mom as well as keepers and veterinary staff. The cubs are gaining weight and had their most recent checkup on February 3. At six weeks old, they're still not quite big enough to come out on exhibit...but soon!

See our first post here.

2 lion

1 lion

4 lionPhoto credit: Reid Park Zoo

See a video from the cubs' checkup at three weeks old:

Bottles Give a Boost to Zoo Miami’s Lion Cub

LC 4

A male Lion cub born December 15 at Florida’s Zoo Miami is getting extra care from zoo keepers after battling several health challenges in his short life.

LC 6
LC 3

LC 5
Photo Credit:  Zoo Miami
The only cub born to first-time mother Asha, he remains in stable condition and zoo officials are guarded but hopeful about his chances for survival. The cub has already overcome dehydration and a bacterial infection. Now, keepers are concerned that Asha may not be producing enough milk for her cub, so they provide supplemental bottle feedings three times a day.

Because they want the cub to bond with his mother, keepers offer the bottles through a barrier, allowing him to remain with Asha. Fortunately, Asha accepts the cub after each feeding, an important factor in the cub’s socialization. The staff observes Asha and her cub with a closed circuit camera and reports that Asha is an attentive mother, but the cub could still face challenges in the next several months.

See more photos of the cub below the fold.

Continue reading "Bottles Give a Boost to Zoo Miami’s Lion Cub" »