Giant Anteater Loves Cuddles With Her Teddy Bear

1_Beanie - baby giant anteater (c) ZSL London Zoo (4)

A female Giant Anteater was born on December 28, at ZSL London Zoo, weighing just 1.2kg.

Keepers soon realized first-time mum Inca was unable to care for her infant and that the pup would need a helping hand. Staff recruited a special teddy bear to help take on the role of surrogate mum to the tiny new arrival.

Young Anteaters get around by clinging to their mother’s backs, so the newborn has been keeping a firm grip on zookeeper Amy Heath’s shoulder, before going to sleep cuddling her giant teddy bear.

Nicknamed “Beanie” by her keepers, the young grey and black colored female already has impressive curved claws, which will grow up to four inches in length and will eventually be used to dig around in the ground to find tasty ants and termites.

Zookeeper Amy Heath said, “ZSL London Zoo is home to a group of Giant Anteaters: male Bonito and his female mates, Inca and Sauna. We were delighted when we discovered Inca was pregnant; but unfortunately she rejected the infant so we’ve stepped in to help until the baby is big enough to go back in with her parents.

“Hand-rearing an animal is an amazing privilege, but it’s hard work too; we’ve been bottle-feeding Beanie every two to three hours with special replacement milk and making sure she’s kept warm at night with a temperature-controlled incubator.

“Giant Anteaters are an incredible species. They’re unique to look at, and their iconic snouts are perfectly designed to sniff out their food. While they’ve got no teeth, their claws are the perfect tools for digging an opening into ants’ nests, and Beanie has been practicing her digging skills on her teddy bear…or even sometimes my shoulder!

“We’re very pleased with how well Beanie is developing. At 1.6kg, she’s gained about half a kilo in a month, and is the ideal weight for her age. She’s a very strong youngster with a sweet personality; she loves to burrow her long snout into my neck for a cuddle!”

2_Beanie - baby giant anteater (c) ZSL London Zoo (2)

3_Beanie - baby giant anteater (c) ZSL London Zoo (3)Photo Credits: ZSL London Zoo

Although Beanie may be small now, eventually she’ll grow to be around 7ft in length and weigh as much as 45kg. In the meantime, Amy has been keeping detailed records on everything the infant does, from eating and sleeping to even her toilet habits.

Though she’ll continue to be hand-fed until she’s around six-months-old, the stripy baby will soon be introduced to the rest of the Giant Anteater family at ZSL London Zoo, where keepers hope that more experienced female, Sauna, will take over other mothering duties, such as carrying Beanie around and socializing her, so she can grow up part of the group.

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), also known as the Ant Bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. The mostly terrestrial species is one of four living species of anteaters and is classified with sloths in the order Pilosa.

The Giant Anteater is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Threats include habitat destruction, fire, and poaching for fur and bush meat. However, some anteaters inhabit protected areas.

To find out more about Beanie and the 18,000 other incredible residents at ZSL London Zoo visit: www.zsl.org


Abandoned Kangaroo Joey Receives Care at Brevard Zoo

170130022
A tiny Red Kangaroo abandoned by her mother has another shot at life thanks to the dedication of Brevard Zoo’s animal care team. 

The as-yet-unnamed female, who is approximately five months old, was discovered out of her mother's pouch on Monday, January 23. She was likely ejected from the pouch due to stress from a storm the night prior. After several unsuccessful attempts to reunite the joey with her mother Jacie, animal care managers made the decision to raise the joey by hand.  This joey is Jacie’s fifth baby.

170130023
170130017
Photo Credit:  Brevard Zoo

“Red Kangaroos don’t start emerging from the pouch until they’re about seven months old,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “We think this joey is five months old, so the situation is still very precarious.”

Keepers feed the joey every four hours, day and night, and weigh her once per day.

Joeys are born after a 33-day gestation and complete their development in the pouch, fully emerging for the first time at seven months.  At that time, the joey begins to nibble grass and leaves, but returns to the pouch to nurse until it is about a year old.

Red Kangaroos are found only in Australia and are the largest of all the world’s marsupials (pouched mammals).  They inhabit Australia’s arid interior and can survive on very small amounts of water.  Red Kangaroos stand more than six feet tall and weigh well over 150 pounds.   The species is not currently under threat.

Continue reading "Abandoned Kangaroo Joey Receives Care at Brevard Zoo" »


One, Two Three, Four Little Lion Cubs

_RST726920151016
A litter of four male African Lion cubs born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on November 19 is out of the den and playing outside. 

The yet-to-be-named cubs are doing very well under the watchful eye of their mother Maya and are developing on schedule.  This is the second litter of cubs for Maya and her mate Lazarus.  Their last litter was born in February 2015. 

_RST726520151016
_RST727720151016
Photo Credit:  Rick Stevens



Though the family has been secluded in their den for the last two months, keepers monitored them via a video camera link.  By staying hands-off, keepers gave Maya and her babies time to bond.  Because Maya is an experienced mother, keepers had confidence in her ability to care for four cubs. 

The cubs recently had their first health check and received their first vaccinations.  All four had a clean bill of health.  At birth, each cub weighed about three pounds; they now weigh about 18 pounds each. 

The cubs have just started sampling solid foods and exploring outside their den behind the scenes. 

African Lions are classified as Vulnerable in the wild with populations decreasing due to human-animal conflict, depleted prey base, and habitat loss.

Continue reading "One, Two Three, Four Little Lion Cubs" »


Fourteen Thorny Devils Hatch at Alice Springs

1_Thorny Devil Hatchlings_L Nunn

The Alice Springs Desert Park, in the Northern Territory, Australia, has successfully produced fourteen new resident Thorny Devil Lizards.

The recent hatching of the fourteen healthy Thorny Devils (Moloch horridus), also known as Thorny Dragon, adds to the Desert Park’s diverse range of wildlife currently available for viewing.

Specialist Keeper, Invertebrates and Reptiles, Pete Nunn said that the Desert Park is thrilled to have such an extensive collection of Thorny Devils in captivity. “Thorny Devils are not normally kept, let alone bred at most zoos and wildlife parks around Australia,” he said. “The Thorny Devil usually lives in the arid scrub land and desert that covers most of Central Australia. For example, it inhabits the Tanami and Simpson Desert in the deep interior.”

2_Thorny Devil Hatchling_L Nunn

3_IMG_1308

4_P1000797Photo Credits: Alice Springs Desert Park

Over time the Thorny Devils have evolved and adapted to the environment they live in.

“Thorny Devils live on a diet of nothing but small black ants. They feed in the cooler mornings and late afternoon,” Mr. Nunn continued. “When they locate a trail of ants they lick them up with their short, sticky tongue. Thorny Devils might eat a thousand or more ants in a single meal.”

When it comes to hydration, Thorny Devils collect moisture in the dry desert by the condensation of dew on their bodies at night.

“This dew forms on its skin, and then it is channeled to its mouth in microscopic grooves between its spines,” said Mr. Nunn.

The hatchlings took 98 days to incubate and weighed in at a tiny two grams.

From the fourteen total Thorny Devils that hatched, four are on display at the Alice Springs Desert Park’s nocturnal house, sand country exhibit.

For further details and park information visit: www.alicespringsdesertpark.com.au


Trio of Prevost’s Squirrels Emerge at Chester Zoo

1_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (25)

A lively trio of Prevost’s Squirrels has emerged from their nest at Chester Zoo. It is the first time the colorful climbers, which are native to the forests of South East Asia, have been born at the U.K. zoo.

The three youngsters arrived to mum André and dad Pierre following a 48-day gestation. Dave White, team manager, reported last week, “The new triplets are 11 weeks old but have only recently started to leave their nest. Prevost’s squirrel parents are very protective of their new kittens and will carefully guard them for the first month of their lives before encouraging them to start venturing out.

“The youngsters have already developed striking, colorful coats and are gaining more and more confidence by the day. They’re the first Prevost’s Squirrels to ever be born here and it’s great to see them doing well, climbing and leaping between branches under the watchful eyes of mum and dad.”

2_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (32)

3_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (30)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo 

Prevost’s Squirrels (Callosciurus prevostii), which are also known as the Asian Tri-colored Squirrel, have thick fur, which is black from the nose to tail and red on the belly and legs, separated by a white stripe.

They occur across the mainland and islands of South East Asia, with the squirrels from each area having subtly different markings. More research may even show that these represent many different isolated species.

The squirrels are vital to the survival of the forests in which they live, redistributing seeds from the fruit that they eat, giving rise to new generations of plants.

4_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (11)


Cotton-top Tamarin Debuts at Taronga Zoo

1_Tamarin Baby 1_Photo by Paul Fahy

Taronga Zoo is celebrating the birth of a tiny, boiled egg-loving Cotton-top Tamarin.

The baby was born on December 10, but has just started to explore on its own and sample solid foods, to the delight of keepers and keen-eyed visitors.

“We’re beginning to see the baby climbing off mum or dad’s back to explore. It’s started to run along tree branches and it’s grabbing food out of mum’s hands. It really seems to enjoy eggs, along with little pieces of carrot and sweet potato,” said Primate Keeper, Alex Wright.

Keepers are yet to name or determine the sex of the baby, which is the first Cotton-top Tamarin born at Taronga in 10 years. The baby is also the first for mum and dad, Esmeralda and Diego, who are proving to be particularly attentive parents.

“Diego is playing a very active role in caring for the baby. We usually see the baby on his back during the day, so mum must be doing the night shift,” said Alex.

Native to the forests of northwest Colombia, Cotton-top Tamarins usually weigh less than 500 grams as adults and are sometimes likened to tiny punks due to their distinctive crest of white hair.

“The baby does have an impressive mohawk, but it’s quite flat at this early stage. Once it gets a bit older we’d expect that little mo’ to really grow,” said Alex.

2_Tamarin Baby 2_Photo by Paul Fahy

3_Tamarin Baby 5_Photo by Paul Fahy

4_Tamarin Baby 10_Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credits: Taronga Zoo & Paul Fahy (Images 1-8) / Renae Robinson (Images 9-10)

Classed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with less than 6,000 remaining in the wild, Cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) have lost more than 75% of their original habitat in northwestern Colombia to deforestation. They are also threatened by capture for the illegal pet trade.

Continue reading "Cotton-top Tamarin Debuts at Taronga Zoo " »


New Gray Seal Pup at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Grey_seal_pup_day_2

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s American Trail team is celebrating the arrival of a female Gray Seal pup. She was born January 21 to mother Kara.

Keepers have been closely monitoring the pup, which appears to be nursing, moving and bonding well with mom. At 33 years old, Kara is the oldest Gray Seal to give birth in a Zoo. This pup is the third for Kara and 26-year-old father, Gunther.

Animal care staff are cautiously optimistic that the pup will thrive, and Kara is caring for her pup without interference. On January 24 the pup weighed-in at 37 pounds.

Around three weeks of age, the pup will wean and shed her white lanugo coat, revealing a gray and mottled pattern similar to that of the adults. Once she is weaned, keepers will slowly introduce the new pup to the other members of the colony. She will join the Zoo’s adult Gray Seals and two Harbor Seals, Luke and Squeegee, on exhibit and public view in the spring.

Kara_and_pup_day_2Photo Credits: Jacqueline Conrad/ Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Keepers initially suspected that Kara was pregnant based on her physical changes, appetite and weight gain, among other cues. They have trained the seals to voluntarily participate in radiographs and ultrasounds, with veterinarians present, as part of their routine medical care. An ultrasound in August confirmed Kara was pregnant, and animal care staff had been conducting bi-weekly ultrasounds to track the pup’s development. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on the Gray Seals through its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo received a recommendation to breed Kara and Gunther from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP matches individual animals across the country for breeding in order to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining population.

Although once endangered, Gray Seals (Halichoerus grypus) are now listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In the wild, they range from North America to the Baltic Sea.


Third Litter for Otter Parents at Woodland Park Zoo

1_2017_01_27 ASCO pups-1_STAMP

Four Asian Small-clawed Otters were born December 9 at Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle, Washington, to 7-year-old mother Teratai and 11-year-old father Guntur.

The births represent the third litter for the parents. The sex of the pups has not been determined. The new pups currently live off exhibit in a maternity den with their parents and three older sisters.

“The whole family pitches in to raise the pups,” explained Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “Mom nurses the newborns, and dad and older siblings provide supportive care. Occasionally, the adults go outdoors in the public exhibit but not for long. They prefer staying indoors to focus on caring for the pups.”

The parents have successfully raised two previous litters to adulthood and are giving the same level of appropriate care to their new pups.

“Our animal care staff keeps a close eye on the new pups but remains hands off as much as possible with little to no intervention except for wellness exams,” said Owen.

This week, the zoo’s veterinary staff will perform the pups’ first neonatal exam, which will include weigh-ins and vaccinations.

2_2017_01_27 ASCO pups-2_STAMP

3_20170111_151216_STAMP

4_20170111_151157_STAMPPhoto Credits: Woodland Park Zoo

The Asian Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea syn. Amblonyx cinereus), also known as the Oriental Small-clawed Otter, is the smallest among the 13 otter species.

Gestation lasts 60 to 64 days. At birth, these otters weigh just 50 grams, no more than the weight of a golf ball. Born without the ability to see or hear, the pups depend on the nurturing care of both parents until they begin developing their senses at about 3 weeks old.

“The pups have fully opened their eyes and are becoming more mobile,” said Owen.

As their mobility increases, the parents and older siblings will teach them how to swim—first, in a plastic tub. After mastering the tub, they will graduate to the next level: the outdoor exhibit and large pool where they will be taught to dive a few inches deep in the large pool, with their vigilant family by their side. The pups will be officially introduced to zoo-goers when they can swim and safely navigate the outdoor exhibit.

Continue reading "Third Litter for Otter Parents at Woodland Park Zoo " »


Tiny Bat Pup Delivered by C-Section Defies Odds

BatPup_001_Med

There’s a new “miracle baby” at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—and this time, it has wings. A 12-day-old Rodrigues Fruit Bat is flying ahead of schedule in his development, despite a rough delivery.

On January 11, Bat keepers at the Safari Park noticed female Fruit Bat Patty was behaving abnormally and didn’t greet animal care staff during their morning rounds. Keepers determined that the first-time mother was having labor difficulties. Patty was brought to the park’s medical center, where veterinarians performed the first-ever emergency C-section on a Rodrigues Fruit Bat. Unfortunately, Patty did not survive. To ensure the pup’s survival, animal care staff is providing round-the-clock care until the pup is old enough to be introduced to the rest of the Bat colony.   

BatPup_002_MedPhoto Credit:  San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The male pup is the second Rodrigues Fruit Bat ever to be hand reared at the nursery. Patty was the first. Hand raising this winged mammal is no easy task: It requires a very detailed regimen and lots of affection. The pup spends all of his time attached to a “sock mom” that mimics his mother. To properly regulate his body temperature and provide enough humidity to maintain pliable wings, the pup stays in a controlled incubator set between 85 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit, with 75 percent humidity. Animal care staff feed the youngster inside the incubator every two hours, and feedings can take up to 45 minutes. “He tends to fall asleep during his feedings,” says Kimberly Millspaugh, senior animal keeper. “Sometimes he wants to play or just wants attention, so getting him to finish can be challenging.” Careful feedings are required to avoid asphyxiation. The pup receives human infant formula because Bats cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, which the formula contains. Following every feeding, the youngster is bathed with a damp cotton ball, dried off and wrapped in a warm blanket, to mimic his mother’s cradling wings.

The critically endangered Rodrigues Fruit Bat is only found on Rodrigues Island, located about 300 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Most of this Bat population is found in a single colony, at three roost sites they have used for more than 50 years. As tamarind and mango trees, which produce the Bats’ favored fruits, were cut to plant other crops, food sources for the Bats dwindled, as did the Bats’ numbers. Following a cyclone in 2003, which destroyed habitat and swept Bats out to sea, they numbered only about 4,000. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has established a breeding colony as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan program in order to create a sustainable population. San Diego Zoo Global has also partnered with the Rodrigues Environmental Educator Programme, working with school and community groups to support Bat conservation.

Bats do more than earn their keep—insect-eating Bats prevent diseases like West Nile virus and help save crops from pests, and fruit-eaters pollinate plants and disperse seeds. Bat droppings support bacteria useful to humans, including the production of antibiotics.

 


Hippo Preemie Gets Intensive Care at Cincinnati Zoo

Hipponew
A baby Nile Hippopotamus arrived six weeks ahead of schedule at the Cincinnati Zoo, and the staff is now providing critical care for the premature calf, which is the first to be born at the zoo in 75 years.

Seventeen-year-old Hippo Bibi gave birth on January 24 but the calf, a female, was not expected until March.  Because the premature calf was unable to stand and nurse from Bibi, the veterinary staff moved the baby to the zoo’s nursery where she can receive around-the-clock care. Hippos are pregnant for about 243 days.

Hippo-2new
Hippo_pool-5Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo



When the baby was two days old, staff placed her in a shallow pool.  The pool time will help her build strength and gain balance, and help to maintain an optimal body temperature of 96-98 degrees.  Most baby Hippos are born in the water, but they can't swim.

“We are giving her fluids and keeping her moist and warm,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Her little system is underdeveloped, and getting her to a healthy weight will be a challenge. Vets and animal staff are doing everything they can to get her through this critical time.”

You can find daily updates from the Cincinnati Zoo about the baby, which has been named Fiona, here.

The baby weighs 29 pounds, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for this species.  The normal range for newborn Hippos is 55-120 pounds. “She looks like a normal calf but is very, very small. Her heart and lungs sound good and she is pretty responsive to stimuli, but we aren’t sure how developed her muscles and brain are,” said Gorsuch.  Adult Hippos weigh one-and-a-half to two tons.

When Bibi showed signs of labor, zoo staff performed an ultrasound that showed a major shift in the baby and confirmed that it was on the way.  During the procedure, keepers were able to collect milk from her.

“We’re hoping to get the baby to drink Bibi’s milk and other supplements from a bottle. We’ll continue to milk Bibi so we can provide these important nutrients to the baby and also stimulate production so she’s ready to nurse when the baby is strong enough to be back with mom,” said Gorsuch.

Continue reading "Hippo Preemie Gets Intensive Care at Cincinnati Zoo" »