Clouded Leopard Cubs Climb to New Heights

21231255_1427079080661866_5978684021896106567_nToronto Zoo’s four-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs are transitioning to a new play space and zoo guests can now see the sisters during limited times on most days.

Their new den has climbing logs positioned just right for the growing cubs to develop their skills.  Right now, the logs are low (at “toddler” level) but they can be repositioned for more challenging exercise as the cubs grow. Clouded Leopards are extremely agile and can even climb on the underside of tree branches, as one of the cubs demonstrates in the photos.

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21106750_1427079150661859_7101477329161299372_nPhoto Credit: Toronto Zoo

Born May 13, the cubs were first introduced to ZooBorns readers here. They’ve been under human care ever since they were a few days old because their mother did not care for them properly. By the time the two female cubs were two months old, they were thriving, as reported on ZooBorns.

Keepers report that one of the cubs is more adventurous than her sister and is often the first to dive in to new experiences. They often play wrestle together and seem to enjoy ripping apart banana leaves.

Each cub weighs about eight pounds, and they now eat solid foods – nearly a pound per day each!

Clouded Leopards live in the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia, where their numbers are decreasing. About 10,000 Clouded Leopards remain in the wild, but the population is fragmented into groups no larger than 1,000 animals. The forested areas are not large enough to sustain the populations in the long term. Clouded Leopards are poached for the commercial wildlife trade, and body parts are sold on the black market for traditional Asian medicines, which are proven to have no actual health benefits. Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

See more photos below.

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Fossa Pup Explores Its New Home at San Diego Zoo

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A baby Fossa (pronounced FOO-sa) was born this summer at the San Diego Zoo.  Now 12 weeks old, the Fossa pup, its mother and three siblings moved into their new home in the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit last week and wasted no time exploring—jumping over grassy areas, climbing on rocks and playing in trees.

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Weighing 12 to 22 pounds, Fossas are the largest carnivorous mammals on the African island of Madagascar. The classification of Fossas has been vigorously debated for decades. They have been linked to Cats, Civets, and Mongooses based on their physical characteristics and DNA analyses.  Fossas are currently in the family Eupleridae along with other carnivores of Madagascar.

Fossas’ slender bodies, muscular limbs, and long tails enable them to move with dexterity along tree branches. They are active in early morning, late afternoon, and late at night, when they hunt small animals such as Birds, Rodents, and Lemurs. Communication between individuals occurs via scent markings and sounds including purrs, calls, and yelps.      

Little is known about Fossas’ habits because they live in remote areas, and there are only an estimated 2,600 to 8,800 Fossas remaining in the wild. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


It's Not a Cotton Ball - It's a Tawny Frogmouth Chick!

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Is it a cotton ball? A fuzzy marshmallow? No – it’s a five-day-old Tawny Frogmouth chick!

The chick hatched on August 31 at Vogelpark Olching, a bird park near Munich, Germany.  For obvious reasons, the staff decided to name the chick Fluffy. This is the first Tawny Frogmouth chick to hatch at the park.

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21272575_1781307301898482_3827841287168356698_nPhoto Credit: Vogelpark Olching

Vogelpark Olching has kept Tawny Frogmouths for four years, but at first held only male birds. In April, two females arrived to pair with the males. In only three weeks, one of the females began laying eggs.  The first two clutches of eggs were infertile, but from the third clutch, little Fluffy hatched.

Keepers allowed the first-time parents to rear their chick but after a few days, they realized the parents were not caring for the chick properly. Fluffy was moved to an incubator and is being hand-reared by the care team.

Fluffy’s dark feathers are already beginning to come in, and he will soon develop the mottled brown-and-gray coloration of an adult Tawny Frogmouth (see photo below). 

Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia and are named for their wide, frog-like mouths. They feed at night on moths, spiders, worms, beetles, scorpions, frogs, and reptiles. Their coloration and ability to sit motionless provide excellent camouflage, making the birds nearly impossible to detect as they perch in trees. To increase the effect, they often sit with the head tilted upward to mimic a broken tree branch. These birds are often mistaken for owls, but they are not closely related.

Tawny Frogmouths are widespread in Australia and not currently under significant threat.

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The photo above shows an adult Tawny Frogmouth at Vogelpark Olching.

 


Zebra Foal Takes First Steps at Fort Worth Zoo

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On August 25, the Fort Worth Zoo welcomed a male Grant’s Zebra foal to the herd – the first to be born there since 1996!

The foal was born to first-time mom Roxie, and both mom and baby are doing well. He was up and walking shortly after his birth and soon learned to maneuver on his long, wobbly legs.

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Zebra3Photo Credit: Fort Worth Zoo



At birth, the soon-to-be named foal weighed 60 to 70 pounds and stood roughly 30 inches tall.  When fully grown, he will weigh 650 to 750 pounds and measure about 44 inches tall at the shoulder.

The Fort Worth Zoo houses Grant’s Zebras, which are the smallest of the six subspecies of Plains Zebra. Native to Africa’s savannahs, Zebras feature a striking black-and-white-striped coat. Although the black and white lines on a Zebra’s coat are easy for human eyes to spot, it is difficult for Zebras’ predators, such as Lions, to differentiate individual Zebras in a herd. Plus, when a Zebra is standing in tall grass, it can be surprisingly difficult to see. Like human fingerprints, each Zebra's stripe pattern is unique.

Grant’s Zebras feed on grasses and move about in large herds, often mingling with Wildebeest. They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.  Grant's Zebras are the most numerous of all Zebra species or subspecies, but recent wars in their home countries have caused drastic declines in the population.

 


Aquarium Breeds Endangered Frogs to Boost Wild Population

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The Vancouver Aquarium is helping one of the world’s most at-risk amphibians by raising and releasing hundreds of healthy Northern Leopard Frog tadpoles into the wilds of British Columbia, Canada. 

The release is part of the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team’s efforts to restore a species that was once widespread across Canada. Beginning in the 1970s, millions of frogs died, leaving just one small group of Northern Leopard Frogs remaining in western Canada. The Rocky Mountain population of this species is listed as Endangered in Canada.

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2017 Northern Leopard Frog Release_Mark Yuen for Vancouver Aquarium_IMG_1376Photo Credit: Mark Yuen for Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium was the first aquarium to breed the Frogs in captivity as an assurance population in case the wild population completely collapsed. A collaboration with researchers at the University of Ottawa utilizes hormones to induce spawning and mating behavior in the captive frogs.

Each year, tadpoles and young frogs bred at the aquarium are released back into the wild in suitable habitats to reestablish the species. By rearing the young in captivity, a process called “headstarting,” the odds of survival to adulthood are increased. Over the last five years, the aquarium has released thousands of Northern Leopard Frog tadpoles.

Headstarting programs are emerging as an important tool for rebuilding wild animal populations, and zoos and aquariums are perfectly suited for such projects. Zoos and aquariums have the expertise and facilities to care for and breed amphibians such as these frogs.

“We’re beginning to see the impact of our efforts to repopulate B.C.’s most at-risk amphibian, and have found animals that have survived the winter and are being located again year after release,” said Kris Rossing, senior biologist at Vancouver Aquarium. “Frogs are an important indicator species of environmental health. Overall, we’ve seen our conservation efforts make a difference, as we collectively move the needle a little bit every year through this vital program.”

Continue reading "Aquarium Breeds Endangered Frogs to Boost Wild Population" »


Langur Babies Debut at Los Angeles Zoo

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The Los Angeles Zoo welcomed two bright orange male François’ Langur babies this summer. The first born was on June 23 to eight-year-old mother Vicki Vale and the second on July 12 to five-year-old mother Kim-Ly. The infants recently joined their mothers and 19-year-old father Paak in the outdoor habitat, a dense forest filled with tall trees and plenty of branches for climbing and swinging. The babies will eventually be introduced to the rest of the family on exhibit, 26-year-old female Mei-Chi and two-year-old Tao.

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Francois Langur Mom and Baby Photo 3 of 5 by Jamie PhamPhoto Credit: Jamie Pham

“We’re very excited for guests to be able to observe this blended family in their new group dynamic,” said Roxane Losey, Animal Keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “Once the two boys are a little older, they will join their brother Tao and things will probably get a little rough and tumble when they play. These Monkeys are very acrobatic and like to jump and leap from branch to branch.”

The Monkey babies have a long tail, striking eyes, and orange and black fur that will fade to full black over time. François’ Langur infants nurse for close to a year, so they can often be seen in the arms of their mothers. This sometimes proves difficult for mother Vicki Vale who suffered a past injury that left her with limited mobility on her left side. Vicki Vale’s baby has adapted to the unique situation by sometimes hoisting himself onto his mother’s back to leave her hands free when navigating the branches in the habitat. This is not a trait you would find in the wild, as it leaves the baby open to capture by predators or being knocked down by tree branches. 

The babies will also spend time with the other adult female members of the group through a practice called alloparenting. This trait lets young females  gain experience caring for infants and builds bonds within the troop. It also gives mom a break! Sometimes, though, the animals disagree over how to raise the babies or how they interact with each other.

“The whole family will have minor squabbles from time to time, but you will actually see them come to each other and make up, sometimes with a hug,” said Losey. “You won’t see a lot of Monkeys with this hugging behavior, but Francois’ Langurs are a very gentle species.”

Native to southern China and northeastern Vietnam, François’ Langurs feed on shoots, fruits, flowers, and bark collected in the treetops or on the forest floor. François’ Langurs are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List due to deforestation and illegal capture for use in traditional Asian medicines sold on the black market.

See more photos of the baby Langurs below.

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Screaming Hairy Armadillo Pups Are a First For National Zoo

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo welcomed two Screaming Hairy Armadillo pups on August 11. The pups are the first ever born at the zoo.

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The two little ones spend all of their time in the nest, and their eyes have not yet opened. However, the bony, armor-like plates that cover their bodies are already visible, and are covered with very fine hairs. At their last weigh-in, the pups weighed between five and six ounces each. It is still too early to determine if they are male or female.

The pups’ parents, Amber and Dylan Walter, were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Screaming Hairy Armadillo Species Survival Plan. These are the first pups for both parents. Visitors will be able to see the pups at the zoo after they have grown larger and have acclimated to their enclosure.

Screaming Hairy Armadillos are native to South America and are listed as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They get their name from the squealing noise they emit if they are threatened and the greater amount of hair they have compared to other Armadillo species. At less than two pounds fully grown, Screaming Hairy Armadillos are the smallest of the three species of Hairy Armadillos.

 


Confiscated Tiger Cub Finds Refuge at San Diego Safari Park

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A tiny male Bengal Tiger cub that was being smuggled into the United States is receiving care at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The young Tiger was confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers, who discovered the cub while inspecting a vehicle entering the U.S. from Mexico on August 23.

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36739400281_dff0fdaec8_oPhoto Credit: San Diego Safari Park

 

Once the cub was safely at the Safari Park, veterinary staff performed a thorough health exam and determined that he was in good health. “His heart and lungs sound good, his blood work looked great and, since he took a bottle from us, it’s a good sign he’ll continue to thrive,” said Dr. Jim Oosterhuis, principal veterinarian.

“I estimate the cub to be between 5 and 6 weeks old, and he weighs in at a little over 6 pounds,” Dr. Oosterhuis said. “He has teeth coming in, so he’ll be teething in the next week or two—so, animal care staff will have a little chore getting him through that.”

The cub is being cared for in the Safari Park’s nursery, and once his location became known, hundreds of eager fans gathered outside the nursery window hoping to see the tiny Tiger. He is now viewable most of the day, except when he is taking a ‘catnap,’ according to his keepers. The cub receives a bottle six times a day with a special formula made for exotic carnivores and is thriving under the watchful eyes of his care team. He is steadily gaining weight and now weighs more than seven pounds. His teeth are coming in and he’s chewing on everything in sight—stuffed toys, blankets, even his paws.

Guests watching the cub through the nursery window might see keepers using a wet cotton ball to give the cub a bath. This procedure mimics how wild mother Tigers bathe their cubs after feedings.

See more photos of the Tiger cub below.

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Five Adorable Meerkat Pups Emerge at Adelaide Zoo

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Adelaide Zoo recently announced the birth of five incredibly adorable Meerkat pups!

Born in the early hours of the morning on July 24, the month-old pups are the first offspring born to proud parents, Miney and Swazi.

The new arrivals are an exciting addition to the Adelaide Zoo family as they are the first Meerkats born at the zoo in seven years.

The yet-to-be-sexed youngsters have spent the first few weeks of life in their burrow being looked after by mum and dad, and have just started to venture outside.

Adelaide Zoo Meerkat Keeper, Jenna Hollamby, said, “The pups are absolutely tiny, probably tipping the scales at about 100 grams each.”

Hollamby continued, “The youngsters are still a little unsure of the big new world outside, but with a bit of encouragement from mum and dad they have started to explore their home. Miney and Swazi are doting first-time parents, tending to the pups every need and taking turns at sentry duty guarding their burrow.”

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Visitors to Adelaide Zoo will start to see the pups in their habitat in front of the Giraffe for short periods each day, as they grow in confidence and start to explore the outside world.

“The pups are still spending a lot of time inside, but every day, they explore further from their burrow and are becoming more adventurous,” Jenna Hollamby said. “The best time for visitors to try and catch a glimpse of the new family is first thing in the morning or when the sun is shining.”

The pups’ sex will be confirmed during their eight-week check-up, where they will also receive their first vaccinations and an overall health examination.

As a conservation charity, which exists to save species from extinction, Adelaide Zoo is proud to have bred more than 80 Meerkats since 1993. Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are native to southern Africa and can be found in the Kalahari Desert. They have adapted to living in very harsh conditions and climate, with little water, limited food and many predators.


Bioparc Valencia Keepers Confirm Their Suspicions

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During a recent well-check exam, BIOPARC Valencia keepers confirmed their suspicions; their new Western Lowland Gorilla baby is indeed a female!

The infant was born July 21 and is the Zoo’s third Western Lowland Gorilla birth.

The new baby is an important member of the zoo’s Gorilla troop. Experienced mom, Nalani, and father, Mambie, are doing an excellent job caring for their new offspring. Aside from the proud parents and their new baby, the troop at BIOPARC Valencia includes: Mambie’s firstborn, Ebo (4-years-old), female Fossey, and 12-month-old Virunga.

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The Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is one of two subspecies of the Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) that lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It is the Gorilla most common to zoos.

The main diet of the Gorilla species is roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark and pulp, which are provided for in the thick forests of central and West Africa. An adult will eat around 18 kg (40 lb) of food per day. Gorillas will climb trees up to 15 meters in height in search of food.

Females do not produce many offspring, due to the fact that they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 or 9. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny (weighing about four pounds) and able only to cling to their mothers' fur. The infant will ride on mother’s back from the age of four months through the first two or three years of life. Infants can be dependent on the mother for up to five years.

The Western Lowland Gorilla is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Population in the wild is faced with a number of factors that threaten it to extinction. Such factors include: deforestation, farming, grazing, and the expanding human settlements that cause forest loss. There is also said to be a correlation between human intervention in the wild and the destruction of habitats with an increase in bush meat hunting.