Lowry Park Zoo

Look Who's Hatching: Endangered African Penguin Chick

Spot-the-difference

 

Photo credit: Dave Parkinson

Home to the only breeding colony of African Penguins in the state of Florida, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed chick number 9 to its rookery of 15 endangered Penguins.

In addition to helping to raise the number of penguins in the managed population in North America, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo also helps to support the wild penguin population by partnering with organizations in South Africa dedicated to protecting coastal penguin habitats.

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Rhino Calf Charges Into Lowry Park Zoo

Africa white rhino Alake and calf may 27 2015

A baby Southern White Rhinoceros born May 21 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has increased the zoo’s herd by one, but the wild population of these magnificent beasts grows smaller every day.

Africa white rhino Alake and calf 2 may 27 2015

Africa white rhino calf 1 may 27 2015
Photo Credit: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

  

 

The female calf is already important to the breeding population because she carries the genes of her mother Alaka, who came to the zoo from Africa.  Introducing new bloodlines is important for maintaining genetic diversity in the zoo-dwelling population.  The newborn marks the fourth successful Southern White Rhino birth and the seventh Rhino born in the zoo’s history.

The zoo is currently home to a herd of five Southern White Rhinos: three adult females from the Phinda Reserve in Africa, one adult male, and the newborn. In keeping with a natural herd structure, Alake and her calf have begun introductions to the other Rhinos and Grevy’s Zebras that share their habitat.

The White Rhinoceros has two horns at the end of its muzzle, with the largest in the front. Unlike some Rhinos, White Rhinos use their horns for defense. Females use their horns to protect their young while males use them to battle each other. Adult White Rhinos can reach weights of about 5,000 pounds, with most calves weighing between 80-140 pounds.

While the birth is welcome news for the managed population, record numbers of Rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa last year. Despite increased protection efforts, the number of Rhinos killed by poachers jumped 21 percent to 1,215. The current poaching crisis is driven by the demand for Rhino horn in Southeast Asia where horn, which is made up of keratin -- the same material found in human hair and nails -- is believed to have medicinal properties.   

See more photos of the Rhino calf below.

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Adorable New Kits are "Stinkin' Cute"

1_florida boardwalk skunk kits may 29 2015

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed a litter of seven baby Skunks!  Born May 2 to first time mom, ‘Mia’ (now affectionately known as ‘Momma Mia’), the Skunk kits have just opened their eyes and will soon emerge from the den. Mia and kits, five boys and two girls, have been relocated to a temporary enclosure, along the Florida boardwalk, until the kits are mobile. 

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3_florida boardwalk skunk kit 5 may 29 2015

4_florida boardwalk skunk kit 3 may 29 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson/Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Born hairless, weighing only 40-50 grams each (about the weight of a slice of bread), the now furry siblings were recently weighed, and are currently at 180-208 grams each. Members of the Zoo’s animal care team feed Mia breakfast, while her kits are checked and weighed one at a time, then placed quickly back into the den.

Skunks are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal material and changing their diets as the seasons change. They eat insects and larvae, earthworms, grubs, small rodents, lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, moles and eggs. They also commonly eat berries, roots, leaves, grasses, fungi and nuts. In settled areas, Skunks also peruse garbage left by humans. Pet owners may experience a Skunk finding its way into a garage or storage area where pet food is kept.

Skunks are crepuscular and solitary when not breeding, though in colder parts of their range, they may gather in communal dens for warmth. During the day, they shelter in burrows, which they can dig with their powerful front claws. Males and females occupy overlapping home ranges through the greater part of the year. Skunks are not true hibernators in the winter, but do den-up for extended periods of time.

Skunks mate in early spring and polygamous. The female will excavate and prepare a den to house her litter. Skunks are placental, with a gestation period of about 66 days, and they generally give birth to four to seven kits.  The kits are weaned after about two months, but they will stay with their mother for about one year, until they reach mating age.

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Superstar Clouded Leopard Reaches Another Milestone

1_asia clouded leopard mowgli play 0 may 7 2015

‘Mowgli’, the Clouded Leopard cub born March 7th, at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has reached the “terrible twos” (two-months, that is). Mowgli, named after the main character in The Jungle Book, is already established as a celebrity and has been featured several times on ZooBorns: “Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar” and “Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans”.

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3_asia clouded leopard mowgli play 3 may 7 2015

4_asia clouded leopard mowgli play 2 may 7 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson/Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Fans of Mowgli can keep up-to-date on his growth and antics by exploring his web page, through Lowry Park Zoo: http://www.lowryparkzoo.com/leopard/

Now weighing in at 6 pounds with a full set of baby teeth, Mowgli has made the transition from a bottle to a meat-based baby food diet, which he enjoys making into a meal and a mess. His motor skills are progressing as well, and he is running, jumping, pouncing and starting to climb.

While the Zoo’s veterinary professionals will continue to provide round-the-clock care under industry protocols, Mowgli is ready for the next step in his care.

Starting Saturday, May 9th, Mowgli’s outdoor playtime was moved to a temporary enclosure to help keep him safe while he practices all of his new motor skills. The Zoo’s staff will continue to supervise his every move, but will work to scale back on handling, to promote greater independence. The enclosure will also help him make the adjustment to a permanent habitat in the future.

For the near term, public viewing will continue at 11 am, in the new location. A rotation through different environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Allowing guests to observe the cub at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.

Mowgli’s dad, ‘Yim’ and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo and are on exhibit in the Asian Gardens habitat area. The male cub is their first offspring.

Continue reading "Superstar Clouded Leopard Reaches Another Milestone" »


Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans

Asia clouded leopard cub 8 apr 14 2015

A rare Clouded Leopard cub, born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has reached a new step in his development: introduction to the great outdoors (and his adoring fans). He also has a new name: ‘Mowgli’, after the main character in Rudyard Kipling’s famous collection, “The Jungle Book”. ZooBorns has followed his story, since his birth was first announced.

Asia clouded leopard cub 11 apr 14 2015

Asia clouded leopard cub 8 apr 17 2015

Asia clouded leopard cub 3 apr 17 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

The Zoo’s veterinary professionals, who are providing round-the-clock care under industry protocols, have introduced outdoor exercise and playtime into Mowgli’s daily routine. For a limited time, Lowry Park Zoo guests can get an unforgettable glimpse at this rare and precious creature while he explores a grassy area under the watchful eye of the animal care team. Public viewing is at 10 a.m., to coincide with the cub’s morning feeding time (weather permitting and subject to change).

While Mowgli’s primary home is the Zoo’s new veterinary hospital, a rotation through different environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Interaction and socialization is carefully managed to help build confidence. Allowing guests to observe the cub at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.

When Mowgli is a bit older, the next step in his development will be a transition to supervised independence. He will move into a temporary outdoor enclosure that will help him make the adjustment to a permanent habitat. His future home has not yet been determined.

Mowgli’s dad, ‘Yim’, and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo and are on exhibit together in the Asian Gardens habitat area. The male cub is their first offspring. Lowry Park Keepers made, what some would consider, a controversial decision by choosing to hand-raise the cub, but it has been demonstrated that hand-rearing this particular species helps facilitate increased socialization among young animals and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adult males. 

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 60 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. 

As a forest-dependent species, the leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction. The Clouded Leopard is listed as “Endangered” under the United States Endangered Species Act, and they are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.   

For more than a decade, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan, a conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid: Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the Clouded Leopard.

More incredible pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans" »


Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar

Asia clouded leopard cub 4b mar 24 2015

An endangered Clouded Leopard kitten, born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has become a worldwide ambassador for his imperiled species. Images and video of the rare newborn have been shared around the globe.

Asia panther cub feeding 2 mar 24 2015

Asia clouded leopard cub in isolette 2 mar 24 2015

Asia panther cub feeding 4 mar 24 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

Now 3-weeks-old, the kitten has grown from 300 grams at birth to 810 grams today. His eyes are completely open and he is becoming more alert. He has started to crawl (or scoot) along using his front legs, and should be strong enough to move steadily on all four by one month of age. He is very vocal, particularly near feeding time which occurs approximately every four hours.

The Zoo’s veterinary team is providing round-the-clock care for the kitten under the protocol established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP).  It has been demonstrated that hand-rearing this particular species helps facilitate increased socialization among young animals and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adult males. 

The kitten’s dad, ‘Yim’, and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo. Both turn 4-years-old this week and were paired as potential mates at six months of age. The male kitten is their first offspring. He will be hand-reared until weaned at about 3 months of age. At that time the AZA SSP will make a determination about his future home.

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. As a forest-dependent species, the Leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction.    

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard SSP for more than a decade.  The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid: Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the Clouded Leopard.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar" »


Baby Tapir Arrives in Time for Festival

Asia malayan tapir baby 3 feb 6 2015Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is home to a breeding pair of Malayan Tapirs known as “Albert” and “Ubi.” On January 30th, Ubi gave birth to the couple’s second offspring, a male named “Tembikai.” 

Asia malayan tapir baby 2 feb 6 2015

Asia malayan tapir baby feb 6 2015

Asia malayan tapir tembikai 5 feb 10 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

With just 35 of these magnificent Malayan mammals in the population managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), every birth is significant. For the baby’s safety and needed bonding time with mother, the newborn remained off exhibit, under the watchful eye of animal care staff, for the first month of his life.

Tapirs are among the most primitive large mammals in the world, dating back 20 million years. There are four species of Tapir native to Southeast Asia and in Central and South America, all of which are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, due to ongoing decline. In their native range, Malayan Tapirs are found in Burma and Thailand within dense forests, usually near water.

Continue reading "Baby Tapir Arrives in Time for Festival " »


Rescued Florida Panther Kitten Recovers at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

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A rescued Florida Panther kitten is receiving 24-hour care at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. The kitten was rescued on the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge after January’s record cold snap. Biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida discovered the kitten while conducting research. The kitten had a dangerously low body temperature, was non-responsive, and was much too young to be separated from his mother. 

The 1-pound (.45-kg) kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention, so the biologists decided to transport the kitten to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, where veterinarians and staff performed life-saving measures. 

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8 panther (Carli Segelson)Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1-3, 7) / Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission: CaRli Segelsol (4); Dave Onorato (5, 9 ); Jorge Pino (6); Mark Lotz (8,10)

See video of the rescued kitten:

 

His condition improved quickly, though he still requires 24-hour care. Because this kitten was so young at the time of rescue, he did not learn necessary survival skills from his mother and therefore would not survive if released into the wild.

See and read more after the fold.

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Tampa's Rhino Calf Gets Down and Dirty

Africa white rhino baby oct 17 2013
In the middle of the night on October 9, Kidogo the Southern White Rhinoceros gave birth to a healthy male calf at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the third birth of this species in the zoo’s history. Now just a few weeks old, the calf, which has been named “Khari” (K-har-E), an African name meaning “king like,” is already romping in the Rhino yard’s mud puddles.

Africa white rhino baby oct 15 2013
Africa white rhino baby 2 oct 14 2013
Africa white rhino khari baby oct 22 2013
Photo Credit:  Dave Parkinson

While the zoo’s herd has grown by one, the wild population of Rhinos decreases by one every 15 hours due to poaching.

Demand for Rhino horn has skyrocketed in southeast Asia where horn, which is made out of keratin -- the same material found in human hair and nails -- is wrongly believed to have medicinal properties.  In 2012 in South Africa, 668 Rhinos were killed by poachers, and it is estimated that as many as 1,000 Rhinos could be lost this year. By 2016, Rhino deaths from poaching could overtake wild births. 

The zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Southern White Rhino Species Survival Plan, designed to support conservation of this species.

The zoo is currently home to a herd of seven Southern White Rhinos: three adult females from the Phinda Reserve in Africa, one adult male, the second-born juvenile Rhino “Kande,” and the newborn. Because White Rhinos live in herds, Kidogo and Khari have begun introductions to the other Rhinos and the Grevy’s Zebras that share the outdoor exhibit. 

The White Rhinoceros has two horns at the end of its muzzle, the most prominent in the front. Unlike Indian Rhinos, White Rhinos use their horns for defense. Females use their horn to protect their young while males use them to battle each other. Adult White Rhinos can reach weights of about 5,000 pounds, with most calves weighing between 100-140 pounds.

See more photos of Khari below the fold.

Continue reading "Tampa's Rhino Calf Gets Down and Dirty" »


Rescued Manatee Orphan on the Mend at Lowry Park Zoo

Bottle feeding orphaned manatee calf 82013

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is well-known for its ongoing work rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick or injured West Indian Manatees found in Florida waters.

Their most recent addition is an orphaned Manatee named Jobin.  He was just a few days old and weighed just 55 pounds when he arrived at the zoo’s Manatee Hospital.  Now six weeks old, Jobin has gained almost 20 pounds! 

Bottle feeding orphaned manatee calf 3 82013

Bottle feeding orphaned manatee calf 2 82013

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Photo Credit:  Lowry Park Zoo

West Indian Manatees, also known as sea-cows, weigh up to 1,300 pounds as adults.  Manatees are mammals – hence, they nurse their young and give birth to live babies.  They feed on underwater vegetation and inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, and freshwater springs.  Manatees prefer warm shallow waters and often gather in large groups.

Manatees are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They face threats from propeller strikes and toxic algae blooms.

The Lowry Park Zoo works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Marine Research Institute, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured or sick Manatees.  The zoo’s Manatee Hospital is one of three critical care facilities in Florida to care for West Indian Manatees and the only non-profit facility.