Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Eight Grey Wolf Pups Pop Out of Their Den


Eight grey wolf pups born on April 30 at Omaha Zoo’s Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari have emerged from their den!

Wolf Pups (3)
Wolf Pups (4)Photo Credit: Omaha's Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari  

Seven of the pups have grey coats, and one has a black coat.  All eight were born to Kenai, age six, and Yahzi, age seven.  This is their second litter – the pair produced five pups in 2014.

The pups are still nursing, but are starting to eat an adult carnivore diet with treats that include fish, eggs, bones, and meat.

Grey wolves, of which there are several subspecies, live in remote parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They are social animals, living in pairs with their offspring.  Grey wolves hunt in packs in well-established territories. 

There are currently 107 grey wolves in 38 North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. In the last 12 months, there have been 10 births, including this litter.  Grey wolves are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Look Who Just Hatched!

A tiny Carpet Chameleon has just emerged from its egg at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo!  Weighing about the same as four toothpicks, this little Lizard is one of seven Carpet Chameleons to hatch between January 12 and February 12 at the zoo.


Photo Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Native to Madagascar, Carpet Chameleons are one of the smallest true Chameleons.  In their forest habitat, Carpet Chameleons sport dark colors in the mornings as they warm themselves in the sun.  Once they are warmed up, they traverse tree branches in search of flies, grasshoppers, and insect larvae.  Food is captured on the tips of the Chameleons’ sticky tongues, which can be as long as the Lizards themselves (up to 10 inches). 

At just three months of age, carpet Chameleons reach sexual maturity and begin breeding.  Though many species in Madagascar are threatened with extinction, these Chameleons are abundant.

See more photos of the Chameleon below.

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Omaha's Lion Cubs Play All Day

10865875_10152984218455851_3848871017403495324_oThree Lion cubs born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on November 21 recently showed off their playful side for the cameras. The two male cubs and one female cub were born to first-time mother Ahadi, who is providing good maternal care.   

10339467_10152984218105851_2433573802110591640_oPhoto Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Like all young Lions, the cubs spend their days nipping, pouncing, and practicing their hunting skills, to the delight of zoo visitors.  The cubs are artists, too – zoo keepers brushed blue and pink paint on the cubs’ feet, and the cubs walked across canvas boards to create one-of-a-kind paintings, which are sold in the zoo’s gift shop.

The cubs began life weighing just three to four pounds, but are growing fast.  Their 6-year-old mother Ahadi weighs 335 pounds, and their father, Mr. Big, is 15 years old and weighs 560 pounds.   

The breeding of Ahadi and Mr. Big was recommended by the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums as part of a nationwide effort to breed Lions of known lineage.

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Over the last 20 years the Lion population is estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African Lions live in sub-Saharan Africa with the majority living in eastern and southern Africa.

See more photos of the playful cubs below.

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Giraffe Calf Welcomed by Omaha Zoo


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium welcomed a female Reticulated Giraffe calf on November 4th. She weighed 138 pounds and was 72 inches tall, at birth.



OmahaHenryDoorlyZoo_GiraffeCalf_4Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

The 15-year-old mother, ‘Dottie’, is taking her motherly duties seriously, and she is very protective of the new calf. The father of the calf is 6-year-old ‘Jawara’, who came to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in August of 2008, from the Brookfield Zoo, in Brookfield, Illinois.

The calf currently weighs 171 pounds and will gain about 3.5 to 4 pounds per day, growing at an enormous rate her first year of life. She will nurse for about four months, and then will begin consuming solid food.

Dottie and her calf can be seen in the indoor exhibit of the Giraffe Complex. They are currently secluded from the rest of the herd, and will be introduced to the others one-by-one. The calf will most likely remain in the zoo’s herd, and will not be transferred to another facility.The zoo recently sponsored a naming contest for the calf, and they will announce the winner on December 10th.

More below the fold!

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Omaha's Otter Pup Makes a Splash

1497919_10152809367325851_1839276454592659308_oAn African Spotted-neck Otter pup, born on July 27, is now making a splash with its mom on display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

10452828_10152809347455851_877785572943373479_oPhoto Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Following a two-month gestation period, female Spotted-neck Otters can give birth to one to two pups at a time. Spotted-neck Otter pups are born in dens, where they remain for the first two to three months of life. When the pups are ready to venture out on their own, mom teaches them how to swim and hunt for fish.

This birth is one of only two to occur this year among a network of eight Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions that house the species. There are now 22 Spotted-neck Otters within accredited zoos.

African Spotted-neck Otters—named for the distinctive blotches of cream-colored markings on their throats and chests—are native throughout central and southern Africa, primarily around Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.

Their fully webbed feet enable them to maneuver along the river’s edge, where they hunt for fish, crab, frogs, insects, birds and mollusks. In general, Otters are regarded as indicators of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

Though Spotted-neck Otters have an extensive range and are not currently under threat, there is concern that their population could decline due to degradation of their aquatic habitat and hunting of Otters for bushmeat. 

See more photos of the Otter pup below.

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From Tadpole to Froglet: An Amazing Transformation

Milky Tree Frog_Froglet Stage1

On March 12, an amazing transformation took place at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo:  a Milky Tree Frog tadpole became a froglet, one more important stage on its journey to becoming an adult Frog.  The metamorphosis from tadpole to juvenile took about three weeks to complete.

Milky Tree Frog_Froglet Stage2

Milky Tree Frog_Adult Stage1

Milky Tree Frog_Adult Stage2
Photo Credit:  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

Milky Tree Frogs are also known as Amazon Milk Frogs, Mission Golden-Eyed Tree Frogs or Blue Milk Frogs.  They inhabit tropical rain forests in the Amazon basin, and dwell entirely in the forest canopy.  This is not all that unusual, except most Tree Frogs are rather small.  The Milky Tree Frog, however, grows up to four inches (10 cm) long – big enough to dine on pinky mice at the zoo.

The “milk” in this Frog’s name comes from the poisonous, milk-colored fluid they secrete when stressed. The photos above show the froglet (top two photos) and adult (bottom two photos).

UPDATE! Omaha Zoo Lion Cubs Get Named

Omaha Lion 1

We first reported on the five African Lion cubs born at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo HERE way back in January following their birth to mother Mfisha and father Mr. Big on December 29, 2012. Here at ZooBorns we have continued to follow this litter as they have grown up with two updates so far, which can be found HERE and HERE. It has been over a month and a half since our last update and there is plenty to report on the quintuplets.

All five of the cubs, two of which are male and three of which are female, have continued to grow and thrive and are in good health. At the last weighing, each cub tipped the scales between 17 and 23 pounds.

Omaha Lion 2

Omaha Lion 3

Photo credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Perhaps most excitingly, each of the five cubs has been named. The names were determined through a naming contest run through the zoo's Facebook page. The zoo's Facebook fans were able to submit names on the site and then fans were able to vote on their favorite names from the submissions. After over 4,400 votes were submitted, five different names, all of which are of African origin, were decided upon. The males were named Taj, meaning "crown" and Josiri, which means "brave." The females have been named Kya, meaning "diamond in the sky," Leela, meaning "night beauty," and Zuri, which means "beautiful flower.

The five cubs are currently out on display for visitors to see at the zoo's Cat Complex. They can be found romping about with their mother Mfisha and their aunt Ahadi.

See many more photos after the fold!

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UPDATE! Omaha Zoo's Five African Lion Cubs Strike a Pose

Lion younger 5

Getting five Lion cubs to look at the camera at the same time is not easy, but the staff at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium enjoy trying. You may have first learned about these two male and three female African Lion cubs, born on December 29, here or here on Zooborns.

First-time mom Mfisha, six years old, has her paws full but is clearly doing a great job. The cubs are weighed every day and are growing as they should, including one female, who was having trouble nursing early on. After spending eight days in the hospital to improve her health, she was put back with her siblings, mom and aunt, though she continued to be bottle fed by keepers. 

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). Over the last 20 years the lion population has estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African lions live in sub-Sahara Africa with the majority in east and southern Africa.

Lion wiegh

Lion paw bro

Lion pile
Photo Credit: Henry Doorly Zoo

Read more about this beautiful species after the fold:

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UPDATE: Five Lion Cubs are the Pride of Omaha


You met the five African Lion cubs born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo a few weeks ago on ZooBorns. Take a look at these new photos and you’ll see that they’re growing fast!

Born to first-time mother Mfisha and father Mr. Big on December 29, the five cubs are thriving.  The litter includes two males and three females.



Photo Credit:  Henry Doorly Zoo

This breeding was recommended by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) as part of an effort to breed Lions of appropriate genetic backgrounds.   

The population of African Lions has fallen dramatically over the last few decades.  Some experts estimate there are half as many wild African Lions as there were two decades ago, and most are confined to national parks and protected areas.  Zoo breeding is one of many efforts underway to protect these majestic cats from extinction.


Wake Up Little Lion Cub!


Being a Lion cub is hard work, as these images of the latest additions to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo show.  Five Lion cubs, two males and three females, were born on December 29, 2012 to first-time mother Mfisha and father Mr. Big.



Photo Credit:  Henry Doorly Zoo

Four of the cubs are on display with their mother and aunt, but one of the female cubs is currently in the zoo's hospital receiving round the clock care. She was smaller than the other cubs and didn’t compete well for food, so at 24 hours old Animal Care Staff gave her fluids to keep her hydrated. At 48 hours old the decision was made to remove the cub to the hospital for hand-rearing. When the cub’s health is stable and she is gaining weight, she will be introduced to her mother and siblings while keepers will provide her with extra feedings throughout the day when the mother is briefly shifted to a nearby enclosure.

This breeding is part of an SSP (Species Survival Plan) recommendation. The subspecies, krugeri, is the focus of AZA’s (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Felid Taxon Advisory Group to concentrate zoo efforts nationwide to breed Lions of known lineage. There have been eleven African Lion births in the last twelve months at AZA accredited zoos in North America. The count does not inlcude these cubs. 

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). Over the last 20 years the lion population has estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African Lions live in sub-Sahara Africa with the majority in eastern and southern Africa.  The last Lion birth at the zoo was in 1994.