Zoo Brno Visitors Witness Zebra Birth

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On July 15, lucky visitors, to the African Village Exhibit at ZOO Brno, witnessed the birth of a Chapman’s Zebra!

The foal was born, at the Czech zoo, to mom Arwen and dad, Elvis.

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4_11033075_919117998126619_5975114748841858847_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Brno (Images 1 - 4); Marie Pilátová (Images 5 - 11)

The Chapman’s Zebra is a subspecies of the Plains Zebra. Like their relatives, they are native to the savannah of northeast South Africa, north to Zimbabwe, west into Botswana, the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, and southern Angola.

The Chapman's Zebra eats mainly grass and occasionally shrubs. They are currently at low risk status on the IUCN Red List, but like other animals, are still under threat because of habitat destruction and illegal poaching.

Chapman's Zebra is distinguished by stripes on the lower halves of the legs, which break up into many irregular brown spots. The pastern is not completely black on the lower half. When foals are born they have brown stripes, and in some cases, adults do not develop the black coloration in their fur and keep their brown stripes. Males usually weigh 600–800 pounds and stand at 48–52" tall. Females approximately weigh 500–700 pounds and stand as tall as the males

Like most members of the horse family, zebras, in general, are highly social. Their social structure, however, depends on the species. Like horses, zebras sleep standing up, and only sleep when neighbors are around to warn them of predators.

Female zebras mature earlier than the males, and a mare may have her first foal by the age of three. Males are not able to breed until the age of five or six. Mares may give birth to one foal every twelve months. She nurses the foal for up to a year. Like horses, zebras are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after they are born.

Amazing pics of the birth, taken by Zoo Brno visitor Marie Pilátová, below the fold!

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Lion Cubs Show Their Playful Side

11705136_10153476435870908_2892998893198656213_nFour Lion cubs born June 8 at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari are showing off their playful side!

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11754235_10153476435930908_4057571369824301940_nPhoto Credit:  Wildlife Safari

The cubs, three male and one female, have already more than doubled their birth weight, a sign that they are being well cared for by their one-year-old mother, Serafina.

Zoo keepers expect the cubs to emerge from their den in a few weeks, and the public will get a chance to see them in person at that time.

Once widespread across much of Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, Lions now live in fragmented populations in eastern and southern Africa.  Currently listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Lion populations are rapidly decreasing, with losses estimated at 30-50% every 20 years in the latter half of the 20th century. 

Conservation organizations are using a variety of tactics to support the world’s wild Lions, including managed zoo breeding through the Species Survival Plan, protection of livestock to reduce retaliatory killings, and working with local people to protect lions through ecotourism.  


Eight Grey Wolf Pups Pop Out of Their Den

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Eight grey wolf pups born on April 30 at Omaha Zoo’s Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari have emerged from their den!

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Wolf Pups (4)Photo Credit: Omaha's Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari  

Seven of the pups have grey coats, and one has a black coat.  All eight were born to Kenai, age six, and Yahzi, age seven.  This is their second litter – the pair produced five pups in 2014.

The pups are still nursing, but are starting to eat an adult carnivore diet with treats that include fish, eggs, bones, and meat.

Grey wolves, of which there are several subspecies, live in remote parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They are social animals, living in pairs with their offspring.  Grey wolves hunt in packs in well-established territories. 

There are currently 107 grey wolves in 38 North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. In the last 12 months, there have been 10 births, including this litter.  Grey wolves are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Snow Leopard Cubs ‘Spotted’ at Zoo Krefeld

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On May 4, Zoo Krefeld, in Germany, welcomed two new Snow Leopards. The two females were born to dad, Patan, and mom, Dari.

Patan and Dari’s first offspring, Shan, was born in 2013 and now resides at Highland Wildlife Park, in Scotland.  Zoo visitors can see the newest cubs as they explore their outdoor facilities. 

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4_11745764_730359130409429_729125246719173201_nPhoto Credits: Iris Stengel (1,7), Jan Willemsen (2,5), Dagmar Göddemeier (3,4), Doris Henn (6), Tina Sagemann (8)

The Snow Leopard is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. They prefer alpine and subalpine zones and elevations from 9,800 to 14,800 feet (3,000 to 4,500 m). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.

Snow Leopards are slightly smaller than other big cats and have a relatively short body, measuring in length from head to tail 30 to 50 inches (75 to 130 cm). However, their tail is quite long, at 31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 cm).

Their fur is long and thick, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with white underparts. They have dark gray to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Their eyes are pale green or gray in color.

The Snow Leopard cannot roar, despite possessing partial ossification of the hyoid bone. Instead, their vocalizations consist of hisses, chuffing, mews, growls, and wailing.

Adults are somewhat elusive and solitary, except for females and cubs. Snow Leopards have a gestation period of 90 to 100 days, with the offspring generally born in April to June. The mothers prefer secluded, rocky dens for birth and rearing. The litter sizes vary from one to five cubs. Newly born cubs have full black spots, which turn into rosettes as they grow to adolescence. Cubs leave their den at around two to four months of age, but they remain with the mother until around 18 to 22 months.

The Snow Leopard is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080 to 6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild.

Zoo Krefeld is a supporter of the Snow Leopard Trust, a Seattle-based organization that endeavors to “build community partnerships by using sound science to determine priorities for protecting the endangered Snow Leopard.” For more information, check out the Snow Leopard Trust’s website: www.snowleopard.org

More pics below the fold!

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Humboldt Penguin Chicks Stick Together at Paradise Park

Penguin Chicks at Paradise Park Hayle Cornwall

Staff at Paradise Park, in Hayle, Cornwall, UK, are delighted to have baby Humboldt Penguin chicks.

Curator David Woolcock said, “These two wonderful little characters are proving very popular with visitors. They are now ten weeks old and have been given the Peruvian names Miski and Aurora.”

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Penguin Chick and Keeper at Paradise Park HAyle Cornwall

Young Penguin chicks at Paradise Park CornwallPhoto Credits: Paradise Park

David continued, “They eat around 200g of fresh fish a day and are being hand-reared, as the eggs were laid outside the nesting caves and not protected from weather or disturbance.”

“Another younger chick, called Poppy, was not putting on enough weight when she was with her parents, so the decision was taken to hand-rear her as well. One other chick is being successfully reared by its parents in the nest.”

When chicks are in the nest they have fluffy grey down feathers. It takes about three months for them to leave their nests, and by this time they have developed the waterproof plumage they need for swimming. Juveniles are grey and white, only developing the distinctive black and white penguin plumage at a year old. The pattern of dark speckles, on their lower chest, is unique to each individual penguin.

Miski and Aurora are now being introduced to the Humboldt Penguin group at Paradise Park, and they are making regular appearances at the twice daily feeding times.

The Humboldt Penguin is native to South America and breeds in coastal Chile and Peru. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin, and the Galapagos Penguin. Its name is derived from the cold water current it swims in, which is named after explorer Alexander von Humboldt.

Humboldt Penguins are medium sized, growing to 22 to 28 inches (56 to 70 cm) long and a weight of 8 to 13 lbs (3.6 to 5.9 kg).

They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species. Their declining population is due to several factors: over-fishing, climate change, and ocean acidification. The Humboldt Penguin population is also losing numbers due to habitat destruction.

Young Penguin chick at Paradise Park Cornwall


Lion Cubs' First Adventure at Lee Richardson Zoo

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Five African Lion cubs were born, May 17, at Lee Richardson Zoo, in Garden City, Kansas.

The cubs (four boys and one girl) are the second litter for mom, Amali, and dad, Razi.  Amali was born at Lee Richardson Zoo on August 24, 2005. Razi arrived in Garden City in December 2007, at 16 months of age, from the Denver Zoo.

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4_IMG_5696Photo Credits: Lee Richardson Zoo

Recently, on July 7, the five cubs were allowed out for their first adventures into their enclosure with the adoring public present.  Momma lioness, Amali, scanned the area with a watchful eye before letting them venture too far from the barn.  If they journeyed someplace in their habitat that she didn’t want them to go, she would give a quick snarl which brought them in line.  A train of cubs, that was quite adorable, formed as Amali guided her cubs around, while zoo guests watched the cubs’ antics from the viewing area. 

Not only did the cubs get to go exploring for all to see, but they also received their names.  Garden City residents and Lee Richardson Zoo fans put in a total of 581 votes towards the naming of the male cubs. The winning names were Kito, Bahati, Usiku, and Jasiri. 

Dad, Razi, chose the female’s name.  Three boxes were put out for him to select from.  Each held the same treat to remove any bias.  Between the red, green, and blue boxes, Razi chose the red--thereby dubbing his daughter Lulu.

Lee Richardson Zoo is proud to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to help maintain genetically diverse populations of vulnerable and endangered species in zoos.  Zoo lions serve as ambassadors for their counterparts, drawing attention to their issues in the wild.  Wild lion populations are dropping in numbers due to loss of habitat and introduced diseases such as canine distemper.  As part of the Species Survival Plan some of these cubs may eventually find homes at other facilities in the future. 

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Tiny Dwarf Seahorses Born at the Tennessee Aquarium

Baby Dwarf Seahorse and Dad

A few very tiny baby seahorses were born last month at the Tennessee Aquarium

 

The Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is among the smallest seahorse species, with adults growing to only one inch in length.
 
Connie Arthur, the Aquarium’s seahorse keeper, had been observing a few males who seemed to be pregnant.

On Thursday morning when she arrived at the Aquarium, the tiny babies - each one about the size of a grain of rice - were swimming in the tank.
 
“It’s not uncommon for us to find babies in any of our seahorse tanks,” Arthur said.

“But the Dwarf Seahorses are especially tiny so I keep a sharp eye out for them.”
 
Luckily, according to Arthur, these babies (as tiny as they are) are one of the easiest species to raise.

The babies instantly use their prehensile tail to grab onto whatever they can and will start eating newly hatched brine shrimp right away.
 
The birth of these itty bitty babies came just in time for Father’s Day, since seahorse males are actually the ones that give birth.


Addax Mom Seeing Double at Rolling Hills Zoo

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Twin Addax calves were born July 5, at Rolling Hills Zoo, in Salina, Kansas. The twins, male and female, were born to mom, Aamira. 

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3_559c6c7d338bf.imagePhoto Credits: Mason Swenson/ Salina Journal

This was Aamira’s first experience with a multiple birth. Peter Burvenich, the zoo’s General Curator, said twin births are extremely rare for the Addax, accounting for only 1 of every 2,500 births.

The Addax, also known as the “screwhorn antelope”, is native to the Sahara desert. As suggested by its name, it has long twisted horns, typically 22 to 31 inches (55 to 80 cm) in females and 28 to 33 inches (70 to 85 cm) in males.

They are sexually dimorphic, as the females are smaller than the males. The color of the coat depends on the season, greyish-brown in winter and sandy-white in summer.

They mainly eat grasses and leaves of any available shrub, herb or bush. They are also well adapted to desert habitat and can live without water for long periods of time.  The Addax form herds of five to 20 and are led by the oldest female of the group.

The Addax is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is extremely rare in its native habitat, due to unregulated hunting.


Zebra Foal Sticks Close to Mom At Brookfield Zoo

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A Grevy’s Zebra foal born at the Brookfield Zoo on July 7 stays close to mom as if to say, “You can’t see me!”

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Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo

Indeed, Zebras’ striped coats help them blend in with the herd and surrounding vegetation, making them nearly invisible to predators. Like most Zebra foals, this little girl was born with brownish stripes.  The stripes will turn black as she grows.

The foal weighed 100 pounds at birth.  She was born to five-year-old Kali and her mate, 15-year-old Nazim.  The pairing of the two was based on a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP manages breeding to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Currently, fewer than 200 Grevy's Zebras live in less than 50 accredited North American zoos. This is the first Grevy’s Zebra birth at Brookfield Zoo since 1998.

Grevy’s Zebras, which are the largest of all wild equids, are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The species is now found only in its native habitat of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia and is considered to be extinct in Somalia. Researchers estimate that the Grevy's Zebra population has declined by more than 50 percent over the past two decades, with approximately 2,000 remaining in the wild.

Major threats to the species include reduction of and competition for water sources; habitat degradation and loss due to overgrazing; and hunting. Most Grevy's Zebras live outside of national parks on communal lands, making community participation in their conservation critical.