Little Rock Zoo

Little Lorises Born at Little Rock Zoo

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The Little Rock Zoo recently announced the arrival of two Pygmy Slow Loris babies to their family.

Born in August, the tiny male and female primates are healthy and active in their exhibit. They have been given the names Apollo and Artemis and were born to 3-year-old mom, Mihn Yih, and 7-year-old dad, Frasier.

The new births are part of a Species Survival Plan by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are currently only 56 Pygmy Slow Lorises in human care in AZA zoos, including the four at the Little Rock Zoo.

"Our work in the field of conservation is one of the most important roles we have as an AZA-accredited zoo," said Director Susan Altrui. "To have not one but two babies born here is significant not just for us but for the future of this vulnerable species."

Apollo and Artemis were born three days prior to the calculated due date the Zoo's keepers had determined based on observation. So far, first-time mom, Mihn Yih, has been an attentive mother. As she works to gather food, she is careful that she is never too far from where the two siblings are “parked” on branches. As they get older, she will leave them for longer periods of time, until they are ready to be on their own.

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The Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) is a species found east of the Mekong River in Vietnam, Laos, eastern Cambodia, and China. It occurs in a variety of forest habitats, including tropical dry forests, semi-evergreen, and evergreen forests.

The animal is nocturnal and arboreal, crawling along branches using slow movements in search of prey. Unlike other primates, it does not leap. It lives in small groups with one or two offspring. An adult can grow to around 19 to 23 cm (7.5 to 9.1 in) long and has a very short tail, and it reaches a max weight of about 450 g (1.0 lb). Their diet consists of fruits, insects, small fauna, tree sap, and floral nectar.

The Pygmy Slow Loris is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The pet trade, habitat destruction and hunting are the biggest threats to its survival.

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Little Rock Zoo Welcomes Trio of Maned Wolf Pups

1_image2Photo Credits: Little Rock Zoo / Video Credit: Maggie Quinn

Three Maned Wolf pups are the newest additions at the Little Rock Zoo. The trio was born December 21 to parents Gabby and Diego. The two females and their brother currently weigh around two pounds each.

Zoo visitors to the Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost may have recently noticed “Quiet Please” signs on one of the observation decks. Gabby’s den is beneath the deck, and keepers want to help the new family enjoy their bonding time.

“We don’t want to stress her out,” said Debbie Thompson, Carnivores Curator at the Zoo. “For example, if there were too much noise on the deck, we wouldn’t want her to bring the pups out in the cold.”

Thompson said it would likely be six more weeks before Zoo guests can hope to see the pups in the exhibit. However, she notes that a lucky few may catch a glimpse of them before then.

“Gabby has already moved all three out into one of the huts. She stayed there all day then moved them all back to the den,” Thompson said.

Those who catch sight of the pups now might think they look like a different species from the parents. At birth they’re covered in black fur with white-tipped tails, while their parents resemble foxes on stilts.

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Its markings resemble those of foxes, but it is not a fox, nor is it a wolf, as it is not closely related to other canids. It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon (meaning "golden dog").

Adults have the thick red coat, tall erect ears, pointed muzzle and white-tipped tails of foxes, but long slender black legs.  

Native to South America’s forests, grasslands, savannas, marshes and wetlands, these omnivorous animals eat fruits*, vegetables, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as birds and insects.

*(According to Little Rock Zoo keepers, Gabby and Diego’s favorite fruit is bananas!)


Two Maned Wolf Pups Call Little Rock Zoo Home

1558551_929109287100404_8660251377773110290_nTwo Maned Wolf pups were born December 21st at the Little Rock Zoo and are growing strong! 

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The pups’ parents are ‘Gabby’ and ‘Diego’. Gabby occasionally takes her pups out into the yard of her exhibit, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse every so often. The pups are expected to fully be out on exhibit in the next two to three months.

The Maned Wolf is a South American native whose range extends from the Amazon basin rain forest in Brazil to the dry shrub forests of Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Maned Wolves have chestnut red pelage over rather large bodies, and black pelage on their long, slender legs, feet and muzzle. They have long red fur covering necks, backs, and chests which they can stand on end to give the appearance of a mane.

The Maned Wolf also differs from true North American wolves in diet and temperament. These gentle and very timid wolves are solitary by nature. Only during the breeding season would you generally see more than one at a time.

The Maned Wolf is omnivorous, eating a combination of fruits, vegetables and meat. It often preys on small birds, rodents and frogs, and favors fruits such as bananas, apples and avocados.

The Maned Wolf is misunderstood and widely persecuted. For years it was hunted and killed by farmers who believed that the wolves were killing their poultry and livestock. The Maned Wolf’s small teeth and jaws make it hard for it to kill large prey, but it is often blamed because of its intimidating size.

The Maned Wolf is listed as near threatened in its native range. This listing is due to loss of habitat by encroaching human populations, the introduction of certain diseases and a belief that certain of its organs have medicinal healing powers.

The development of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) has enabled the breeding of Maned Wolves in captivity. The SSP program aims to pair up genetically significant individuals to produce offspring with the greatest genetic variation.


Ah-choo! Tiger Cubs Arrive at Little Rock Zoo

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Early in the morning on November 12, Suhana the Malayan Tiger gave birth to four healthy cubs at the Little Rock Zoo.  The zoo staff monitors the family with remote cameras, where they captured this video of a sneezing cub.

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Photo Credit:  Little Rock Zoo

 

For now, the cubs are with Suhana in their den, where they will remain for several more weeks, and all signs indicate that the cubs are progressing exactly as they should.  Once the cubs are weaned at three to five months, they will move into the zoo’s newly-renovated outdoor Tiger habitat.

The breeding of Suhana, age five, and her mate, nine-year-old Liku, was recommended by the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which seeks to maintain a genetically-diverse zoo population of Malayan Tigers. 

Malayan Tigers are one of six existing Tiger subspecies.  Three subspecies – Javan, Caspian, and Bali – have gone extinct within the last 80 years.  In the wild, fewer than 500 Malayan Tigers remain in the forests of the Malay Peninsula and the southernmost tip of Thailand. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists all Tigers as Endangered.


Penguin Chick Growing Fast at the Little Rock Zoo

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An endangered African Black-Footed Penguin chick at the Little Rock Zoo is on a mission – to eat, eat, and eat so he can grow, grow, and grow!  So far, the strategy is working.  This little chick, who weighed just 2 ounces (54 grams) at two days old (top photo), now weighs more than a pound (450 grams) at five weeks of age (bottom photo).

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Like many young birds, Penguin chicks eat huge amounts of food in relation to their body weight and grow rapidly.  This allows the chicks to become self-sufficient at a young age, relieving mom and dad of the burden of constant feedings. 

The zoo’s new arrival is the first chick for parents Skipper and Easy.  He does not yet have a name.   The chick’s arrival increases the zoo’s Penguin flock to 16 birds.

African Black-Footed Penguins are native to the rocky coastlines of southern Africa and nearby islands.  African Penguins once numbered more than 1.5 million, but there are fewer than 200,000 birds today.  The harvesting of Penguin eggs, loss of habitat, and repeated oil spills have taken a toll on the population, and the African Penguin is now considered endangered.

Photo Credits:  Hannah baker (top), Stephanie Hollister (center), Little Rock Zoo (bottom)


Baby Gorilla is showered with gifts at Little Rock Zoo

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Adelina, a baby Western Lowland Gorilla born on August 19, has her own Facebook page and devoted fans who gave her a baby shower when she was just a few weeks old.  Why all the fuss?  Adelina is only the second baby Gorilla ever born at the Little Rock Zoo.

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Sekani, Adelina’s 21-year-old mother, is demonstrating excellent care for her baby, according to the zoo staff.  The father, 26-year-old Fossey, was recommended to breed with Sekani by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) a breeding and conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which accredits North American zoos.

Sekani was registered for her baby shower at a local retailer.  Soft receiving blankets topped her list, along with safe and colorful infant toys.  In the photos, you can see Sekani studying the cards she received at the shower.  Like most youngsters, Adelina appeared to enjoy the wrapping paper more than the gifts themselves. 

At 11 weeks old, Adelina is growing normally and appears strong, alert, and healthy.   Fans can watch Adelina' progress via weekly updates posted on her Facebook page.

Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered in their native central African home, due to illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat.

Photo Credits:  Little Rock Zoo


Little Rock Zoo Announces Little Monkey Twins

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These twin Geoffroy's Marmosets were born November 21, 2011 on a very stormy night at the Little Rock Zoo. They were born to parents Becky and Santana.  In these photos they are riding on Santana (dad). Their sex remains unknown. Becky was very protective of them and was slow to let Santana carry them, but finally did.  They have an older brother, Carlos who was born in early 2010. He would like to help carry the babies, but so far has not been allowed.  They share and exhibit with a White Faced Saki family and 7 Green Iguanas.

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Photo credit: Karen Caster, Primate Keeper at the Little Rock Zoo