Marwell Park Zoo

Tiny Hippo Goes for First Swim at Marwell Zoo

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On December 13, keepers at Marwell Zoo in the UK discovered that Wendy the Pygmy Hippo had given birth! The calf is a healthy female who certainly lives up to the 'pygmy' name, weighing in at just 13 pounds (6 kg) and standing just 6 inches (15 cm) tall at birth. After a public vote, the calf has been named Gloria.

Born to 18-year-old Wendy and Dad, Nato, who stayed at Marwell Zoo over the summer, Gloria is an important addition to the European Endangered Breeding Programme (EEP).

Team Leader for Small Mammals Kevin Saunders says, “We think 'Gloria' really suits our new arrival. We wanted something that will fit well with her mum’s name ‘Wendy’ and we think they are great together!

“Gloria has now had a swim with Mum and we are very happy with how it went. Keepers will always stand by to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble, but Wendy is very experienced and keeps a close eye on her at all times.”

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2 hippoPhoto credit: Marwell Zoo / Tony Gardner (1)

Gloria explores her enclosure with mom:

 

Gloria goes for her first swim:

 

In the wild Pygmy Hippos are elusive animals, living in the swamps of western Africa. Pygmy Hippos, and their larger cousins, the Common Hippopotamus, play an important part in maintaining the ecosystems of the African wetlands and the surrounding grasslands and forests.

According to the zoo, ongoing deforestation in their natural habitat, combined with civil unrest, are significant threats to Pygmy Hippos. Their numbers have steadily declined and the species is now listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. It is estimated that the population is likely to continue to decline by 20% over the course of the next 20 years.


Anteater Pup Holds On Tight at Marwell Wildlife

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Marwell Wildlife in the UK is celebrating its first successful Giant Anteater birth and you can help name the pup! The youngster was born to first-time mom Chiquita early November and weighs just three pounds. Check in here with the zoo's FaceBook page over the next few days for an opportunity to vote on your favorite name, and maybe win a family ticket to the zoo. 

Giant Anteaters are native to South America and are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Females normally give birth to one baby after a gestation period of 190 days. Anteater pups cling to their mother's back or legs while they are young, and sometimes continue to do so for up to a year. The pup, still nursing for now, will begin to start eating solids at around three months old.

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4 anteaterPhoto credits: Marwell Wildlife

Mother and baby are currently spending a lot of their time indoors and are enjoying the heaters in their den during the cold weather. They are difficult for visitors to see at the moment. However, animal teams are keeping an eye on the pair, and the two will move to a more visible position in a couple of weeks. 

Shelly Parkes, collection manager at Marwell Zoo said, “We are so proud to see Chiquita carrying the baby as it hitches a ride across her back and demonstrating maternal instincts, as it’s her first pup. She seems content and we can hear the pup feeding and occasionally whistling as it talks to mum.”

Chiquita, who is two years old, arrived at the zoo nine months ago from Warsaw. When she met the zoo's resident male Ernesto, the pair clicked. 

Ernesto, who is nine years old, had previously been unlucky in love. Ernesto’s first mate was described to Marwell as a female but when the new mate arrived the pair didn’t mix well. On closer inspection Marwell Zoo staff realized they had been sent a male Anteater instead of a female! This is an easy mistake to make as an Anteater’s gender is notoriously difficult to determine.

The new baby will be given a health check once Chiquita is settled and the sex of the pup will be determined when it is older.


Snow Leopard Cub Triplets Take Their First Steps Outside

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Marwell Zoo’s three Snow Leopard cubs have taken their first steps outside into their new home. The babies, two male and one female, were born on April 21. Now 12 weeks old, the triplets are enjoying exploring their surroundings, climbing rocks, play fighting, and chasing mom. 

Keepers named the female cub Animesh, which means ‘bright’ and ‘to stare open eyed’ in Nepalese, chosen because she opened her eyes particularly early. One male cub was given the name Ariun, which means ‘pure’ in Mongolian. Now the keepers are asking the public to help them name the second male cub. A favorite shortlist of names will be picked by the zoo’s carnivore keepers and the public can decide their preferred name. The prize is an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at the Snow Leopard home.

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Photo Credit: Marwell Zoo

These cubs represent something very important. Marwell’s conservation biologist, Heidi Mitchell, said: “Snow leopards, like all big cat species, are threatened in the wild. This means that maintaining a healthy captive population of Snow Leopards is of vital importance to the global conservation strategy for the species.” 

Read more after the fold: 

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A Quartet of Critically Endangered Egyptian Tortoises

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A Quartet of tiny Tortoises (critically endangered Egyptian Tortoises to be exact) has hatched at Marwell Wildlife in Hampshire, U.K. The first youngster to hatch weighed just 3.9g and measures slightly taller than the height of a nickel! New hatchlings may be small but this species can go on to live for up to 50 years.

Egyptian Tprtoises are nearly extinct in the wild. Their habitat (two small populations remain in Libya) has been largely destroyed by human activity. The species is also threatened by the illegal pet trade.

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Photo credit: © Solent Newsagency

Marwell currently houses 10 adults in its Cold Blooded Corner. A full size adult can grow to around 15 centimeters long and weigh 500 grams. Two of Marwell's females laid eggs earlier in the year and these were removed and placed in an incubator to ensure optimal conditions for their development; precisely 30 degrees centigrade and 75% humidity.


January Baby: New Giraffe for Marwell Wildlife

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As of January 31 a new baby giraffe joined the herd at Marwelle Wildlife in the UK! Keepers cannot confirm whether the calf is a boy or a girl but a closer examination will take place in the next few days. This is the first baby for mom Ursula. She went into labor with all the other giraffes around her. Everything went well as the feet made their appearance, which is the typical way giraffes are born. The hooves come out striaght like Superman's arms, and then the long neck and finally the body.The final drop into the hay is not as far because so much of the baby is out and half-way to the floor in the process. 

The other giraffes gathered around while Ursula went through the motions and after the calf was given it's first clean up by Mom, the herd gather round to meet the new arrival. 

The baby, which is a Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), is part of a European Breeding Program. Currently the species is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Giraffes face many threats in the wild including habitat loss and poaching for meat and hides. It is thought there may be only a few hundred individuals left in the wild.

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Photo Credit: Marwell Wildlife

 


Marwell Wildlife Park Battles Extinction of Tiny Snails

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In a battle to save extinct Partula snails, Marwell Wildlife Park is now breeding an additional four species, taking its numbers on show in Encounter Village to more than 800.The park's breeding program now includes eight species of the snail, which are either extinct in the wild or critically endangered. Partula snails have gone into precipitous decline in recent years as they have suffered massively from habitat loss and the introduction of a carnivorous snail. However, The International Partula Conservation Programme has plans to re-introduce the snails into the wild, so there could be hope for the future.

In the wild, the snails were found only on islands in the Pacific Ocean, ranging over 8,000 km from Palau to the Society Islands in French Polynesia. This year, conservationists will be releasing snails into reserves on the islands. They will then be closely monitored until they are released into the wild to fend for themselves. Great care has to be taken when looking after the snails. It’s vital that the snails are kept in the correct heat and humidity and strict sterilization routines are put in place.

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In the 1970s African land snails were introduced to the Pacific islands as a source of food for the local people but they were released when the meat proved unpopular. These snails bred quickly in the wild and started eating crops. In 1974, in an effort to control the land snails, the predatory Florida Rosy Wolfsnail was introduced to the island. Instead of eating the land snails, they fed on the tree snails leading to the extinction of many Partula species. Partulas grow up to 2.5cm in length and give birth to one baby every three months. An adult Partula lives for approximately 10 years. There are 79 species of the genus Partula on the IUCN Red List, 50 of which are classified as Extinct.


Brazilian Tapir Baby Named In Memory Of His Dad

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A Brazilian Tapir baby named Little Ron, at only 9 days old, is now out and about in his paddock at Marwell Wildlife.  Born with a very pretty coat of pale spots and stripes on a reddish brown background, he is delighting visitors with his striking appearance. When he is about a year old he will lose his markings and develop a beautiful light brown color, just like his mom Summer and sister Quito. He's named ‘Little Ron’ in memory of his Dad, Ronaldo, who sadly died at the park last month after an acute illness.

Section Manager David White said: “Staff miss Ronaldo greatly and he was a popular character amongst visitors to the park- so we thought it would be nice to carry on his memory by calling the baby Little Ron.

“Summer is coping well and has had some assistance from Quito, her previous offspring. She is very attentive and protective of him, always keeping a look out and calling him when he is out of view, although this all changes when food is about!!”

 “Quito was very interested in the birth and almost acted like a birthing companion for her mom. She has been helping to keep him occupied and is keeping a watchful eye over him.”

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Photo Credit: Marwell Wildlife

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Baby Ring-tailed Coatis Play Ring Around the Rosy

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There's never a dull moment for these cuddling baby Coatis (AKA Brazilian Aardvarks!), photographed earlier this summer at Marwell Wildlife Park by Danielle Connor. A total of 5 baby Coati call Marwell home and as you can see, they spend much of their time wrestling and rough housing in their exhibit. Coatis are members of the Racoon family and although few scientific population studies have been made in recent years, their numbers appear to be in decline due to environmental destruction in their native Central and South America.

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One of Madagascar's Most Endangered Born at Marwell!

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Marwell Wildlife is celebrating the birth of one of the most endangered species of Lemur in Madagascar. Wild Alaotran Gentle Lemurs (Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis) are only found inhabiting the reed beds around Lake Alaotra in Madagascar. Marwell Wildlife, which is part of the conservation breeding programme, currently has five Alaotran Gentle Lemurs. John Pullen, the charity’s curator of mammals, said: “The youngster seems to be doing very well and Lelafo is a great mum, who is very protective. We are uncertain of its sex at this stage because we keep our distance to make it as natural as possible for them. Once we know the baby’s sex the animal keepers will find it a suitable Madagascan name.”

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Photo credits: Marwell Wildlife

What follows is a video compilation featuring this Gentle Lemur as well as several other species born recetnly at Marwell including a Grevy's Zebra, Capybaras, Saki Monkeys, Ring-Tailed Coatis, and a Scimitar Horned Oryx.