Colobus Monkey is ‘Jamming Good’ at Saint Louis Zoo

Baby_colobus_monkey_with_big_sister_1-17-16_credit_Ethan_Riepl_Saint_Louis_Zoo_123315_web

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.

Baby_colobus_monkey_with_big_sister_1-17-16_credit_Ethan_Riepl_Saint_Louis_Zoo_1542032_webPhoto 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.


Zebra Foal Shows Off Fluffy-Soft Baby Fur

12643018_10153800282957557_8293409184604758255_n

Sporting her fluffy-soft baby fur, Kasema the Zebra foal galloped in the winter sun during her debut at the Berlin Zoo.

12573952_10153800282882557_6921104370357602304_n
12642621_10153800282892557_2038245551640001780_n
1779162_10153800282887557_8363967191392101585_nPhoto 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.


Six-foot-tall Calf Arrives at Indy Zoo

Giraffe calf5-Carla Knapp

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.

Giraffe calf3-Carla Knapp
Giraffe calf1-Carla Knapp
Giraffe calf4-Carla KnappPhoto 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.


Seeing Stripes at Lowry Park Zoo: Zebra Foals Debut

1_Africa Hartmann's mountain zebras Roxie and foal 3 jan 18 2016

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.

2_Africa Hartmann's mountain zebras Roxie (mom) and foal 2 jan 19 2016

3_Africa Hartmann's mountain zebras Roxie and foal jan 19 2016

4_Africa Hartmann's mountain zebra foal with giraffes jan 21 2016Photo 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.

Continue reading "Seeing Stripes at Lowry Park Zoo: Zebra Foals Debut" »


Hellbender Salamander Hatches at Nashville Zoo

Hellbender young - January 2016

On October 11, 2015, the Nashville Zoo was successful in hatching an Eastern Hellbender that was the result of an egg being artificially fertilized with cryopreserved sperm; an achievement that had only been successful once before in an internal fertilizing Tiger Salamander in 2014. Moreover, this Hellbender is the first externally fertilizing salamander to be produced utilizing cryopreserved sperm.

“It’s a pretty big deal for the conservation of this species and all amphibians,” said Dale McGinnity, Ectotherm Curator. “This accomplishment means we can collect and preserve milt (seminal fluid containing sperm) from wild populations without removing Hellbenders from their environment. Cryopreserved sperm may remain viable for hundreds to thousands of years when kept at ultra-low temperatures with liquid nitrogen. ”

Many of the world’s amphibian species are disappearing from the planet due to pollution, habitat loss, and emerging diseases. Hellbenders, along with their close cousins the Japanese and Chinese Giant Salamanders, are the largest amphibians in the world; they are evolutionarily distinct and have remained relatively unchanged since the age of the dinosaurs. All three species are now in decline and may be threatened with extinction unless conservation programs are developed.

Hellbender tadpole 2015 - Sherri ReinschPhoto Credits: Nashville Zoo and Sherri Reinsch

The St. Louis Zoo reproduced Ozark Hellbenders naturally in an artificial stream system for the first time in 2011. The following year, Nashville Zoo successfully hatched two Hellbenders using artificial fertilization. The latest accomplishment is one more step in developing assisted reproductive technology (ART) for captive Hellbenders.

Once ART is fully developed, milt collected and cryopreserved from specimens may be used to fertilize eggs to create a genetically diverse group to boost isolated wild populations. In the future, cryopreserved sperm may be utilized to fertilize eggs to repopulate extinct populations. Nashville Zoo staff has already cryopreserved milt from 4 watersheds, which is believed to be the first gene bank developed for any salamander species.

“We really could not have done this alone,” said McGinnity. “Our Zoo’s Amphibian Specialist, Sherri Reinsch, and our Veterinary staff made the project possible. This success would not have been possible without the collaboration other researchers including Dr. Robert Browne, an Australian cryobiologist; Dr. Vance Trudeau, a Canadian endocrinologist; Dr. Joe Greathouse; Dr. Michael Freake; Dr. Brian Miller; Dr. Dalen Agnew; Dr. Carla Carleton; and Dr. Sally Nofs. A special thanks goes to Bill Reeves, the Chief of Biodiversity for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for the State Wildlife Grant that helped to fund this work which also included statewide surveys, gene banking, disease testing, and genetic work for hellbenders in Tennessee.”

Continue reading "Hellbender Salamander Hatches at Nashville Zoo" »


Endangered Rhino Birth Caught on Camera at Chester Zoo

1_!One-week-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, steps out into the sunshine on his public debut (1)

Chester Zoo’s Eastern Black Rhino calf recently stomped out into the sunshine on his public debut. The male calf, whose birth was captured on CCTV cameras, was born January 16 and has been named Gabe.

The newcomer enjoyed his sunny debut alongside mum, Ema Elsa.

2_One-week-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, steps out into the sunshine on his public debut (27)

3_One-week-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, steps out into the sunshine on his public debut (29)

4_One-week-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, steps out into the sunshine on his public debut (22)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Barbara Dryer, rhino keeper at the zoo, said, “It’ll take Gabe some time to get used to his surroundings, but he’s already super-feisty and doing all the right things, sleeping lots, eating well and looks very sturdy on his feet - he’s doing really well so far.

“We hope Gabe brings a lot of attention to the ever-growing need for the conservation of Eastern Black Rhino populations in Africa that are being slaughtered daily. The criminal gangs aren’t slowing down and in recent years there’s been a huge surge in illegal poaching, driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asia, as it’s ‘believed’ to have medicinal benefits – although scientific research has already proved it to be completely useless.

“For that reason, Gabe is particularly important to the European breeding programme for the species as he will add to the genetic diversity of Eastern Black Rhinos in zoos across Europe, helping to save the species from extinction in the future.”

Gabe is the third baby born at the zoo to 13-year-old mum, Ema Elsa, who was matched up with dad Kifaru, aged 31, by keepers at the zoo. The calf will now stay by her side for up to two years.

Chester Zoo has been successful in breeding a number of critically endangered Black Rhinos and plays a vital part in the European breeding programme, which is managed by the zoo’s Director General, Mark Pilgrim.

Groundbreaking science at the zoo has allowed researchers to monitor hormones levels in their female Black Rhinos to help discover the best time to introduce them to a potential partner, as well as diagnose pregnancies and estimate when they will give birth.

Chester Zoo is one of the main organizations fighting for the survival of the Eastern Black Rhino and has long supported conservation efforts in the wild to try and protect Black Rhinos and continues to fund, and provide expertise, to numerous sanctuaries across Africa.

The Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the wild, there are less than 650 remaining across Africa. At one time, the wild population was located in Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya, but as of 2010 they can only be found in Kenya (594 animals) and in northern Tanzania (80 animals). A population of currently 60 animals is kept outside its natural range in South Africa.

The growing price of rhino horn has led to a massive decline in rhino numbers---a decrease of up to 97% across Africa in the past 50 years. 2014 was branded ‘the worst poaching year on record’ by leading conservationists after over 1,200 rhinos were hunted in South Africa alone - a 9,000% increase from 2007

Chester Zoo is one of the main organizations fighting for the survival of Eastern Black Rhino and has long supported conservation efforts in the wild to try and protect Black Rhinos and continues to fund, and provide expertise, to numerous sanctuaries in Africa

The Chester Zoo Black Rhino Programme started in 1999, in partnership with Save the Rhino, providing substantial financial support to Kenya Wildlife Service to enable the translocation of 20 Black Rhinos to wildlife reserves in the Tsavo region of Kenya

Recently the zoo has also provided support for rhinos in Chyulu Hills National Park and Laikipia District in Kenya and Mkomazi in Tanzania

In June 2015, the world’s leading experts on rhinos and rhino conservation came together in Europe for the first time when Chester Zoo hosted over 100 zookeepers, researchers, scientists and conservationists from the USA, Australia, Africa and Europe to debate issues surrounding the five species of rhino: Black, Greater One-horned, White, Sumatran and Javan Rhino.

Amazing video of the birth and more pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Endangered Rhino Birth Caught on Camera at Chester Zoo" »


Columbus Zoo Hatching a Plan for Beaded Lizard

1_Beaded Lizard emerging at ColumbusZoo

A Beaded Lizard hatched on January 17, at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and more emerged on January 21 and 22! 

This is the first successful Beaded Lizard hatching at the Zoo since 2000! The recommendation to breed this vulnerable lizard, which is protected under CITES II, comes from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

2_Beaded Lizard hatchling Columbus Zoo

3_Beaded Lizard emerging at ColumbusZoo

4_Beaded Lizard emerging at ColumbusZooPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum) is found in rocky regions of Central and western Mexico, as well as down to northern Central America, but due to habitat loss and poaching their numbers are diminishing.

The Beaded Lizard (also known as the Mexican Beaded Lizard) is the most known of the four species of venomous lizards found in Mexico and Guatemala. The species is larger than the Gila Monster, but it has a more dull coloration-- black with yellow bands.

The lizard becomes sexually mature at six to eight years. The female lays a clutch of two to 30 eggs. In the wild, mating typically occurs between September and October. The eggs are usually laid between October and December, and they hatch the following June or July.

The Beaded Lizard is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Guests to the Columbus Zoo cannot see the little lizards until spring, but the adult Beaded Lizards can be seen at the Zoo’s Reptile Building.


Toronto’s Giant Pandas Have Their 100-Day Celebration

1_12487283_948049681898144_4645418097861882781_o

On January 20, 2016, the Toronto Zoo released a new video highlighting the first 100 days for their Giant Panda cubs. The 100-Day Celebration follows an ancient Chinese tradition that when a child reaches his or her 100th day of life, he or she has survived the risky fragility of infancy and may be considered on track for a successful future.

2_12493690_945708045465641_2731929403681419440_o

3_12525670_951942418175537_3658163446180148504_o

4_12484598_945708048798974_2143192335449585135_oPhotos and Video Courtesy: Toronto Zoo

 

Er Shun gave birth to these beautiful twin Panda cubs on October 13, 2015. Born at only 187 grams and 115 grams, these cubs have grown from tiny, pink, and hairless to strong, fuzzy Pandas with distinctive black and white markings.

"The Toronto Zoo is very honored to be participating in the Global Giant Panda Conservation Breeding Program and extremely proud of the births of Canada's first Giant Panda cubs," said Mr. John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. “We are very grateful for the ongoing partnerships with a number of institutions around the world who have contributed to our success,” he added.

The Toronto Zoo is hoping to introduce the Panda cubs to the public in mid-March. The Zoo would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support for these cubs and for following them on this incredible journey.

Continue reading "Toronto’s Giant Pandas Have Their 100-Day Celebration" »


Penguin Chick Gets Hatching Help

Pingwin przyl_dkowy 6 Sometimes baby animals need a little help, and that’s exactly what an about-to-hatch African Penguin received at Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw on December 28.

Pingwin przyl_dkowy 2
Pingwin przyl_dkowy 4
Pingwin przyl_dkowy 5Photo Credit:  Zoo Wroclaw

The Penguin chick, named Janush by keepers, was positioned abnormally inside his egg.  With his head underneath his wing, Janush was unable to turn and push his way out of the egg.  To assist the little chick, keepers removed the egg from the nest and gently extricated Janush from the shell.

Once they knew the tiny chick was stable, keepers tried to place Janush back in the nest with his parents.  Unfortunately, mom and dad were tending another chick that had hatched earlier in the day.  Penguin parents can be quite aggressive when defending their chicks, and keepers were unable to place Janush back in the nest. 

So, keepers took over as Janush’s parents during the first critical days of his life.  Because the chick was still absorbing nutrients from his yolk sac, there was no need to feed him right away, but controlling the temperature was important.  Janush moved to a well-ventilated incubator where he could stay warm.

The next day, keepers began feeding Janush a “milk shake” made from chopped fish and vitamins via a syringe.  Fortunately Janush has a good appetite and doubled his weight in the first week.  He feeds four times a day, and at night he snuggles beside a plush toy in his incubator.  In the morning Janush greets his keepers with loud squeaks to let them know he’s hungry.

In the wild, African Penguins are native to South Africa’s coast and nearby islands.  Because people have harvested so many fish from these waters, there is little left to sustain the Penguin population and the species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Oil spills have affected the population, and guano mining disturbs nesting sites.  Breeding programs in zoos around the world are an important part of efforts to save African Penguins.


A Six-foot Bundle of Joy

Unnamed

Utah's Hogle Zoo is pleased to introduce a six-foot bundle of leggy joy:  A baby Giraffe named Willow was born on January 13.

Unnamed (1)
Unnamed (2)Photo Credit:  Utah's Hogle Zoo

The female calf hit the ground - literally – shortly after noon. Giraffes deliver their babies standing up, so their calves face a four-foot drop as they enter the world.  This fall helps to break the umbilical cord and stimulates the baby to breathe.   Willow’s mom, 13-year-old Pogo, immediately began licking and cleaning her baby, and Willow stood and nursed within an hour of her birth.

Keepers estimate that Willow stood about six feet tall and weighed about 125 pounds at birth. Willow is the 17th Giraffe born at the Hogle Zoo.

The other Giraffes in the zoo’s herd are very interested in the new baby.  Willow’s father, 12-year-old Riley, leans over the wall of a neighboring stall to sniff her.  The other female Giraffes, who act as “aunties,” lick and sniff the newcomer as well.

Wild Giraffes live only in Africa, where they inhabit grasslands and savannahs.  Until recently, Giraffe populations were thought to be stable, but scientists now know that their numbers have fallen dramatically in the last few decades.  As humans convert formerly wild lands to pastures and farms, wild animals have fewer places to live.  For large animals like Giraffes, loss of habitat is a significant threat to their survival.