Minnesota Zoo

‘Landslide’ of Cuteness Debuts at Minnesota Zoo

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The Minnesota Zoo is excited to welcome a new male Puma kitten, named Landslide, to their Medtronic Minnesota Trail exhibit.

“We are excited about giving our guests a chance to see this energetic young male Puma kitten on the Minnesota Trail,” says Tom Ness, curator for the Tropics and Medtronic Minnesota Trails. “We take our mission to save wildlife very seriously here at the Minnesota Zoo and we are so grateful we are able to provide him with a great home.”

The male Puma kitten was found orphaned after a landslide in NE Washington earlier this spring and was initially cared for by the Oregon Zoo. He made the journey to his new home at the Minnesota Zoo in early May, and Zoo veterinarians have been caring for the kitten behind the scenes to ensure he is healthy and stable. The young Puma was scheduled to finish his last round of kitten vaccines last week, and vet staff and zookeepers report he is thriving in his new home.

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4_image1Photo Credits: Tyler Birschbach/Minnesota Zoo

This is the second successful Puma (kitten) public debut for the Minnesota Zoo this year. An older Puma, named Sequim, that was also orphaned and rescued as a young kitten outside the Port Angeles, Washington area, made his public debut along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail earlier this year. The Medtronic Minnesota Trail is also home to several other rescued animals such as: three Black Bears, five Gray Wolves, a Bald Eagle, a Porcupine and more.

The young Puma will be on-exhibit daily from 9 am until approximately 1 pm. He will rotate exhibit time with Sequim.

Puma is a genus in Felidae (Felis concolor). Probably due to their wide range across North and South America, Pumas have multiple names they are known by, including Cougar and Mountain Lion.

Pumas can run up to 43 mph, jump more than 20 feet from standing, and leap up to 16 feet straight up.

Although they can make a wide range of cat noises (hisses, growls, purrs), Pumas cannot roar. Instead, they are known for their distinctive “scream-like” calls during mating, but are often extremely stealthy and go unheard.

Although they have been pushed into smaller habitats by human settlement expansion, members of this genus have been formally classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Their success in the wild, thus far, is due to their adaptation to changing habitat conditions.


Tiny Tiger Cub Reunited With Mom at Minnesota Zoo

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A newborn endangered Amur Tiger cub has been reunited with her mother thanks to the work of keepers at the Minnesota Zoo.

The female cub was born on April 26 and removed for hand-raising when Sundari, a first-time mom, wasn’t showing the necessary level of care for her baby. Although the tiny cub needed immediate feeding by zoo staff, they did not give up on their goal of keeping mom and baby together. Sundari just needed a little encouragement.

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TigerCub Reunited 1Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo



Keepers repeatedly showed the cub to Sundari through a protective barrier over several days.  When Sundari showed no signs of aggression toward her cub, keepers successfully reunited the pair.

So far, mom and cub appear to be bonding, and the staff closely monitors the cub to make sure she is getting enough milk.  Keepers still provide supplemental feedings to ensure the baby’s health.

Mom and baby will remain behind the scenes while the keeper staff monitors their health. The zoo has set up a special webpage that will soon include a live web cam to view the new Tiger cub.

This is the first offspring for mother, Sundari, who was born at the Minnesota Zoo in June of 2012. Father, 7-year-old Putin has sired two other litters in Denmark, where he lived before coming to the Minnesota Zoo in 2015. Putin was brought to the Minnesota Zoo as a recommendation of the Amur Tiger Global Species Management Plan, which is co-coordinated by Minnesota Zoo staff. He is the most genetically valuable Amur Tiger in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP), underscoring the zoo’s groundbreaking efforts to reunite this cub with her mother. Coordinated by Minnesota Zoo staff for more than three decades, the Tiger SSP recommended Sundari and Putin as a breeding pair.

Continue reading "Tiny Tiger Cub Reunited With Mom at Minnesota Zoo" »


Orphaned Pumas Find Home at Minnesota Zoo

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The Minnesota Zoo recently welcomed two orphaned Puma kittens to Apple Valley, MN.

The brother-sister pair was found in late October just outside the Port Angeles, Washington area by a local resident and rescued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife before making the journey to Minnesota. Based on the kittens’ condition, officials were confident their steps at intervention were needed and that the mother was not returning to care for the pair.

“We are happy to provide these kittens with an excellent home to thrive here at the Minnesota Zoo,” says Tropics and Minnesota Trail Curator, Tom Ness. “These kittens are a great addition and we look forward to introducing them to our guests once they are healthy and strong enough for their habitat along the Minnesota Trail.”

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4_Puma Kitten_3Photo Credits: John Oakes/ Minnesota Zoo

The male kittens weighed in at 13 pounds when he arrived, while the female was 11 pounds. Both kittens have grown considerably since their arrival and are currently behind the scenes for a mandatory quarantine period, where they are receiving constant care from the Zoo’s veterinary team before making their public debut along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail sometime later this year. The Medtronic Minnesota Trail is also home to several other rescued animals such as: three black bears, five gray wolves, a bald eagle, a porcupine and more.

Puma is a genus in Felidae (Felis concolor). Probably due to their wide range across North and South America, Pumas have multiple names they are known by, including Cougar and Mountain Lion.

Pumas can run up to 43 mph, jump more than 20 feet from standing, and leap up to 16 feet straight up.

Although they can make a wide range of cat noises (hisses, growls, purrs), Pumas cannot roar. Instead, they are known for their distinctive “scream-like” calls during mating, but are often extremely stealthy and go unheard.

Although they have been pushed into smaller habitats by human settlement expansion, members of this genus have been formally classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Their success in the wild, thus far, is due to their adaptation to changing habitat conditions.


Minnesota’s Penguin Chicks Are Put on the Scale

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Three African Penguin chicks have hatched, so far this season, at the Minnesota Zoo.

When the eggs first hatch, keepers at the Minnesota Zoo weigh the chicks to ensure the parents are feeding them properly. The three chicks that hatched in December are steadily gaining weight—a testimony to the good parenting they are receiving!

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4_12496079_10153807986428788_1417004124455515403_oPhoto Credits: Minnesota Zoo

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is a species confined to southern African waters. It is widely known as the “jackass” penguin for its donkey-like bray.

Like all extant penguins it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat. Adults weigh, on average, 4.9 to 7.7 lbs (2.2 to 3.5 kg) and are 24 to 28 inches (60 to 70 cm) tall. It has distinctive pink patches of skin above the eyes and a black facial mask; the body upper parts are black and sharply delineated from the white under parts, which are spotted and marked with a black band. The pink gland above the eyes helps the penguins to cope with changing temperatures. The African Penguin is a pursuit diver and feeds primarily on fish and squid.

They are monogamous and breed in colonies, returning to the same site each year. The African Penguin has an extended breeding season, with nesting usually peaking from March to May, in South Africa, and November and December in Namibia. A clutch of two eggs is laid either in burrows dug in guano, or scrapes in the sand under boulders or brush. Both parents undertake incubation equally for about 40 days. At least one parent guards the chicks until about 30 days. After that, the chick joins the crèche with other chicks, and both parents head out to sea to forage. Chicks fledge at 60 to 130 days and go to sea, on their own.

Once extremely numerous, the African Penguin is declining due to a combination of threats and is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Population declines are, according to the IUCN, largely attributed to: food shortages (resulting from large catches of fish by commercial purse-seine fisheries) and environmental fluctuations.


It’s All About that Pumpkin

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Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

Continue reading "It’s All About that Pumpkin" »


Minnesota Zoo Welcomes First Baby Tapir Born in Twenty Years

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The Minnesota Zoo announced the birth of this Malayan Tapir calf, the first born at the Zoo in more than 20 years. The newborn, a female, came into the world at approximately 9:15 p.m. on July 20, after a 419-day gestation period. Mom, Bertie, and her calf are doing well and are currently off-exhibit together, giving them time to bond. But you can watch them on the zoo's Tapir Cam.

The Malayan Tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Tapir populations are declining due to habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes, flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade.

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Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo

Watch the baby and mom in action:

Read more after the fold.

Continue reading "Minnesota Zoo Welcomes First Baby Tapir Born in Twenty Years" »


It's Breakfast Time for Baby Sloth

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A baby Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, born on February 3 at the Minnesota Zoo, is slowly making its public debut.  The infant is only the second Sloth born at the zoo and is a significant achievement for the Sloth breeding program. 

The baby’s gender is not yet known, and it spends most of its time clinging to mom.  The video below captures mom and baby nibbling a nutritious breakfast of carrots, squash, hard-boiled eggs, and romaine lettuce, hand-delivered by zoo keepers.  In the wild, Sloths eat leaves, small twigs, berries, flowers, fruit, and occasionally insects and small prey.



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Photo Credits:  Minnesota Zoo

Sometimes called the slowest animals on earth, Sloths live high in the rain forest canopy of Central America and northern South America.  Their slow movements allow them to conserve energy and avoid detection from predators like Harpy Eagles and Jaguars.  Sloths sleep, eat, mate, and give birth hanging upside down in trees. They are also excellent swimmers.

 


Penguin Chick is a First for Minnesota Zoo

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An endangered African Penguin chick hatched at the Minnesota Zoo on March 2 – the first in the zoo’s history.  The chick, whose gender is not yet known, is being raised behind-the-scenes by Penguin foster parents.  The biological parents were not incubating the egg consistently so the egg was placed with this experienced pair.  

The photos below showcase the chick’s rapid growth. From top to bottom, the chick is one day, three days, five days, 12 days, and 16 days old.  The chick has grown from 2.4 ounces to over 1 pound, 6 ounces in that time span. The chick will eventually become an ambassador for its species in the Minnesota Zoo’s education programs.

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Photo Credits:  MIinnesota Zoo

 

African Penguins live and nest on the southwest coast of Africa, where they consume nearly 15% of their body weight in fish such as anchovies, sardines, and herring each day.  Large-scale commercial fisheries, oil spills, and habitat destruction have killed 80% of the African Penguin population in the last 50 years. 

Catastrophic food shortages, thought to be caused by climate change which has shifted fish populations further away from the coast, have accelerated the decline in the global population by forcing adults to abandon their nests and chicks.


Update: Tiny Bubbles for Tiger Cubs!

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Everyone needs play time - including this pair of Amur Tiger cubs at the Minnesota Zoo!  Thanks to the donation of a bubble machine from the zoo's "Animal Enrichment Wish List," the cubs enjoyed interacting with these mysterious new "toys!"

These two female cubs had a rough start in life:  both were removed from their mothers when they were less than a day old because they were not nursing successfully.  The first cub was born at the Minnesota Zoo on June 17. The second cub, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on July 1, came to Minnesota on July 19. The cubs were brought together to ensure the best socialization.  Now, nearly off bottles and growing strong, the cubs are on exhibit for part of the day in the Tiger Lair along the Zoo’s Northern Trail.  Read about the tigers' early days here.

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Enrichment is a term that applies to novel items introduced to mentally and physically stimulate animals.  Enrichment can include unusual food items, often hidden so animals have to employ time and energy to locate them; toys such as boxes or tree branches; scents like spices and perfumes to stimulate olfactory senses; intensive behavioral training and interaction with zoo keepers; or unexpected items like the bubble machine.

Amur Tigers are among the rarest of wild cats, with only about 350 individuals remaining in the wilds of eastern Russia.  Cubs born in zos are especially significant to the genetic health of the captive population, hence the intense efforts undertaken by the Minnesota Zoo and the Saint Louis Zoo to hand rear these two cubs.

Photo Credit:  Minnesota Zoo


Minnesota Zoo's Tiger Cubs Are On Exhibit and There's Still Time to Help Name Them!

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The Minnesota Zoo is holding a naming contest for its two female Amur Tiger cubs born this past summer. This contest is being conducted on Facebook and started October 3. Click here to submit your name suggestions through this Sunday, October 14.

Everyone who participates in the naming contest will be eligible for daily prize drawings, including a Family 4-Pack of tickets to the Minnesota Zoo and other great prizes.

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Photo credit: (1-4) MN Zoo, (5) Ashley Ondricek / MN Zoo

 

Name suggestions will be accepted through Sunday, October 14, 2012. Zoo staff will then review all submissions and select the top three names for each cub to be posted on the Minnesota Zoo’s Facebook fan page to be voted on by the public, starting Thursday, October 18. The winning names will be announced on Monday, October 29.