The Oregon Zoo's Caracal triplets born June 8th are ready for their close-ups! These photos, taken just yesterday, show the cubs at precisely two weeks of age. Caracals live in the woodlands and savannas of North Africa, Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. While caracals are listed in the category of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, hunting and habitat loss pose risks to wild populations.
Oregon Zoo Caracal Peggy gave birth to three healthy kittens, two females and one male, on June 8. According to keepers, the first-time mother and her babies are doing well, with all three kittens nursing regularly and starting to move around their behind-the-scenes nesting box.
“We are very proud of Peggy,” said senior Africa keeper Asaba Mukobi. “It’s really amazing to see her do everything she possibly can to care for her kittens. She’s very protective, makes sure everyone is nursing, and sets boundaries for the kittens now that they’re moving around.”
The Oregon Zoo's Cougar cub will be on exhibit starting Thursday, Nov. 11, though visitors will need to keep a sharp eye out to see the youngster. Like all baby Cougars, the female cub is well-camouflaged by the brown spots on her coat. Since her birth Sept. 19, the cub has lived in a maternity den with her mother, Chinook. She and Chinook will have access to the Cougar exhibit in the morning, while the cub's father, Paiute, will be on exhibit in the afternoon. The cub, who keepers describe as "brave and feisty," has ventured into the exhibit several times this past week, first with the exhibit's viewing areas completely closed and then with zoo staff watching from the viewing areas.
"As we expected, the cub quickly adapted to having people around," said Michelle Schireman, Oregon Zoo Cougar keeper. "She's quite the little explorer. Her comfort was the determining factor in our decision to open the exhibit to zoo visitors."
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First time mother Cougar, Chinook, gave birth to a healthy female cub Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Oregon Zoo. According to keepers, Chinook is taking good care of her cub, which weighed around 2 pounds at birth. "The cub is an adorable, roly-poly little cat covered in dark spots," said Michelle Schireman, Oregon Zoo cougar keeper. "Like all baby cougars, her coat will lose its spots as she grows — it should be fun to watch her coloring change to an adult pattern."
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Just a decade ago, Washington's Western Pond Turtle population had shrunk to only about 150 individuals. Habitat destruction, pollution and disease all took their toll on the turtles but the invasive bullfrog proved to be their greatest enemy. Bullfrogs eat tiny turtle hatchlings and the dramatic increase in predation pushed the Western Pond Turtle to the brink. Luckily, the Oregon Zoo in partnership with other organizations created a head-start program, under which baby turtles are collected in the wild and raised in captivity until they are old enough to be released and fend for themselves. By raising them in warm light for eleven months, the turtle hatchlings skip hibernation and in that short time they actually grow the equivalent of three years in the wild!
A Western Pond Turtle raised at the Oregon Zoo is released into the beautiful Washington wilderness. I'd like to be released there...
One of the Oregon Zoo's newest and smallest four-legged babies recently made his debut. A 2-month-old red-flanked duiker is now on exhibit with his mother in the zoo's Africa Rain Forest area. Duikers are among the smallest of antelope species and generally weigh only 20 to 26 pounds when fully grown.
Photo credits: Carli Davidson / Oregon Zoo
The endangered Western Pond Turtle faces threats from habitat degradation and disease, but the biggest threat to these little turtles are invasive bullfrogs that have thrived in the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington. These huge frogs gobble up tiny turtle hatchlings like Whitman's Samplers. By breeding Western Pond Turtles and raising them until they are large enough to be off the bullfrog's menu, the Oregon Zoo is helping to rebuild the turtle population.
Preparing to storm the shores of the Columbia River Gorge
Home sweet home
Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are the world's smallest and among the rarest. Native only to a single area of Washington State, this once isolated population of Pygmy rabbits usually weighs less than a pound in adulthood and was declared extinct in the wild in the '90s, after the remaining 14 bunnies were scooped up and taken into the equivalent of bunny protective custody.
This year the Oregon Zoo welcomed 26 of the little guys, bringing this year's total to 73 baby bunnies (kits) among participating breeding facilities. Color is added to the ears in the pictures below so zoo staff can tell the kits apart.
Unlike most rabbits, the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit did not breed prodigously in captivity, partially due to inbreeding within the tiny wild population. As a result they were cross bred with Idaho Pygmy Rabbits and subsequent breeding efforts have been more successful. Learn more by clicking on "Continue reading..." below or at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Staff at the Oregon Zoo have teamed up with conservation biologists at the University of Portland to study "baby" elephant Samudra, who was born around this time last year. The research is behavioral, tracking the growing boy's habits throughout the day and analyzing how those habits change over the course of his first year. The results will be shared with other zoos to help ensure successful births and rearing. Learn more below the fold.
The cougar cub we just featured in her full kitten glory. At this age keepers can still handle the cub, named "Gillin," but it's pretty clear that won't last long.