Two critically endangered Amur Tiger cubs born September 17 at the United Kingdom’s Woburn Safari Park are off and running as they explore their nine-acre habitat.
Photo Credit: Woburn Safari Park
The playful five-month-old cubs, both females, are now old enough to live in the main Tiger reserve where they are being given the grand tour by their mother, four-year-old Minerva.
You first met the cubs here on ZooBorns when they were just one month old. Since birth, the cubs have been living with their mother in a den, much like they would in the wild. In the safety of the den, the cubs learned to play, pounce, sharpen their claws, feed on meat, and cause plenty of mischief.
These are the first Tiger cubs to be born at Woburn Safari Park in 23 years, so their birth is an important landmark for keepers. The latest estimates show that numbers of Amur Tigers (also referred to as Siberian Tigers) are as low as 520 in the wild. Less than 100 years ago, only about 40 Amur Tigers remained in the wild. Despite this perceived comeback, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists these cats, which are the largest of all Tiger subspecies, as Critically Endangered due to the persistent threat of poaching and loss of habitat. The international Amur Tiger captive breeding program is of vital importance for the future of this magnificent species.
Two Meerkat pups born January 7 at Australia’s Taronga Zoo are already practicing the skills they’ll need as adults.
Photo Credit: Paul Fahy
The pups, which are the first to be born at Taronga Zoo in nearly seven years, have just started venturing out of their nest box. At less than one month old, they’re already eating solid food like mealworms and insect larvae. The pups are also practicing to be sentries by standing on their hind legs. Meerkats take turns standing as sentries to protect their social group from predators and other threats.
Keepers think that the pups are a male and a female, but the genders will be confirmed later this month when they have their first vaccinations and veterinary exam. Keepers perform quick health checks and weigh-ins regularly to ensure that the pups are healthy and comfortable in the presence of keepers.
As with all Meerkat young, the yet-to-be named pups are developing very quickly. Despite only weighing less than an ounce at birth, they now weigh more than a quarter of a pound.
Meerkats are native to southern Africa, where they inhabit arid locales such as the Kalahari and Namib Deserts. Living in clans of about 20 individuals, Meerkats construct large networks of underground burrows. Aside from acting as sentries, they exhibit other social behaviors such as babysitting and protecting young of other group members. Meerkats are not under significant threat and are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Djamila, the Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig, hit lucky number 7 with the birth of her litter. The piglets arrived January 27 at Tierpark Berlin.
The farrow has been happily confined to their stable, where it is warm and cozy. Except for the occasional squeak or wriggle, the piglets are content to stay close to mom, for now.
Photo Credits: Tierpark Berlin
Djamila is a ‘native’ Berliner and was born at the Zoo in 2011. The Tierpark Berlin introduced this dwarf breed to Europe in 1958.
The Pot-bellied Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) is a domesticated pig originating in Vietnam. Considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, adults can weigh about 43 to 136 kg (100 to 300 lb).
Pot-bellied Pigs are considered fully-grown by six years of age, when the epiphyseal plates in the long bones of the legs finally close.
Because Pot-bellied Pigs are the same species as ordinary farmyard pigs and wild boars, they are capable of interbreeding. However, a 2004 study revealed extreme genetic diversity in indigenous Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs. They were also genetically different from each other according to location of origin in Vietnam.
A Red-flanked Duiker was born the end of January, at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The diminutive bovid was recently photographed enjoying the California sun.
The Red-flanked Duiker (Cephalophus rufilatus) is a species of small antelope found in western and central Africa. They grow to almost 15 in (35 cm) in height and weigh up to 31 lb (14 kg). Their coats are russet, with greyish-black legs and backs, and white underbellies.
Red-flanked Duiker feed on leaves, fallen fruits, seeds and flowers, and sometimes twigs and shoots. The adults are territorial, living in savannah and lightly wooded habitats.
The females usually produce a single offspring each year. Breeding and births tend to occur year round as young animals have been seen during the wet and dry season. Gestation is about five-and-a-half months. Duikers are considered precocial but are concealed in vegetation by their mother for several weeks after birth. They are sexually mature when they are about one year old, but probably do not breed until later. Lifespan in captivity is up to 10 years.
Adult males and females are, in general, similar in appearance, but males have short backward-pointing horns up to 9 cm (3.5 in) long. Females are often hornless, or may have shorter horns. Both males and females have large preorbital glands on their snout in front of their eyes, which form bulges in their cheeks. These are common to all members of the genus Cephalophus but they are larger in the Red-flanked Duiker than in other species.
The Red-flanked Duiker is an adaptable species. The removal of trees by logging and the conversion of its natural habitat into more open savannah and farmland have allowed it to increase its range. It is fairly common in the areas in which it is found, though numbers are decreasing, in general, due to severe hunting pressure.
The Red-flanked Duiker was one of the four most frequent species of bushmeat on sale in the Republic of Guinea, along with Maxwell's Duiker (Cephalophus maxwelli), the Greater Cane Rat (Thryonomys swinderianus), and the Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus).
A unique Tuatara has hatched at Chester Zoo. It is a species believed to have pre-dated the dinosaurs, having been on the planet more than 225 million years.
This is also the first ever breeding of Tuatara outside of their native New Zealand!
The egg from which the youngster hatched was laid on April 11, 2015, and it hatched on December 5. The rare newcomer arrived weighing 4.21 grams.
Reptile experts at the zoo have described the hatching as an “amazing event” after dedicating several decades to the project.
Keeper Isolde McGeorge has taken care of the species at Chester Zoo since 1977. “Breeding Tuatara is an incredible achievement,” said Isolde. “They are notoriously difficult to breed and it’s probably fair to say that I know that better than most, as it has taken me 38 years to get here. It has taken lots of hard work, lots of stressful moments and lots of tweaking of the conditions in which we keep the animals along the way but it has all been very much worth it.”
“This animal has been on the planet for over a quarter of a billion years and to be the first zoo to ever breed them, outside of their homeland in New Zealand, is undoubtedly an amazing event. It’s one of the most momentous events for the reptile team at the zoo since we discovered Komodo dragons are capable of virgin births, in 2006,” Isolde continued.
Photo Credits: Chester Zoo
The new arrival is the offspring of mother Mustard and father Pixie. A Māori Chief accompanied the duo, along with four other females, when they ceremoniously arrived in Chester from Wellington Zoo in 1994.
Isolde added, “When you’ve worked with Tuatara for as long as I have you come to realize that they don’t do anything in a hurry. Their metabolism is incredibly slow - they take only five breaths and just six to eight heartbeats per minute, and they only reproduce every four years, with their eggs taking a year to hatch.”
“We’ve waited a very, very long time --- 12 years with this particular pairing. The night before it hatched, I spotted two beads of sweat on the egg. I had a feeling something incredible was about to happen, so I raced in early the next day and there she was. Immediately I broke down in tears; I was completely overwhelmed by what we had achieved. Now that we have all of the key factors in place, the challenge is to repeat our success and to do it again and again.”
The Maryland Zoo, in Baltimore, recently welcomed a male Lesser Kudu on December 18, 2015…the first Lesser Kudu to be born at the Zoo!
The Zoo also welcomed two more members of the genus Tragelaphus, female Sitatunga calves born on December 7 and Christmas Day, 2015. The girls are the third and fourth Sitatunga calves born this season at the Zoo, joining males Riri and Carl (born in April and June respectively).
Photo Credits: The Maryland Zoo / Images 1,2,5,6 : Lesser Kudu / Images 3 and 4 : Sitatunga
The first of the female Sitatunga calves was born to two-year-old Remy and has been named Jess by zookeepers. She currently weighs approximately 21 pounds. The second female calf, named Noel, weighed almost 15 pounds at her last health check. Her mother is two-year-old Mousse. Eight-year-old Lou sired both girls.
“Both calves are healthy and are being well cared for by their mothers, inside the warmth of the Africa Barn,” stated Carey Ricciardone, Mammal Collection and Conservation Manager at the Zoo. “As a first time dam, Mousse is very protective of Noel, but Remy is a much more relaxed mother.”
Both calves will remain behind the scenes in the barn until warm weather returns.
The male Lesser Kudu calf, Kaiser, was born to two-year-old Meringue and sired by five-year-old Ritter. “This little guy has long, spindly legs and huge ears right now; he’s adorable,” continued Ricciardone. “Meringue is taking great care of him and we are pleased with his progress so far.”
Kaiser stands about three-feet-tall and weighs in at 26 pounds. He will also remain off exhibit with his mother until spring.
A tiny male Eastern Black-and-white Colobus Monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo's Primate House on January 10. The little one was given the name Ziggy as a nod to rock star David Bowie who passed away on the day the infant was born.
Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their faces and half of their tails. Adults have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their backs. Infants will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.
Photo Credits: Saint Louis Zoo Primate Keeper Ethan Riepl
Mom Cecelia (age 16) is the dominant female in the group, and she is an experienced mother who is taking great care of her newborn and 1-year-old Simon. Her 3-year-old daughter Kivuli is an eager "babysitter." Also in the family is 28-year-old matriarch Roberta, mother to 3-1/2-year-old daughter Pili, and 2-year-old daughter Binti. Nine-year-old father Kima watches proudly over the family.
"Everyone in the Colobus Monkey family has a role in caring for newborns," says Joe Knobbe, Zoological Manager of Primates at the Saint Louis Zoo. "Cecelia allows the young females some time with the infant, holding or even carrying him. They are learning important skills that will help them become great mothers, too, someday."
The family can be seen at the Zoo’s Primate House. Visitors can see the infant poking his head out to look at his new world.
The Eastern Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (Colobus guereza) is found throughout the forests of east and central Africa.
Colobus Monkeys grow to a max weight of about 15-30 pounds and a length of about 30 inches. They are strictly leaf-eaters and spend most of their time in treetops. They live in troops of about five to ten with a single dominant male and several females with young.
Gestation for the Colobus is about six months. There is no distinct breeding season, and females will typically give birth every 20 months. The entire troop may play a part in caring for the newborn. He will cling to the mother, or others allowed to care for him, for the first seven months of life. After that time, he will begin to play more with other juveniles.
The Colobus Monkey is currently classified as “Least Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. At one time the monkey was hunted for its beautiful fur for use in making dance costumes, capes, and hats. Today, their biggest threat is habitat encroachment by humans for the development of agriculture, housing and roads.
The birth at the Saint Louis Zoo is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program created to manage a genetically healthy population of Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys in North American zoos.
Sporting her fluffy-soft baby fur, Kasema the Zebra foal galloped in the winter sun during her debut at the Berlin Zoo.
Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin
As Kasema followed her mother Bella’s every move around the exhibit, she displayed a mix of elegance and stumbling, exuberance and caution that is unique to young animals.
Born on January 5, Kasema still has the brownish-striped, fluffy coat of a foal. As she grows, she will gradually gain the black-and-white stripes of an adult. Like all foals, she stays close to her mother for protection.
Kasema and Bella are Grant’s Zebras, also known as Boehm’s Zebras. They the most common of the six subspecies of Plains Zebra, which are all found in sub-Saharan Africa. In the wild, they live in small groups called harems, made up of one stallion and up to six mares and their foals. For now, Grant’s Zebras are widespread and not under significant threat.
Can you name a baby that was taller than an NBA point guard at birth? We can - this male Giraffe calf born at the Indianapolis Zoo on January 9.
Photo Credit: Carla Knapp/Indianapolis Zoo
The calf is the zoo’s first baby of 2016 and stood six feet tall at birth and weighed 158 pounds. The calf has not yet been named, but the zoo plans to hold a naming contest for the newborn soon. This is the sixth calf — all of which were males — for 18-year-old mother Takasa. Like all Giraffes, Takasa gave birth standing up. The calf stood and nursed by the time he was one hour old.
Zoo keepers said the calf likes to explore his surroundings, but rarely ventures far from his mother. He is the first calf for the zoo’s bull Giraffe, Majani. Keepers note that the calf’s coloration is very similar to Majani’s, with pale, caramel-colored spots in contrast with Takasa’s cinnamon-colored spots.
The tallest land mammals on the planet, Giraffes are under threat from shrinking wild lands and armed conflicts in their native sub-Saharan Africa.
The Zoo’s Giraffe herd will remain in a heated indoor facility throughout the winter. The new family is expected to make its debut in the spring, and at that time, guests will have an opportunity to meet the new calf.
On January 15, a Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra gave birth to her first foal -- and the first of her species at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The yet-to-be-named newborn is the second successful zebra foal born at the Zoo in as many months, following the birth of a female Grevy’s Zebra foal this past November 23, 2015.
“We are delighted with this successful birth, a first for Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. With this foal, the Zoo has now contributed to the managed population of both zebra species in our conservation programs,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, Chief Zoological Officer, Senior Vice President, and Zoo Director.
Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson/Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Equid Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), which includes the three main species of zebra: Grevy’s, Mountain and Plains. The program is designed to support conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction.
The Zoo is currently home to three Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras: mare--Roxie, sire--Rex, and the newborn female. In keeping with a natural herd structure, mother and baby joined the male on exhibit within a few days and were reunited shortly thereafter with the bachelor herd of giraffes that share their African habitat.