Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Wrinkly Pink Aardvark Calf Debuts at Henry Doorly Zoo

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What weighs 16 pounds, has a long snout, and is wrinkly all over?  The new Aardvark calf at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo!

The female calf, which was born on October 8, made her public debut on December 27.  Because her mother has a history of not caring for her offspring, the calf is being hand-reared by zoo staff.   She is displayed next to her parents so she can become familiar with their scent and vocalizations.

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Photo Credit:  Henry Doorly Zoo

Though the effort required to hand-rear an aardvark is significant, it is definitely worthwhile:  only about 30 Aardvarks currently live in twelve accredited North American zoos.

Aardvarks live throughout sub-Saharan Africa, exploiting any habitat where ants and termites are available.  Using their powerful front legs and claws, Aardvarks tear open insect mounds and take up thousands of ants or termites with their long sticky tongues.   Though their skin appears fragile, it is in fact thick enough to withstand a flurry of ant stings or termite bites with no harm to the Aardvark.

Zoo guests are invited to enter a contest to name the calf when they visit her exhibit at the zoo.


Rare Cats Born Through Amazing Science!

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Some adorable newborn kittens at Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species have no idea just how special they are.  Two African Black-Footed kittens, members of an endangered species rarely seen in captivity, are the first of their kind to be born from a frozen embryo via in-vitro fertilization. This ground-breaking birth is the latest advance in assisted reproduction for endangered species from Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans.

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Photo credits: Audubon Institute

The youngsters, both males, were born to surrogate mother Bijou on February 13, 2011, but their story goes all the way back to 2003, when sperm was collected from a 6 year old male named Ramses in Omaha, Nebraska. Experts at the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Center for Conservation and Research – Reproductive Sciences Department froze the sperm and sent it to Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.  It was combined with an egg from Zora, a Black-Footed Cat living at Audubon research center, creating embryos in March, 2005. Those embryos were frozen for almost six years before being thawed and transferred to Bijou on December 7, 2010. Sixty-nine days later, the two kittens became the first of their species to be born as a result of in-vitro fertilization utilizing frozen/thawed sperm and a frozen/thawed embryo.

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Fossa Pups!

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo has two new Fossa pups, born on June 26, 2010. Native to the island of Madagascar, Fossas are the main predator of lemurs. They are very agile climbers whose ankles can rotate 180 degrees. This allows them to climb down a tree face-forward while gripping with their back feet. Looking like a cross between a cat and a weasel, they are most closely related to mongooses.

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Fossa-Pup Photo Credits: Henry Doorly Zoo

 

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Baby Tapir says "Take me to your leader!"

The Henry Doorly Zoo's newest resident might look like ALF, but he's not an alien. This little Malayan Tapir calf was born December 6th and is just now on display with his mother, Knobbie, in the Asian Rainforest exhibit.

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In their native jungles of Southeast Asia, tapirs use their long snouts to reach tasty leaves that would otherwise be just out of reach. The birth of this little guy is particular exciting because the species is endangered in the wild and the breeding program population in North America is small.

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Alien or Aardvark?

This newborn aardvark at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo most certainly wins the award for wrinkliest baby ever featured on ZooBorns. Weighing just 5 lbs, this little calf might eventually reach as much as 125 lbs. We hope by then he has grown into his skin. 

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Before signing on Brad Pitt, this baby aardvark was slated to play Benjamin Button
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Watch him wiggle his snout and scamper

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Sea Lion Kiddy Pools

Just like baby humans must learn to walk, baby sea lions must learn to swim. This little female sea lion pup, born June 14th at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, is no exception so keepers have lowered the water level in the enclosure to something closer to an inflatable kiddy pool than a nice fancy inground. As the pup grows, so too will the water depth, kind of like YMCA swimming classes. 

Little sea lion thinks she could get used to this...
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Enough splashing. Nap time.
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Photo credit for last photo: Alyssa Todd

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