Meerkat Siblings Join the Troop at Taronga

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Keepers at Taronga Zoo Sydney are excited by the arrival of two Meerkat pups, born on January 20.

This is the sixth litter of pups for mother, Narobi, who has been keeping a close eye on her offspring as they emerge from the den and explore their surroundings. The pair was fathered by Maputo.

The sex of the duo is yet-to-be-determined, so they are currently without names. However, when the time is right, their names will likely be taken from the Swahili language to reflect their African heritage.

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4_Photo 8-2-18  2 25 38 pmPhoto Credits: Taronga Zoo Sydney

As with all Meerkat young, the pups are developing very quickly. Carnivore Keeper, Maz Boz, said, “The infants are starting to eat bits of fruits, veggies and fly pupae. They learn to eat solids by mimicking their parents and siblings, which is a natural behaviour in the wild.”

“The pups are now standing on their hind legs, which will play an important role during sentry duty watches when they become adults,” Maz added. “The pups are now starting to emerge outside after a few weeks being in their dens, visitors can see the pups for short periods each day as they start to grow in confidence and explore their home.”

“Mum, Nairobi, is a very experienced mother having her sixth litter, two daughters, Serati and Xolani, also learning from her and being very tentative and assisting their mother in babysitting the pups whilst mum has a break,” said Maz.

Both Narobi and father, Maputo, play an important role in rearing the pups. The other members of the troop will also assist with caring for and protecting the pups as they grow and develop.

According to the Keepers at Taronga Zoo, they are quite hands-off with the Meerkats. They choose to allow the “politics” to be sorted out by the animals within their own hierarchy.

“They may be young, but they’re already showing signs of their own little personalities. They are both quite outgoing, adventurous and inquisitive jumping on the other Meerkats to play,” Maz concluded.

The Meerkat pups can be seen on exhibit with the rest of their troop, which is now comprised of eighteen in total. According to Maz, the best time to catch a glimpse of the pups is during the daily Keeper Talk and feeding at 11:30am daily.

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Denver Zoo Goes ‘Wild’ for Quad of Endangered Puppies

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The news from Denver Zoo is that everyone is “going wild” over four endangered African Wild Dog puppies born there on November 20, 2017. For the past three months, the puppies have been behind the scenes in their private maternity den under the protective care of their mother, Tilly.

Keepers say the three males (Nigel, Theodore Roosevelt, and Livingstone) and one female (Cholula) are healthy, curious and playful, and ready for their public debut. Guests will now have a chance to see the puppies every day from Noon till 2 p.m. in the Pahali Ya Mwana yard in Benson Predator Ridge, through the end of the month of February. Starting March 1, they will then be in various habitats throughout Benson Predator Ridge, depending on the weather.

This is the first litter for Tilly, who was born in September 2012 at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2014. Her mother was born at Denver Zoo to the zoo's original alpha pair, Daisy and Judd.

The father of the new pups, Jesse, was born in January 2011 at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2015. All three adult dogs at the Denver Zoo—Tilly, Jesse and Cheza—arrived under the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.

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4_AWD Puppies_Feb 14_2Photo Credits: Denver Zoo 

With a worldwide population estimated at 6,600, African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), also known as African Painted dogs, are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease are the main threats to their survival in the wild.

Denver Zoo is a leader in the management of African Wild Dogs within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), and has successfully produced 32 puppies since 2001. Additionally, Denver Zoo helps protect African Wild Dogs in Botswana by tracking them with radio and GPS collars to reduce conflicts with humans and promote coexistence between people and animals, and has been significantly involved in research aimed at improving the management and sustainability of the species, including genetic, reproductive, and behavioral studies.

African Wild Dogs are native to the open woodlands and plains of sub-Saharan Africa. Full-grown adults weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and stand 30 inches tall at the shoulder. Unique characteristics of these slim, long-legged dogs include: distinct yellow, black, brown and white markings, large round ears that contribute to their sharp sense of hearing, and front paws that have only four toes, rather than the typical five found on other canine species.

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Sweet New Giraffe Calf Joins Lion Country Safari


Lion Country Safari welcomed a new baby Giraffe on February 4!

The new calf arrived just before the safari closed for the evening, and guests visiting the park had a unique opportunity to witness the incredible birth from their vehicles in the final section of the preserve. A line of cars, with guests, watched as the 132-pound, 5.5-foot-tall female baby was born.

The calf has been named “Kimberlina”. Lion Country Safari’s wildlife team selected her unique name as homage to two special staff members described as, "exceptionally passionate and dedicated to giving [the] Giraffe extraordinary care." Kimberlina is also the name of a type of rose and keeps with the theme of her mother’s and grandmother’s names: Willow and Ayanna (flower), respectively.



4_DSC_0019Photo Credits: Lion Country Safari (Image 5 = Dad, Cupid, with heart-shaped spot visible on neck)

Mom and baby can be observed spending some quiet bonding time in the maternity area. New dad, Cupid, was recently seen enjoying his own birthday celebration on February 14th. Identifiable by a heart-shaped spot on the right side of his neck, 13-year-old Cupid was observed enjoying special treats, or ‘enrichments’, in the Giraffe-feeding yard throughout the day on Valentine's Day.

Lion Country Safari is home to one of the largest herds, or ‘towers’, of Giraffe in the United States and is the only drive-through safari of its kind in the state of Florida.


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Rare Langur Swings Onto the Scene at Belfast Zoo

(2) Our little 'rascal' was born on 7 November to mum Nicoleen and dad AJ but only now have we been able to catch a gimpse of him!

A rare François’ Langur born in late 2017 has finally made his first appearance for visitors at Belfast Zoo

This endangered primate was born on November 7, 2017 to mom, Nicoleen and dad, AJ, but spent most of his time clinging tightly to Nicoleen’s belly until just recently. 

While adult François’ Langurs are black in color with striking white sideburns, infants are born with ginger fur and their color changes slowly as they mature. The baby has been named Huaidan, which means ‘rascal’ in Chinese, thanks to his cheeky attitude.

(1) Endangered Francois langur finally makes his first appearance at Belfast Zoo!
(1) Endangered Francois langur finally makes his first appearance at Belfast Zoo!
(1) Endangered Francois langur finally makes his first appearance at Belfast Zoo! Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

Huaidan’s arrival means that Belfast Zoo’s Monkey House is home to five of these leaf-eating primates.  François’ Langurs live in small family groups consisting of one adult male and a harem of adult females and their offspring. All females in the group take an active interest in the care of an infant. This allows Nicoleen to rest and eat while the other females babysit Huaidan.  

Andrew Hope, Curator at Belfast Zoo, said, “François’ Langurs are found in the tropical forests and limestone hills of China, Vietnam and Laos but they are facing increasing threats and are endangered in their natural habitat.  This is primarily due to habitat loss, hunting, the traditional medicine trade and the pet trade.”

The wild population of François’ Langurs has declined by at least 50% over the past three decades. Scientists estimate that the total wild population is less than 2,500 individuals.

Belfast Zoo works with others zoos around Europe to ensure the survival of François’ Langurs through an active breeding program. Huaidan’s arrival is important to the genetic diversity of the European population of this primate, which is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Sarah the Tapir Debuts at Wrocław Zoo


On January 31, a female South American Tapir calf was born at Poland’s Wrocław Zoo. The baby, named Sarah, will be part of zoo breeding programs designed to save this Vulnerable species.

Sarah weighed about 13 pounds and had a body length of about 18 inches at birth. Her brown fur is covered in white stripes and blotches. In the South American forests where wild Tapirs live, these spots would offer camouflage in the sun-dappled woodlands.

IMAG0094Photo Credit: Wrocław Zoo

Sarah’s mother, 23-year-old Sonia, was also born at the Wrocław Zoo. Her father is 22-year-old Tapinos.

Though Tapirs usually live alone in the wild, the three Tapirs at Wrocław Zoo have formed a family group, with both adults caring for the calf. Sarah spends most of her time nursing or sleeping. While exploring or running, Sarah is still uncoordinated and might take a tumble. When this happens, Sonia is always at her baby’s side and checks to see if she is alright. If a stranger approaches, Sonia shields her baby with her body.

Sarah will eventually leave Wrocław Zoo for another facility, where she will be paired with a genetically-compatible mate. The goal of zoo breeding programs is to develop sustainable populations with high genetic diversity.  

South American Tapirs are one of five species of Tapirs living today. The others are the Mountain Tapir, Malayan Tapir, Baird’s Tapir, and Kabomani Tapir. They have short prehensile snouts, which aid in grabbing tender foliage to eat.

Poaching and habitat loss have caused Tapir numbers to decrease dramatically in recent years.

See more photos of Sarah below.

Continue reading "Sarah the Tapir Debuts at Wrocław Zoo" »

If You Give a Zoo a Pancake…


A Pancake Tortoise was recently hatched at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. The tortoise has been named Pamba and is an important addition to the Zoo as the species is classed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Gareth Bennett, Senior Presentation Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are very happy to be announcing the hatching of the first ever Pancake Tortoise to be born at the Zoo. The wild population is under threat due to young Pancake Tortoises being captured to be sold as pets. Pamba’s parents are an example of this as they joined us from Edinburgh Airport, where they had been seized by customs after being illegally imported. We welcomed them into our care and are very pleased to say they have thrived here.”

“Pamba’s birth is very important as it adds important genetic diversity to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, which is helping to safeguard the species from the decline in the wild.”



Pancake4Photo Credits: RZSS/Siân Addison

The Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is a species of flat-shelled tortoise in the family Testudinidae. The species is native to Tanzania and Kenya. Its common name refers to the flat shape of its shell. Aside from the pet trade, Pancake Tortoises are also under threat by continued destruction of their natural habitat for agricultural developments and overgrazing of domestic cattle and goats.

Pamba won’t be on show until the young tortoise is a little older, but visitors to the Zoo can see Pamba’s parents in the Wee Beasties exhibit.



Taronga Western Plains Zoo Is Twice as Lucky

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo welcomed the arrival of a female Black-handed Spider Monkey baby, just prior to Christmas, on December 21, 2017.

After a little more than seven months gestation, the yet-to-be-named baby arrived to first-time mother, Margarita, and father, Pedro. The birth followed the exciting arrival of baby Isadora on October 9, 2017. Isadora was the first Spider Monkey to be born at the Zoo in 16 years.

“We are very excited to announce the arrival of another healthy female Spider Monkey baby, marking a wonderful boost to the Spider Monkey breeding program,” Keeper Mel Friedman said. “The baby’s mother, Margarita, is one of the last female Spider Monkeys to be born at the Zoo, 16 years ago. She has been proving her skills as an excellent mother, and has been taking great care of the baby, who clings to her belly as Margarita swings around her island home.”

“Margarita is quite a private individual compared to Jai (Isadora’s mother), who is more social, but now and then, she allows her Keepers to see the baby up close, which is very special,” Friedman said.

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3 - Spider Monkey baby born 21 Dec 2017Photo Credits: Rick Stevens/Taronga Western Plains Zoo

After a hiatus from breeding the species, Keepers were optimistic about the potential for more babies following the arrival of breeding male, Pedro, from France in 2014.

“Pedro is a highly valuable Spider Monkey male in the Australia/New Zealand region due to his genetics, and he has certainly been a great addition to the breeding group,” Mel said. “We were delighted when baby Isadora arrived in October last year, so to have two babies born in a three-month period is fantastic,” she said.

Once the baby becomes more active later in the year, Keepers expect to see her interacting with Jai’s four-month-old baby, Isadora. Isadora is already starting to engage with the rest of the troop while riding on her mother’s back.

To date, fifteen Spider Monkey babies have been born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which is home to three sub-species of Black-handed Spider Monkeys. The best time to see them is at the “Spider Monkey Feed” which occurs at 12.50pm daily.

The Black-handed Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), also known as Geoffroy's Spider Monkey, is a species of New World monkey that is native to Central America, parts of Mexico and possibly a small portion of Colombia. There are at least five subspecies.

One of the largest New World monkeys, it often weighing as much as 9 kg (20 lbs.). The arms are significantly longer than its legs, and its prehensile tail can support the entire weight and is used as an extra limb. Its hands have only a vestigial thumb, but long, strong, hook-like fingers.

They reside in troops that contain between 20 and 42 members. Their diet consists primarily of ripe fruit, and they require large tracts of forest to survive. As a result of habitat loss, hunting and capture for the pet trade, the species is currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.

Elephant Calf Named in Traditional Indian Ceremony


Planckendael’s famous Asian Elephant, Kai-Mook, gave birth to her first calf on Saturday, January 13.

The playful, little female was recently given a name during a very special ceremony at Planckendael. The calf was given the name Tun Kai: ‘Tun’ means Saturday and refers to the day of her birth, and ‘Kai’ in honor of her mother.

This beautiful name was presented during a traditional Indian naming ceremony, during which the Indian priest Chandrakant of the BAPS Temple in Antwerp whispered the name in the calf’s ear. The special ceremony was in accordance with the tradition of Kerala, India, when a baby has his or her name whispered to them 28 days after their birth.

Planckendael asked fans to submit ideas for the name that would be given to the new elephant, and the Zoo received more than 1,700 suggestions. Finally, keepers agreed upon the name that was chosen.

(ZooBorns featured news of the birth in a January 15 article: "Belgium’s First-Born Elephant Welcomes First Calf")





6_pl8feb18jonasverhulst-naamgevingsceremonie-tun-kai-80-17Photo Credits: KMDA / Planckendael/ Jonas Verhulst (Images 1,2)

First-time mother, Kai-Mook, was born at ZOO Antwerp on May 17, 2009. She was the first elephant born in Belgium, and according to the Zoo, the whole country was “upside down” and in a festive mood at news of her birth almost a decade ago.

Planckendael plays an active role in the international breeding program for the endangered Asian Elephant. Since the birth of Kai-Mook in 2009, RZSA supports the corridor project of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) in India. In Thirunelli Valley, in South India, human and elephants compete for the same lands: the people want to live and grow crops, the elephants like undisturbed passage, without coming into contact with conspecifics. In South India, the ANCF corridors (walking lanes) are there solely for the elephants. Elephants try to keep away from villages and this provides people with an alternative piece of land elsewhere to edit. Thus, the harmony between man and animal is restored there.

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, the Asian Elephant has been classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.


Endangered Zebra Foals Frolic at Zoo Miami


On February 3rd, two endangered Grévy's Zebras were born at Zoo Miami!

The male and female foals were born after a gestation period of approximately 13 months. The female weighed in at a robust 115 pounds, while the male weighed a very healthy 110 pounds!

The mother of the female foal is 7-years-old and arrived at Zoo Miami from Zoo New England. The mother of the male is a 6-year-old that came from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. The father of both foals is an 18-year-old that formerly resided at White Oak Conservation Center in Northern Florida.  

After receiving a neonatal exam and having private time to bond with their mothers, both foals are now out on exhibit. The newborns have been exploring, running, and bucking throughout their exhibit: displaying their instinctive ability to move quickly, shortly after birth. This is the 21st and 22nd successful birth of this endangered species at Zoo Miami.



4_2Photo Credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami

The Grévy's Zebra (Equus grevyi), also known as the Imperial Zebra, is the largest living wild equid and the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra. Named after Jules Grévy, it is the sole extant member of the subgenus Dolichohippus. The Grévy's Zebra is found in Kenya and Ethiopia.

In addition to their larger size, they are distinguished from the other species of zebras by their large head and ears, along with their very thin stripes, which do not extend to the belly. They are found in very arid regions, in herds that can number from less than a dozen individuals to over 100. In captivity they can live to 20 years, but in the wild their lifespan is likely much less. They are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

More great pics below the fold!

Continue reading "Endangered Zebra Foals Frolic at Zoo Miami" »

Cleveland Welcomes Sixth Eastern Black Rhino Calf


Cleveland Metroparks Zoo recently welcomed its sixth Eastern Black Rhino calf. After a fifteen-month pregnancy, 14-year-old Kibibbi gave birth on February 7.

"Kibibbi's pregnancy announcement last year coincided [with] bringing our Future for Wildlife program and conservation work to the forefront," said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director, Chris Kuhar. "Over the past year, the community has taken action to support conservation efforts that protect the future for wildlife like the critically-endangered Eastern Black Rhino."

Baby_Rhino_02Photo & Video Credits: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Keepers report that mom and baby are doing well and have been under constant care by the Zoo's animal care team. In order to stimulate the mother-calf bond, Kibibbi and the calf will not be visible to the public for a period of time. During this time, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo looks forward to sharing more about the calf's development. At the appropriate time, guests will have a chance to see them for the first time in the Zoo's African Savannah destination. For behind-the-scenes updates, fans can check Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's social media channels.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also announced last month that, Igne, a 24-year-old Eastern Black Rhino, is pregnant and due this coming fall.

The Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) is also known as the East African Black Rhinoceros, and it is a subspecies of the Black Rhinoceros. Its numbers are very low due to poaching for its horn, and it is currently listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The new calf's birth is an important one for the species; of the 48 Eastern Black Rhinos located in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos in North America, four were born in 2017 and this is the first of 2018.

To learn more about Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's conservation community, visit their website: