Maryland Zoo

Prairie Dog Pups Pop Up at Maryland Zoo

The Prairie Dog habitat at the Maryland Zoo is popping with pups – literally!  The staff reports that new pups are poking their little heads out of their burrows daily.  They’ve counted 17 so far.

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Black-tailed Prairie Dogs live a social life.  These rodents live in family groups called coteries, and many coteries group together form a colony or town of Prairie Dogs.  Members of a family group communicate constantly, often by “kissing” or grooming each other.   

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Photo Credit:  Maryland Zoo

Native to the North American plains, Prairie Dogs are often considered pests by ranchers and farmers because they eat grasses and disturb fields.  But studies show that Prairie Dogs are an important prey species that plays a crucial role in the grassland ecosystem.  They are the primary food source of endangered Black-footed Ferrets, whose decline is associated with the extermination of Prairie Dogs in parts of the American West.

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There's a New Kid at the Maryland Zoo

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Baltimore's Maryland Zoo announced the birth of an African pygmy goat kid.  Born on June 10 to the Zoo’s African pygmy goat pair Lex and Lois, Lana is the first kid to be born at the Zoo in many years. “Lex and Lois came to the Zoo in December with the hope that they would breed,” stated Mike McClure, general curator for The Maryland Zoo. “It became apparent a few weeks ago that breeding had been successful, and we have been preparing the barn for this new arrival. Sunday morning keepers found the kid newly born and resting with her mother.”

Lana weighs 3 pounds, and began to walk approximately one hour after birth.  “A first time mother, Lois is properly caring for her offspring and we have seen the kid actively nursing,” continued McClure. “Keepers have been watching mom and baby and will continue to monitor them closely to ensure that they are doing well.”

Zoo visitors can see Lois and Lana in the Zoo’s Farmyard area next to the sheep.  “Lana is quite small and she likes to nap behind the water bowl in the exhibit,” concluded McClure.  “For now, visitors will need to look carefully for a little furry black baby with white ears, but as she grows she will become very active.”

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Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo


What's Black and White But White All Over? Maryland Zoo's Baby Colobus Monkey

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore announced the birth of black-and-white Colobus Monkey, born on exhibit on April 21. This is the first baby for parents, Keri, age 14, and Bisi, age 19. The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is covered in white fur, and is a little hard to see as it clings tightly to its mother's belly. The staff are monitoring things very closely, and have seen the baby nurse. When appropriate they will do the first veterinary check.

“We have been hoping that this pair would breed successfully, however they are secretive breeders and we were not certain she was pregnant,” stated Mike McClure, general curator. “We were very happy to see this new offspring arrive this morning. We want the mother and baby to be as comfortable as possible, so we are not attempting to bring them off exhibit to check on the infant at this time."

The species is considered in decline as they are threatened by loss of forest habitat across equatorial Africa, and are also hunted for their meat and fur. This birth is the result of a recommendation from the Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity and appropriate social groupings, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals. 

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo

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Meet Nero, Maryland's Brand New Baby Sifaka!

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is pleased to announce the birth of a second male Coquerel’s Sifaka (CAHK-ker-rells she-FAHK) baby born on Saturday, November 12, 2011, almost nine months to the day that his older brother Otto was born.  “We observed changes in Anastasia which made us suspect she might be pregnant, but we were not sure if it was just wishful thinking on our parts so soon after Otto’s birth,” stated Mike McClure, general curator.  “We are very pleased to see that the baby is healthy, and to observe that the Sifaka family is bonding quite nicely in a quiet off exhibit area for now.”

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Photo and video credits: The Maryland Zoo

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Endangered Gazelle Fawn, Elvira, Finds Her Feet

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming a new arrival – a female Addra Gazelle calf born on Sunday, October 30, 2011, at approximately 8:00 am. The calf, named Elvira, weighed 4.95 kg (11 pounds) at birth, and is strong and healthy. Her parents are 9-year-old Pearl and 4-year-old Makuru. 

“Pearl, who gave birth to our male calf Ray-Ray in February, is unfortunately showing no signs of interest in her new offspring,” stated Mike McClure, general curator of the Zoo. “Because the calf is so significant to the overall population of this endangered species, we decided that a quick intervention was necessary in order to keep her healthy.”

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Rare Gremlin-like Sifaka Lemur Born at Maryland Zoo!

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming its newest arrival – a male Coquerel’s Sifaka (CAHK-ker-rells she-FAHK) baby born on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.  “This is a highly significant birth for the Sifaka population in North America,” stated Mike McClure, general curator.  “There are only eight accredited zoos that house the 50 Coquerel’s Sifaka in the U.S. and this tiny baby represents 2% of the total captive population in the country.”

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Photo and video credits: Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo’s Sifaka pair, Anastasia, age 7 and Gratian, age 8 are the first time parents of baby Otto, which was born sometime between 9:00 am and 10:00 am on February 15.  His birth weight was 100 grams, which falls in the average birth weights range of 85-115 g. “For comparison’s sake, 100 grams is just about the weight of a deck of cards,” said Meredith Wagoner, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo.  “Sifaka are born almost hairless and resemble tiny bald gremlins, however their white hair soon grows in and they begin to resemble their parents.”

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Ray-Ray the Addra Gazelle Calf Takes Dinner Seriously

Baby Addra Gazelle at Maryland Zoo

Meet Ray-Ray, the Maryland Zoo's newest Addra Gazelle calf. Born February 5, the calf is strong and healthy. Named after Ravens players Ray Lewis and Ray Rice, the calf isn't quite yet ready to play with the big boys as he weighs just 11lbs 6oz (5.3kg). The Addra Gazelle, also known as the Dama Gazelle, is the largest and tallest of all gazelles. This species is critically endangered due to drought, disease communicated by domestic livestock, and habitat destruction.

Dinner time for a little Addra Gazelle calf at Maryland Zoo1Keeper Cristina Laurie joins little Ray-Ray for dinner time. Photo and video credits: Maryland Zoo

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Baby Hyraxes Pop into the Maryland Zoo

ZooBorns contributor Nikon Doll captured these shots of the Maryland Zoo's baby Rock Hyraxes last week. Rock Hyraxes use "sentries" - one or more inidividuals which warn of approaching danger from a high vantage point. Although they might look like rodents, they are actually a fairly close relative of elephants and manatees! That being said, for relatives of manatees, the video below proves they are pretty speedy!

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Photo Credoits: Nikon Doll

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