Penguin Chick's Name May Stick Like Glue

A Black-footed Penguin chick hatched at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas was named for the glue used to repair its shell, which cracked during incubation.

Photo Credit:  Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Elmer, as keepers are temporarily calling the chick, hatched on August 31 and was reared by zoo keepers behind the scenes – a routine practice that allows the Penguins to become accustomed to daily hand feedings. 

Elmer’s name may not stick, though, because keepers don’t know yet if the chick is male or female.  They’ll determine its gender in a few months. 

Though less than months old, Elmer has grown rapidly, as all Penguins do.  Elmer’s downy feathers will soon begin to fall out in a process called molting, and they’ll be replaced by the sleek gray feathers of a juvenile Black-footed Penguin.  Until those feathers come in and Elmer is able to swim, the young Penguin is segregated from the rest of the flock and most importantly, the exhibit pool. For now, Elmer can see the Penguin flock through a Plexiglas partition.

To maximize genetic diversity among zoo-dwelling birds, Black-footed Penguins are managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan.  Elmer is the second chick for parents Millicent and Puddles.  

Native to southern Africa, Black-footed Penguins are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Populations have decreased dramatically in the last decades as Penguins' prey has been reduced by overfishing, and oil spills have killed thousands of birds.

See more photos of Elmer below.

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Teeny Little Sengis Debut At Chester Zoo

Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (11)

Two tiny, three-month-old Sengis – also known as Round-eared Elephant Shrews – were seen by visitors to the Chester Zoo for the first time this week.

Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (17)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (2)
Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
Weighing just one to two ounces (the same as 10 or 20 pennies), Sengis use their long snouts to sniff out insects to eat.  Food is snapped up with quick flicks of the tongue.

With long hind legs, Sengis move by hopping, similar to Rabbits.  They scurry through grass and brush, and dash to safety at the smallest signs of danger.

Sengis are related to Manatees, Aardvarks, Hyraxes, and Elephants.  Despite their former common name of Elephant Shrew, they are not true Shrews at all.  There are 19 species of Sengis, all native to Africa.  Little is known about Sengis’ habits, because they are so elusive in the wild. 

Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (13)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (14)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (10)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (19)

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‘The Force’ is with Zoo Heidelberg’s New Sloth

1_Heidelberg_baby Chewy and mom Wilma

Fred and Wilma are parents again! The pair of Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloths at Zoo Heidelberg, in Germany, welcomed a male offspring on July 31st.

The Zoo recently sought out a name for the hairy baby, and fans of the Zoo submitted their suggestions via Facebook. As a bit of an homage to the popular Wookie warrior of Star Wars, Chewbacca, the young sloth is now known as “Chewy”!

Chewy and him mom, Wilma, can be seen in the Zoo’s South America Aviary cruising much slower than 'lightspeed', upside down in the trees.

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Photo Credits: Heidrun Knigge (Image 1) ; Zoo Heidelberg (2-4)

The Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus), also known as the Southern Two-toed Sloth or Unau, is a species from South America. They are found in Venezuela, the Guyanas, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil (north of the Amazon).

They are solitary, nocturnal and arboreal—preferring to reside in rainforests. This species of sloth can swim, which enables them to cross rivers and creeks with some ease.

They cannot walk (they pull hand-over-hand to maneuver) and therefore spend most of their lives hanging upside down in trees. Their fur grows greenish algae to camouflage them in their surroundings. Their body temperature depends partially on ambient temperature; they cannot shiver to keep warm, due to their unusually low metabolic rate.

The Two-toed Sloth eats primarily leaves, but will also feed on shoots, fruits, nuts, berries, bark, flowers, and an occasional rodent.

They have a gestation period of about 10 months. They mother will give birth hanging upside down. The young are born with claws and are weaned after about a month. They remain with the mother for several more months, and do not reach sexual maturity until the age of three.

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their main enemies are large birds of prey (harpy, crested eagle) and wild cats (ocelot, jaguar).

Dale the Takin Reunited with Mom at Cincinnati Zoo


A four-month-old Takin, named Dale, recently had a big day at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. He went on exhibit for the first time with his mom, Sally. 



4_CincinnatiZoo_TakinPhoto Credits: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens (Images 1-5,7); DJJam (Images 6,8,9) 

Soon after his birth, Dale was pulled to be hand raised in the Zoo’s nursery. Sally, a first time Mom, wasn't caring for him. Keepers intervened and turned to another method to assist in Dale’s care. Blakely, the Cincinnati Zoo’s resident nursery dog and part-time nanny, was called into action to do what he does best, snuggle and play. His new companion was, then 3-week-old, Dale.

Nursery keepers gave Dale a bottle every three hours from 6am to midnight, and Blakely provided socialization and taught certain behaviors through play.

Blakely has, in the past, provided this same service for a Cheetah, an Ocelot, Bat-eared Foxes, an Aardvark, a Warthog and brother Wallabies. Dale remained in the nursery with Blakely, until recently when he was reintroduced to his mother.

Not only is Sally (born at the Zoo in 2009) a first-time mom, but this is also a first for Dale’s dad, Harry. Dale’s arrival marked the Cincinnati Zoo’s seventh live Takin birth. The Cincinnati Zoo is one of only 17 institutions in the U.S. that houses Takins.

Sally and Dale are getting along remarkably well and making up for lost time. Dale and his mom can now be seen together in the Zoo’s Wildlife Canyon exhibit.

The Takin (Budorcas taxicolor), also called Cattle Chamois or Gnu Goat, are large muscular hoofed mammals that reside in mountainous bamboo forests. Native to the Himalayas and Western China, they weigh anywhere between 550 and 770 pounds, and have a height range between 3 and 4 feet. Both males and females have unique horns that curve backwards and outwards, and range between 10 and 12 inches in length.

Takins generally live for 12 to 15 years and have a diet of grasses, leaves, buds, and shoots. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, using their split hooves to move easily over the rocky terrain.

Gestation lasts about seven months and young weigh about 15 lbs. (7 kg), at birth. Takin kids are much darker in color than adults, as camouflage from predators. They are born with a dark stripe along the back that disappears as they age. Their coat gets lighter in color, longer, and shaggier as they mature. Takin kids eat solid food and stop nursing at around two months of age, but they continue to stay near mom until her next calf is born. Horns begin to grow when the kid is about six-months-old.

Takin are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their main predators are bears and wolves, which they ward off with low roars and bellows.

Continue reading "Dale the Takin Reunited with Mom at Cincinnati Zoo" »

Nyala Newcomer at Wellington Zoo


A Nyala calf was born at Wellington Zoo, in New Zealand, at the end of October. The lovely newcomer joins older brother, Basie, who was born earlier in the year on Valentine’s Day.



4_NyalaCalf_WellingtonZooPhoto Credits: Wellington Zoo

Keepers are giving the calf and mother time to bond, so it will be a few weeks before the sex of the newborn is known.

The Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii), also known as Inyala, is a spiral horned, mid-sized antelope native to southern Africa.

Adult males stand at 43 inches (110 cm) and females at 3 ft. (90 cm). Males can weigh up to 276 lbs. (125 kg) and females up to 150 lbs. (68 kg).

Their coat is a rusty brown color in females and juveniles, but adult males develop a darker brown or slate grey coloring. Females and young males have ten or more white vertical stripes on their sides.

Only the males have horns, and the horns typically grown to 33 inches (83 cm) in length. There are only one or two twists in the horns. They Nyala have hairy glands on their feet, which leave a scent wherever they walk.

The Nyala breed throughout the year, with mating peaks in spring and autumn. Gestation lasts about seven months, and typically, a single calf is born. Newborns weigh about 11 lbs. (5 kg). Mothers will hide their calves for the first several weeks and nurse regularly.  The calf will remain with the mother until the birth of the next offspring.

The Nyala is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, but major threats to the population are hunting, habitat loss, agriculture and cattle grazing. Today, over 80% of the total population is protected in national parks and sanctuaries, mostly in South Africa.

There are currently eight Nyala in residence at Wellington Zoo, and they are part of a regional breeding programme, in New Zealand, for the beautiful animals.

Rothschild Giraffe Born at Dublin Zoo

1_DublinZoo_RothschildCalfDublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a male Rothschild Giraffe. The calf was born October 25th and stands tall at 1.5 meters (5 feet) and weighs an estimated 45 kg (99 lbs.).

The giraffe calf made his first outside appearance in the Dublin Zoo’s African Savanna at four-days-old. He joins a herd of eight Rothschild Giraffes at Dublin Zoo.



4_DublinZoo_RothschildCalfPhoto Credits: Dublin Zoo

Team leader at Dublin Zoo, Helen Clarke-Bennett said, “The calf was born in the giraffe house with the other female members of the herd present. The team watched the birth unfold on our closed circuit cameras. The birth took over an hour and we noticed that the herd was very attentive each step of the way. We’re very excited about this addition to the Dublin Zoo herd.”

The Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also known as the Baringo Giraffe, is one of the most threatened of the nine sub-species of giraffe. It is named after the Tring Museum’s founder, Walter Rothschild.

All individuals living in the wild are in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda. The Rothschild Giraffe is at risk of hybridization and is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

The Rothschild Giraffe is distinguishable from other subspecies because of its coloring. Where as the Reticulated Giraffe has very defined dark patches with bright channels between, the Rothschild has paler, orange-brown patches that are less defined. Also, the Rothschild has no markings on the lower leg.

This subspecies mate any time of year and have a gestation period of 14 to 16 months, typically giving birth to a single calf. They prefer to live in small herds, with adult males and females only mixing for mating. Males are larger than females and tend to be darker in color.

Continue reading "Rothschild Giraffe Born at Dublin Zoo" »

Meet Shedd Aquarium’s Latest Rescue ‘Pup’

1_Peach D75Q2320Meet Peach-- a 10-month-old Dachshund/Terrier mix that was born in the southern United States. Found tied to a dumpster and bearing the marks of neglect (as evidenced by the scar running the length of her back), she was placed in a nearby high-kill shelter.

Through the help of volunteers, Peach eventually found her way to The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, Illinois. Once in the Chicago area, more good fortune was provided for the friendly dog. Officials at The Anti-Cruelty Society thought she was an excellent candidate for a special rescue and rehabilitation program at Shedd Aquarium

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4_Peach D75Q2309Photo Credits: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez ; Video footage: Sam CejtinPeach is currently being integrated into Shedd Aquarium’s dog program. The focus for now is getting her acclimated to her new home and building a positive and trusting relationship with her trainers. As with all other animals, she will make progress in her training as her comfort level allows. Shedd’s animal care staff is confident that she will make a smooth transition to her new home. She is young and her socialization will begin immediately – both with trainers and other dogs.  

Since her arrival at Shedd Aquarium, Peach has been nothing but very sweet. She is already open to interacting with people, and she is very playful with the other dogs at the aquarium. According to Shedd tradition, Peach was named after a character in the popular animated feature, Finding Nemo.

Peach currently weighs a healthy 20 pounds, and she has a short black coat with a large white spot on her chest.

She is the seventh dog to be adopted by Shedd Aquarium from a Chicago-area shelter, since 2013, and one of four dogs currently at the aquarium; two other animals have since been adopted into loving homes. These animals connect guests to living world, highlighting the “Shedd Way” of training through positive reinforcement and demonstrating how individuals can build strong relationships with the animals in their lives.

Peach may eventually be included in the aquarium’s “One World” show, which focuses on the interconnectivity of the living world and the impact we have on our shared environments.

Just as Shedd rescues endangered Sea Otters, Rock Iguanas, Corals and other threatened species, guests can make a difference for animals by adopting pets from shelters. Each year, 3 million unwanted dogs just like Peach (and Shedd’s other rescue dogs: Marlin, Dory and Kobe) are euthanized; nearly 90 percent of those deaths could be avoided with the right training. Shedd Aquarium’s dogs are examples of the potentially great companions that are just waiting for the right owners at animal shelters around the country.

Continue reading "Meet Shedd Aquarium’s Latest Rescue ‘Pup’" »

Baby Gibbon A First For Indianapolis Zoo

Gibbon baby-Carla Knapp

A baby White-handed Gibbon born at the Indianapolis Zoo on October 23 is the first offspring for its parents and the first Gibbon ever born at the zoo!Gibbon baby2-Carla Knapp

Koko and baby-Carla Knapp
Koko and baby2-Carla KnappPhoto Credit:  Carla Knapp

Zoo keepers do not yet know the gender of the little Gibbon, because for the first several weeks the baby clings tightly to mom’s belly.  These gripping skills are important, because mom uses both arms to swing through the trees in a fluid motion called brachiation.  That means it’s up to the baby to hang on by gripping mom’s fur.  Mom helps a bit by holding her legs up to create a supportive “seat” for the baby.

Though this is the first baby for female Koko and her mate Elliot, both are doing a great job caring for their infant.  White-handed Gibbons’ fur colors include tan, brown, and black.  The baby takes after Koko and has black fur.

Native to Southeast Asia, Gibbons are known for their elaborate vocalizations, which mated pairs engage in daily as a way to reinforce their bond.  These Apes also sing to announce their territories to other Gibbons.  As it grows, the baby Gibbon will join its parents’ song.

White-handed Gibbons are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to illegal hunting and habitat loss from forest clearing for agriculture and the construction of non-sustainable palm oil plantations.


UPDATE: Giant Panda Cubs Triple Their Weight


Twin Giant Panda cubs born on October 13 at the Toronto Zoo have tripled their weights but are still in a critical period of their infancy.

12194619_918029888233457_4091861711405412373_oPhoto Credit:  Toronto Zoo

You first met the cubs on ZooBorns a few weeks after their birth. Their mother, Er Shun, has been providing excellent care, but zoo keepers help her by ‘twin-swapping’ – one baby stays with Er Shun while the other is moved to an incubator every few hours.  This allows each infant to be nursed and cared for by Er Shun equally.

The cubs weighed 187 and 115 grams at birth.  At 21 days old, the cubs’ weights had increased to 672 and 422 grams.  In addition, they had each grown six centimeters in length.

If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the cubs’ black-and-white markings beginning to appear as their fur comes in  On their tiny paws, you can see grooves developing on their pseudo thumb pads – these grooves will enable them to hold bamboo when they get much older.

Giant Pandas live in only a few mountain ranges in central China, usually at elevations between 5,000 – 10,000 feet.  In these cool, misty forests, Giant Pandas forage for bamboo, which comprises 99% of their diet, about 10 to 16 hours a day. 

Only about 1,600 Giant Pandas remain in the wild.  About 300 live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China.  Giant Pandas are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Reluctant Red Panda Gets the Perfect Name


Drusillas Park, in East Sussex UK, shared news of the birth of a Red Panda this summer. The female cub was born July 17th and is the third to be born at the zoo since 2013.

Mum has looked after the cub in the safety and privacy of their nest box. Although some have been lucky enough to see mum, Mulan, transporting her cub between nesting houses.


3_DrusillasPark_RedPanda_ShylaPhoto Credits: Tammy Smith (Images 1,2,3) / Drusillas Park (4)

Head Keeper, Mark Kenward commented after the cub’s birth, “The Red Pandas have three separate nest boxes, and Mulan will move the baby from one to another, carrying her by the scruff of the neck, so she benefits from the most suitable environment.”

“Mulan is proving to be an excellent mother once again. For the first two days, she remained with her cub approximately 90% of the time. However, after a few days this dropped to around 60%, which is exactly what we would expect of this species.”

Drusillas Park has given the bashful new Red Panda a befitting name-- Shyla.

For the last four months Shyla has been hiding away within one of the group’s three nest boxes.

Visitors enjoy regular sightings of the panda puff as she pops her head out the hide away hole. However, despite multiple attempts by mum Mulan to encourage her out, the cozy cub cannot be tempted.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented, “Shyla is yet to take those all-important first–steps exploring her enclosure, playing with her sister and meeting our visitors. We have no doubt she will appear in her own good time – her older sister Anmar also took a little while to venture out but you can’t stop her now. Fingers crossed Shyla will follow in her footsteps very soon; I am sure it will be worth the wait.”

The name Shyla was chosen from nearly 200 suggestions, made by followers, on the Drusillas Park Facebook page. Staff thought it a fitting moniker for the ‘peekaboo panda’. 

As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. They give birth to between one and four young at a time, and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.

In the wild, the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

This is the second time Drusillas Park has welcomed Red Panda babies since Mulan’s arrival in 2013. On June 16, 2015, she gave birth to mixed-sex twins, the first of this species to be born at the Zoo throughout their 90 year history.

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