Chester Zoo Welcomes Critically Endangered Baby

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Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Bornean Orangutan.

The new arrival was born on the morning of April 2, in front of a handful of amazed onlookers. The first of its kind born at the Zoo in almost a decade, the newborn arrived following an eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy for mum Sarikei. The baby is a first offspring for dad, Willie.

Zoo conservationists say that the baby is a huge boost to a breeding programme, which is working toward saving the iconic species.

The most recent estimates indicate there could be as few as 55,000 Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) left on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, the only place they can be found in the wild. The species is heavily threatened by actions that have pushed the species to the very brink of existence: illegal hunting, habitat destruction and the conversion of their forest to palm oil plantations.

Chris Yarwood, primate keeper at the zoo, said, “Seeing mum Sarieki holding her tiny baby close is an amazing sight. It has been eight years since we last celebrated the birth of a Bornean Orangutan at the zoo, but it’s well worth the wait.”

“This is Sarikei’s third baby and although it’s very early days, she is so far doing a wonderful job of caring for her little one. She’s a great mum. It’s also the first youngster that our male Willie has sired. He has a great personality and we’re very hopeful that he will make a great father as he is still young himself and enjoys playing with the other Orangutans.”

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4_First Bornean orangutan born in almost a decade at Chester Zoo (11)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Last year the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the status of the Bornean Orangutan from “Endangered” to “Critically Endangered”. Now more than ever, the species faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s curator of mammals, added, “Bornean Orangutan numbers are plummeting at a frightening rate. A major threat to the survival of these magnificent creatures is the unsustainable oil palm industry, which is having a devastating effect on the forests where they live. They are also the victims of habitat loss and illegal hunting.”

“Those who are responsible for their decline have pushed them to the very edge of existence. And if the rate of loss continues, they could very well be extinct in the next few decades. It’s therefore absolutely vital that we have a sustainable population of Bornean Orangutans in zoos, and every addition to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme is so, so important.”

“It’s also imperative that we continue to tackle the excessive deforestation in Borneo and show people everywhere that they too can make a difference to the long-term survival of Orangutans. Simple everyday choices, such as making sure your product purchases from the supermarket contain only sustainably sourced palm oil, can have a massive impact.”

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Brevard Zoo Keepers Raising Rare Oryx Calf

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On February 28, Brevard Zoo welcomed its second Scimitar-horned Oryx calf of the year!

Unfortunately, first-time mother, Kitcha, displayed no interest in the female newborn. Tests performed the day after birth showed the calf had not yet nursed, and a decision was made to pull her from the exhibit. She is now living in an area where she can see and smell the rest of the herd, and she is currently being hand-reared by the Zoo’s dedicated animal care staff.

“She was quite small as a newborn, so we are monitoring her weight and food intake,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “For the first four days, she was eating every four hours. As her weight increases, we increase her food intake and she is now eating three times a day.”

Mom, Kitcha, was born at Brevard Zoo in 2009. The new calf’s father, Nuri, came from Smithsonian’s National Zoo and now lives at Lion Country Safari. Nuri also fathered the male calf born at Brevard on February 3.

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4_170315007Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

The Scimitar-horned Oryx (Oryx dammah) is also known as the Sahara Oryx. It is a straight-horned antelope that stands just over 1 m (3.3 ft) at the shoulder. Both sexes have horns, but those of the females are more slender.

They are social and prefer to travel in herds. Their habitat in the wild was steppe and desert, where they ate foliage, grass, herbs, shrubs, succulent plants, legumes, juicy roots, buds, and fruit. They can survive without water for nine to ten months because their kidneys prevent water loss from urination (an adaptation to desert habitats). They can also get water from water-rich plants.

Both males and females reach sexual maturity at 1.5 to 2 years of age. Gestation lasts about nine months, after which a single calf is born, weighing 20 to 33 pounds (9.1 to 15.0 kg). Twin births are very rare. Both mother and calf will return to the main herd within hours of the birth. The female separates herself from the herd for a few hours while she nurses the calf. Weaning starts at 3.5 months, and the young become fully independent at around 14 weeks old.

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Five Fabulous Felines Born at Monarto Zoo

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Five incredibly cute and feisty felines have joined the Monarto Zoo family, with the birth of a healthy litter of Cheetah cubs to first-time mum Kesho. Born on March 24, the cubs are an exciting addition to the zoo family as they are the first litter to be born at Monarto Zoo since 2012.

Carnivore keeper Michelle Lloyd said four-year-old Kesho was a doting mum and the cubs were doing very well under her attentive care. “Everyone’s thrilled to welcome the new arrivals to our Cheetah coalition; it’s really exciting to see Kesho as a first-time mum,” Michelle said.

“She is doing a fantastic job caring for her young and tending to their every need. For the time being, we’re giving the family complete privacy and monitoring the cubs’ development via a security camera in the den.”

The litter is an important addition to the regional Cheetah population and the Zoo’s work as a conservation charity, with the cubs having the power to educate Australians about the plight of Cheetah in the wild.

2_Cheetah Kesho and cubs -screen grabPhoto Credits: Monarto Zoo (Image 3: Mum Kesho in foreground / Image 4: Dad Innis)

The world’s fastest animal, the Cheetah is also Africa’s most endangered big cat with just 6,700 estimated to be remaining in the wild of eastern and southwestern Africa.

“It’s devastating to think that in the last 35 years, we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population,” Michelle said. “The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetah to protect livestock against predation. This decline makes breeding programs like ours incredibly important to secure the future of this species.”

The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae that occurs mainly in eastern and southern Africa and a few parts of Iran.

Uniquely adapted for speed, the Cheetah is capable of reaching speeds greater than 100kph in just over three seconds, and at top speed their stride is seven meters long.

The species is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Cheetah has suffered a substantial decline in its historic range due to rampant hunting in the 20th century.

The cubs, which have not yet been sexed, will live with mum in a den in an off-limits area of the Zoo until they’re old enough for their public debut in the not too distant future.

Mum, Kesho, was born in the last litter welcomed to Monarto Zoo in 2012. Dad, Innis, arrived at Monarto Zoo last year from National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra and is on a breeding loan.

3_Cheetah - photo credit Geoff Brooks  Zoos SA

4_Cheetah - Father of cubs  Innis. Photo credit Adrian Mann  Zoos SA


Landmark Penguin Chick Hatches at Woodland Park

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The 60th Humboldt Penguin has hatched at Woodland Park Zoo’s new penguin exhibit.

The Zoo’s first breeding season began in 2010, and the latest chick hatched on March 17. Although keepers don’t yet know the sex of the chick, a naming contest was organized.

The community has been invited to vote on one of the following Spanish names: Sesenta (means 60), Diamante (diamond = for 60th anniversary), and Amor (love). The poll began March 30 and voting concludes today, April 3. Vote through the end of today via the Zoo’s special facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/WoodlandParkZooSeattle/

The chick’s parents, 9-year-old dad, Mateo, and 4-year-old mom, Mini, have raised chicks with other mates but the new chick is the first offspring between the pair.

To date, a total of six chicks have been produced in the current breeding season, with a couple more chicks anticipated to hatch. All the chicks are off exhibit, in nesting burrows, where they are under the care of the parents. Staff minimizes intervention to allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain parental experience. To ensure the chicks are achieving growth milestones staff regularly weigh them as they develop.

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4_RS32574_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-2-phiPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Before new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they are removed from the nest so keepers can condition the birds to approach them for hand feeding and other animal care activities. Chicks also are given round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. New chicks join the colony in the outdoor exhibit sometime in early summer.

People do not usually think of penguins as a desert species. Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) inhabit hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. They live on rocky mainland shores, especially near cliffs, or on coastal islands.

Humboldt Penguins have a body made to swim. Using their strong wings, they “fly” underwater, usually just below the surface, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They steer with their feet and tail.

Classified as a “Vulnerable” species by the IUCN, approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Humboldt Penguins survive in their natural range.

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to conserving Humboldt Penguins by supporting the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Center at Punta San Juan, Peru*. They also help preserve the species by breeding the birds through the Species Survival Plan and by encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options.

*Punta San Juan is home to 5,000 Humboldt Penguins, the largest colony in Peru.


Dallas Zoo's Lion Cub Is The "Lucky One"

_MG_3108-Lion cub-w-logoThe Dallas Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of the first African Lion in more than 40 years.

The female cub, named Bahati Moja, was born on March 17.  Bahati Moja means “lucky one” in Swahili, a fitting name for a cub born on St. Patrick’s Day and who has overcome considerable odds to enter the world.

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Photo Credit: Dallas Zoo

Bahati Moja’s mother, Lina, had previously delivered stillborn cubs. The zoo’s veterinary team assisted Lina to ensure a successful outcome, and Bahati Moja is now called a “miracle baby” by the zoo staff.

As a result of the professionalism and dedication of the keepers and veterinary staff, Bahati Moja is developing right on schedule as she bonds with Lina in the den.  Keepers report that the little cub is nursing, gaining weight, and getting feisty.  Mom and cub will remain behind the scenes for a few months before venturing into the Lion habitat.

African Lions (and their counterparts, Asiatic Lions) once dwelled across most of Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.  Today, Asiatic Lions have nearly vanished from the wild, and African Lions’, once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have dwindled to as few as 20,000 individuals.  African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


First Sifaka Born in Great Britain Debuts at Cotswold

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Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the arrival of the first-ever Crowned Sifaka to be born in Great Britain. The baby male, named Yousstwo, is the first baby for new parents Bafana and Tahina. Cotswold Wildlife Park is the only mainland zoological collection in Great Britain to keep this endangered Lemur species.

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22Photo Credits:  Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jackie Thomas (photos 1 & 5)

Bafana arrived at the Park in 2009 from Besancon Zoo in France. Tahina joined him in 2013, from the same zoo, and the pair formed an instant bond. They are the only breeding pair in the country. Tahina is also the first hand-reared Sifaka in history to parent-rear her own offspring and is proving to be an exceptional mother.

The birth was caught on a closed-circuit camera which had been installed so keepers could keep an eye on Tahina without disturbing her.

Females are only sexually receptive for just one or two days a year, so the window of opportunity for males to father offspring is small. After a gestation period of approximately 165 days, females give birth to a baby completely covered in white fur and weighing less than four ounces. Infants are able to grip their mother’s fur from birth and they cling onto her belly for the first few weeks of life. After eight weeks, they start to develop the distinctive darker markings the Crowned Sifaka is famous for. They become independent at around six months old.

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Denver Zoo Celebrates First Kea Hatching

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Denver Zoo is celebrating its first successful hatching of a Kea! The female chick, named Scarlet, hatched on February 8, and is being hand-reared by zookeepers at the Zoo’s Avian Propagation Center.

The Kea (KEE-yah) is a large, vulnerable species of parrot. Scarlet’s arrival is special, as she increases the North American zoo population to 38 Keas, 14 of which are female.

Zookeepers have taken extra steps to assure Scarlet’s continued well-being. She is still growing behind the scenes, but will make her public debut soon at the Zoo’s Bird World habitat.

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3_IMG_1136Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Scarlet's hatching is a somewhat rare occasion. Only 11 institutions in North America house the species and they can be very difficult to breed. Denver Zoo’s zookeepers were diligent, though, and after thorough research, designed a large nest box, with a tunnel entrance, that finally encouraged Scarlet’s mother, Anna, to breed with her mate, Sorento, resulting in four eggs. Zookeepers had planned to give the pair a chance to incubate the eggs and rear the chicks themselves, but unfortunately, the parents broke two of the eggs, forcing zookeepers to pull the remaining two and incubate them artificially. Of those, only one chick hatched. Zookeepers have then hand-raised the chick since then, but will eventually place Scarlet with her parents once she is old enough.

This is the first chick for both Anna and Sorento. Anna hatched at the Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle, Washington, in March 2006, and arrived at Denver in August 2008. Sorento hatched at the San Diego Zoo in December 2004 and came to Denver Zoo, from the Philadelphia Zoo, in October 2010. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. The Kea SSP coordinator, Jessica Meehan, who supervises the management of the birds around North America, is also a Denver Zoo zookeeper.

The Kea (Nestor notabilis) is one of the few alpine species of parrot in the world and is found mostly in the mountains of the South Island of New Zealand. Adults can grow to about 19 inches long, and can weigh about 2 pounds. Their feathers are mostly olive-green, save for the bright, reddish-orange coloring under their wings. Keas were named, by the Māori people, for the sound of one of the birds’ vocalizations: “kee-yah.”

While exact population numbers are difficult to verify, experts estimate the wild Kea population at between 3,000 and 5,000 individuals, but could be significantly lower. The species is thought to be in decline and is currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They face a number of threats, including human-animal conflict and predation by introduced species, like stoats and possums.


Litter of Elusive Maned Wolves Born at Paignton Zoo

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Paignton Zoo’s South American Maned Wolves are rearing a litter of three pups!

This is the first litter for the pair. The male, Tolock, arrived at Paignton Zoo in September 2016 from Katowice Zoo in Poland, where he was born in 2015. Female Milla was born in December 2012 and arrived in the UK a year later from Nordens Ark Zoo in Sweden.

It has been seven years since Paignton Zoo has bred Maned Wolves. They are part of the carefully managed European Endangered species Programme.

Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, said, "Judging by the parents’ change in behavior, the pups were born on 23rd February. Being carnivores, we left them undisturbed to get on with it. The pups were not seen by the keepers for four weeks. Our Maned Wolves are quite elusive, but with patience can usually be seen mid-afternoon. There will be a much better chance of seeing one now there are five and especially when the pups become more mobile!”

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3_2017 03 PZ maned wolf pup 1Photo Credits: Paignton Zoo Environmental Park

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Adults stand almost 1 meter (3 feet) tall at the shoulder and weigh 20 to 25 kg. (50 to 55 lb).

They catch small prey such as rodents, hares and birds, but fruit forms a large part of their diet.

The Maned Wolf is shy and flees when alarmed, and their mane can be raised to display aggression. You are more likely to smell them than see them, as their urine, which they use to communicate, has a very distinctive smell.

Although often described as "a fox on stilts", due to their coloration, it is not closely related to any other canid and may be a survivor from the Pleistocene fauna of large South American mammals.

Native to parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, the Maned Wolf is currently classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, thanks largely to the effects of man: habitat loss, poaching, road kill and domestic dogs (which can attack the wolves and spread diseases).


Atlanta's Giant Panda Twins Enjoy Their First Spring

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Zoo Atlanta’s Giant Panda twins, Ya Lun and Xi Lun, have reached yet another adorable milestone: exploring the great outdoors for the first time. On March 27, lucky visitors got a peek at the duo as they got a taste of their first Georgia spring in an outdoor habitat at Zoo Atlanta’s Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center.

Ya Lun was quick to explore her new surroundings, while her sister Xi Lun was more reticent. According to the Zoo, Ya Lun is typically the more daring of the duo, and Xi Lun tends to be more cautious.

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3_Xi Lun_Zoo AtlantaPhoto Credits: Zoo Atlanta

It is not unusual for the cubs, who will be 7 months old on April 3, to be making their first trip into an outdoor space at this age. Giant Pandas are born exceptionally tiny, hairless, blind and entirely dependent. A mother will instinctively keep her offspring in a secluded and protected den area, away from predators and the elements. Lun Lun followed this instinct with Ya Lun and Xi Lun, remaining with the cubs in behind-the-scenes dens until late December, when she began exploring the option of taking the cubs into their dayroom habitat.

Since Ya Lun, Xi Lun and Lun Lun are still becoming comfortable in the outdoor habitat, the Zoo’s Animal Care Team began allowing the three to explore the space for brief times before Zoo opening hours on March 24, but March 27 was the first occasion when Zoo guests got a sneak-peek of the cubs outside. Ya Lun and Xi Lun will continue to check out the space on a gradual basis at limited times during the day, so there is not yet a guarantee of seeing the cubs in the outdoor habitat. However, the cubs have been visible in their dayroom space, full-time, since mid-March.

Born September 3, 2016, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the sixth and seventh offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang. Their older brothers and sisters, Mei Lan, Xi Lan, Po, Mei Lun and Mei Huan, now reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.

Giant Pandas represent Zoo Atlanta’s most significant investment in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 1,900 Giant Pandas are estimated to remain in the wild in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, eight of which are supported by Zoo Atlanta.

In September 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the Giant Panda’s status from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable.” The species remains heavily reliant on conservation programs, and Giant Pandas face ongoing threats from habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities.


Wallaby Joeys Bounce Onto Exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo

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Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo excitedly announced the arrival of Wallaby joeys! The bouncing babies have been spotted in their pouches in Edinburgh Zoo’s Wallaby Outback exhibit.

There are five joeys at present, each eagerly peeking out of mum’s pouch. There are also a couple already exploring the enclosure without mum.

Lorna Hughes, Primate Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “It’s great to see the Wallaby mums with their new young and getting on so well. The babies will tend to stay close to mum for the first few months, but they can now be seen venturing out around the enclosure on their own…Wallabies are a marsupial mammal, which means they continue to breed throughout the year. We are looking forward to welcoming more this year, so keep your eyes peeled for them as you walkthrough Wallaby Outback!”

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4_17_01_25_SwampWallaby_02_kpPhoto Credits: RZSS/Katie Paton

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