Lion Cub 'Roars' His Way Into Zoo’s Heart

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Recently, Fresno Chaffee Zoo excitedly announced the birth of an African Lion cub. The male cub was born October 11 to mom, Kiki, and dad, Chisulo.

“We are very happy to have a healthy cub. Kiki is an experienced mom and is taking great care of the cub,” stated Nicole Presley, Curator.

The little cub will bond with his mother, off-exhibit, for 8 to 12 weeks in their den. Once the cub has matured, he will join the rest of the Zoo’s small pride on-exhibit.

“Weather permitting, the cub will be on-exhibit in 8-12 weeks. Since that will be wintertime, everyone may have to wait a bit longer to see the cub.” Presley said, “We know how excited our guests are to see the new cub so in the next week, we will have video of Kiki and her new cub in the lion viewing area by the land rover.”

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4_11_16_16 cub_033_logoPhoto Credits: Fresno Chaffee Zoo

In order for the new cub and its mom to bond, only limited animal staff will be allowed in the Lion house for the care of the Lions. Keepers have placed a TV monitor in the Lion viewing area, so Zoo guests can get a sneak peak of mom and baby behind the scenes. The Zoo will also provide pictures and video, via social media, throughout the weeks the family is off-exhibit.

The Zoo recently held a naming contest for the new little guy. The event was completed November 27, and staff are expected to make a formal announcement of the winning name, via social media, very soon. The naming contest was not only a fun way for visitors to be involved, it was also a chance for the Zoo to raise money for an important cause. Votes were cast by the purchase of one-dollar tokens. All of the money collected from the promotion will be donated to the Ruaha Carnivore Project, which focuses on developing conservation strategies for large carnivores in Tanzania. (For more information about the Ruaha Carnivore Project, visit www.ruahacarnivoreproject.com ).

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Baby Rhino Snuggles With Mom at The Wilds

Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 0012 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
A Greater One-horned Rhino – a species that nearly went extinct in the 20th century – was born at the Wilds conservation center on November 11. This is the seventh Greater One-horned Rhino to be born at the Wilds

The calf and his mom, Sanya, are doing well and have been bonding in the barn on the Wilds property. The animal care team has been monitoring the pair closely, but has not needed to provide any immediate assistance to the experienced mother. Calves usually weigh more than 100 pounds at birth and gain a few pounds every day. An adult Greater One-horned Rhino can weigh 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.   

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Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 9983 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit:  Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium



“Rhino conservation has come a long way in the past 100 years, but there is still work to be done,” said Daniel Beetem, director of animal management at the Wilds. “Rhinos continue to be poached for the misconception that their horns have medicinal value, when the horns are the chemical equivalent of human fingernails. Rhinos also face the imminent danger of declining habitat quality. We are proud to help keep this incredible species alive through our breeding program at the Wilds.”   

Sanya, born in Toronto in 1999, has now given birth to four calves since arriving at the Wilds in 2004. The father, Rustum, was born at a zoo in India and imported to the United States in 2007 to bring genetic diversity to the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This newborn is Rustum’s fifth offspring. 

The Wilds, home to four Greater One-horned Rhinos, is one of only 26 facilities in North America to care for this species. The Wilds is also home to 13 southern white Rhinos. In total, more than 500 animals representing 29 species from around the world make up the animal population at the open-range, natural landscape at the Wilds.  

Once listed as an endangered species, the Greater One-horned Rhino have seen a steady population increase thanks to strict government protection. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there were only 600 individuals surviving in their native ranges of India and Nepal by 1975. Since then, researchers estimate the population has grown to exceed 3,000 Greater One-horned Rhinos living in these areas.  

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Newborn Babirusa Caught on Camera

Babirusa piglet and mum Kendari (11)

Hidden cameras show a rare newborn Babirusa piglet snuggling with and nursing from its mother at the Chester Zoo in the video below.  Babirusas are one of the rarest pig species in the world.

The tiny male piglet, named Bukaan, was born to Kendari, age four, following a five-month-long pregnancy.  They have spent several months bonding behind the scenes and have only recently been released into their habitat.

Babirusa piglet and mum Kendari (7)
Babirusa piglet and mum Kendari (5)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo



Babirusas live on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi where their numbers have plummeted to an estimated 5,000 individuals. The species was once common, but hunting for their meat and destruction of their habitat led to their disappearance from some areas of Sulawesi. 

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the zoo, said, “When Kendari’s new piglet grows up he will sport a face full of twisted tusks, a large wet snout, warts and will be almost completely hairless, just like his dad, Sausu. But looks aren’t everything! This species is incredibly special and he’s ever such as important new arrival.  Babirusas are under huge pressure in Sulawesi. They’re vulnerable to extinction and Kendari’s latest piglet is a significant addition to the world’s population.” 

Zoos serve an increasingly important role as species are put at risk in the wild.  Only a handful of zoos worldwide have successfully bred Babirusas, and the offspring will play a key role in the long term conservation of the species.  Chester Zoo also supports efforts in Indonesia to preserve these rare animals.

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First Echidna Puggles in 29 Years for Taronga Zoo

 Puggles (14)_Photo by Paul Fahy

Taronga Zoo is celebrating its first successful Short-beaked Echidna births in 29 years, with keepers monitoring the progress of three healthy Echidna babies born to three different mothers.

The puggles, as baby Echidnas are called, have just opened their eyes and begun to develop their characteristic spines in the safety and warmth of their nursery burrows in Taronga’s new Echidna breeding facility.

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Puggles (7)_Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credit:  Paul Fahy
Echidnas are notoriously difficult to breed in human care, but keepers are pleased with the progress of the tiny trio and first-time mothers, Ganyi, Spike, and Pitpa.

Echidnas are one of only two Australian mammals that lay eggs (the other is the Platypus). The puggle hatches after 10 days and is carried around by its mother in a pouch-like skin fold for up to two months. Once the puggle starts to develop spines it is deposited in a specially-constructed nursery burrow and the mother returns to feed it every 3-6 days.

“All three mothers are doing an amazing job and tending to their puggles as needed. We have one mum, Spike, who is so attentive that she returns to feed her baby every second day,” said zoo keeper Suzie Lemon.

The three puggles all hatched in August. The youngest was born to mother Pitpa, who was the last Echidna born at Taronga in 1987.

“A great deal of mystery still surrounds this spiny species. Echidnas are quite elusive in the wild, so it’s hard to study their natural breeding behaviors,” said Suzie.

Suzie said the sudden success of Taronga’s Echidna breeding program could be attributed to the newly completed breeding facility, which was designed after extensive research and consultation with other zoos and wildlife parks. The facility includes insulated nest boxes to ensure the puggles remain warm and safe as they develop.

“A day in the puggle world consists of lots of sleeping. They can be buried up to 30cm deep in their burrow, so they’ll just sleep and use all their energy to grow and develop,” said Suzie.

Keepers have begun to weigh the puggles every three days to monitor their body condition and general development. The heaviest of the trio weighs over 500 grams, while the youngest weighs about 250 grams.

“This is a big step forward for Taronga. By monitoring the puggles so closely we’ve now got a good broad understanding of their growth cycle and development,” said Suzie.

Keepers have yet to choose names or determine the sexes of the three puggles, which won’t start to explore outside their burrows until early next year.

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Baby Jaguar Attacks Pumpkins

Babette_AGBabette the baby Jaguar met her first pumpkin this week – and the event was caught on camera by Tulsa Zoo staff.

Babette has been practicing her big-cat skills (as seen in this recent ZooBorns post) and she put those formidable talents to use attacking two large pumpkins delivered by zoo keepers.   The mighty little Jaguar bit, pounced, swatted and successfully subdued the large orange vegetables.

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Babette_ag3Photo Credit:  Aaron Goodwin
Video Credit:  Beth Wegner
Why did zoo keepers give pumpkins to the Jaguars, which eat only meat?  The pumpkins served as enrichment for the cats.  Zoos provide novel items like new foods, scents, boxes, and “toys” as enrichment to stimulate animals physically and mentally. 

As a cub, Babette is naturally curious and energetic.  She has become a fan favorite since her birth was announced in September when she was about six weeks old.  Born June 29 to female Ixchel, Babette was named after her father Bebeto, who died of age-related complications in April. 

Babette will play an important role in the future of her species by someday breeding with an unrelated male as part of the Species Survival Plan managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Jaguars are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the loss of rain forest habitat in Mexico, Central America, and South America. 


BIOPARC’s New Gorilla Given Special Name

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The Western Lowland Gorilla, born August 18 at BIOPARC Valencia, was recently given a name. The zoo excitedly revealed that the little female’s name would be one that honored and gave recognition to a special place…Virunga.

Formerly known as Albert National Park, Virunga National Park is located in the eastern boundary of the Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Uganda and Rwanda, from the mountains of the same name to the Ruwenzori Mountains. This beautiful wilderness first became a National Park in 1925 and is the most biologically diverse protected area in Africa. With an area of 7,800 square kilometers (equivalent to the province of Barcelona, Spain), treasured habitats as diverse as rainforests, savannah, lava plains, swamps, glaciers and active volcanoes make up the park.

This park is home to the Mountain Gorillas, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in 1979 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. The park is also included on the list of World Heritage sites that are in danger.

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3_NOVIEMBRE 2016 La gorila Nalani y su bebé llamada VIRUNGA - cumple 3 meses en BIOPARC Valencia

4_La bebé gorila VIRUNGA junto a su padre MAMBIE en BIOPARC Valencia - noviembre 2016Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

Virunga National Park is also popularly known for the movie "Gorillas in the Mist", which focused on the scientific and conservation work with Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), in the Virunga Mountains, done by American zoologist Dian Fossey.

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Orphaned Pumas Find Home at Minnesota Zoo

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The Minnesota Zoo recently welcomed two orphaned Puma kittens to Apple Valley, MN.

The brother-sister pair was found in late October just outside the Port Angeles, Washington area by a local resident and rescued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife before making the journey to Minnesota. Based on the kittens’ condition, officials were confident their steps at intervention were needed and that the mother was not returning to care for the pair.

“We are happy to provide these kittens with an excellent home to thrive here at the Minnesota Zoo,” says Tropics and Minnesota Trail Curator, Tom Ness. “These kittens are a great addition and we look forward to introducing them to our guests once they are healthy and strong enough for their habitat along the Minnesota Trail.”

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4_Puma Kitten_3Photo Credits: John Oakes/ Minnesota Zoo

The male kittens weighed in at 13 pounds when he arrived, while the female was 11 pounds. Both kittens have grown considerably since their arrival and are currently behind the scenes for a mandatory quarantine period, where they are receiving constant care from the Zoo’s veterinary team before making their public debut along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail sometime later this year. The Medtronic Minnesota Trail is also home to several other rescued animals such as: three black bears, five gray wolves, a bald eagle, a porcupine and more.

Puma is a genus in Felidae (Felis concolor). Probably due to their wide range across North and South America, Pumas have multiple names they are known by, including Cougar and Mountain Lion.

Pumas can run up to 43 mph, jump more than 20 feet from standing, and leap up to 16 feet straight up.

Although they can make a wide range of cat noises (hisses, growls, purrs), Pumas cannot roar. Instead, they are known for their distinctive “scream-like” calls during mating, but are often extremely stealthy and go unheard.

Although they have been pushed into smaller habitats by human settlement expansion, members of this genus have been formally classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Their success in the wild, thus far, is due to their adaptation to changing habitat conditions.


New Generation of Lesser Kudu at Zoo Basel

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The Lesser Kudu herd at Zoo Basel welcomed a new calf. The young male was born October 29 to mom, Cony. 

Keepers report that the little Kudu, named Namib, was standing within an hour of birth. Mom and calf have been bonding in the safety and warmth of their barn. Mom’s wild instinct is to keep her calf hidden from danger in a sheltered place, and the zoo’s barn allows her to act on these inclinations. After a few days, when the young calf is strong enough, mom will lead him to join the rest of the herd.

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4_kleiner_kudu_namib_ZOB4542Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

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PUPDATE: First Medical Exam for Litter of 10 Painted Dogs

Painteddogphysical3771Audubon Zoo's 10 newborn African Painted Dogs had their first doctor's visit last week and passed with flying colors.

Examining 10 pups is a big job, but veterinary staff and zoo keepers conducted the exam in just one hour, moving quickly to return the pups to their parents.

The exam, conducted inside the pups’ habitat, revealed for the first time the gender breakdown of the litter: five females and five males.

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Painteddogphysical3965Photo Credit:  Audubon Zoo

The pups received vaccinations along with eye, ear, and heart exams. They were weighed and photographed from multiple angles to assist animal care staff with visual identification.  The vets also inserted transponder microchips under the skin of the neck between the shoulders of each pup - identical to the procedure used for domestic pets.

The chips can be scanned whenever the animal is in hand to determine its identity. This will be especially important when a Dog moves on to another zoo to join or develop packs as they would in the wild.

Born on September 11, the pups’ birth is a first for the Audubon Zoo and a significant development for the highly endangered species.

ZooBorns first reported on the pups when they were released into their habitat after spending the first weeks of their lives in the den with their mother.

The pups will get two more sets of vaccinations over the next two months. Now that the sex of each Dog has been determined, zoo staff will name them in the near future.

The newborns are the offspring of first-time parents Sienna, 4, and Pax, 9. Only a handful of accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has bred Painted Dogs, one of the most endangered carnivores on the African continent.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Rescued Manatees 'Millennium' & 'Falcon' Land in Columbus

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Twin Manatees orphaned after their mother suffered fatal boat-related injuries arrived at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium this month as part of the zoo’s Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership.

Weighing about 100 pounds each, the twin calves were rescued from Florida waters earlier this year.  Twins are extremely rare among Manatees, making up about one to four percent of births.  The pair have been named Millennium and Falcon.

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Manatees 9077 (Falcon) - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit:  Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aqaurium
The twins will join Stubby, a long-time resident of the zoo, and new arrivals Jedi and Junebug.  Manatees are very social animals and keepers expect the five to get along well. 

Most of the orphaned Manatees taken in by the Columbus Zoo and its partners are released back into the wild once they reach adulthood and are deemed able to survive on their own. 

Manatees give birth to live young and nurse their babies just like humans and other mammals.  Adults typically weigh more than 1,000 pounds.  They feed only on vegetation that grows on the sea floor and move slowly, never leaving the water.  Manatees live in coastal waters, rivers, and inlets, where they may encounter motorboats or become tangled in fishing nets.  They are listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

See more photos of the twins below.

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