Belfast Zoo Says 'Hola' to Their New Babies

1_(9)  Call by the zoo this weekend and spot Belfast Zoo's latest arrivals.

Belfast Zoo keepers are saying ‘hola’ to two Capybara babies! The twins were born to mother, Lola, and father, Chester, on April 2.

The Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is a South American mammal that resembles a giant Guinea Pig. They are the largest rodents in the world and measure up to 130 centimeters in length (4.2 feet).

The scientific name for this species “hydrochaeris” is Greek for ‘water hog’. This refers to the fact that the Capybara is a semi-aquatic mammal.

The species is native to Central and South American riverbanks, ponds, and marshes. When the Capybara swims, its eyes, ears and nostrils are positioned above the water to help with vision and breathing. This unusual animal has webbed feet and can even hold its breath for up to five minutes underwater!

2_(1)  Belfast Zoo keepers are saying ‘hola’ to more new arrivals as two capybara have been born!

3_(2)  The capybara babies were born on 2 April 2018 and are beginning to explore their home with their family.

4_(3)  Capybara are the largest rodents in the world and closely resemble giant guinea pigs.Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

The arrival of the two latest Capybara babies means that Belfast Zoo is now home to a total of thirteen. In the wild, these rodents live in large family groups of ten to 40 individuals. They are incredibly vocal and communicate through barks, whistles, huffs and purrs.

Zoo Curator, Raymond Robinson, said, "Our Capybaras share their home with some other South American 'amigos', including Giant Anteaters and Darwin's Rhea. While the Capybara is not currently classified as an endangered species, it is hunted and poached for its meat and skin. It is important that zoos, such as Belfast Zoo, help to raise awareness of this species and the increasing dangers which Capybara face in their natural habitat. We have no doubt that our South American babies will soon be a firm favourite with visitors!"

Continue reading "Belfast Zoo Says 'Hola' to Their New Babies" »


Zoo Miami Celebrates the Birth of Two Females

1_Giant Eland 2

Zoo Miami recently announced the birth of two new bovid calves!

On April 19th, after approximately nine months of gestation, a rare Giant Eland was born. The female calf weighed-in at 62 pounds. She is the third calf for the 6-year-old mother and is the 4-year-old father’s first calf, at Zoo Miami.

After remaining off exhibit for a short time to insure that baby and mother had bonded well, they were introduced to their exhibit to join the rest of the herd. Zoo staff reports that both mother and baby are doing very well and adjusting to the exhibit.

Giant Eland (Taurotragus derbianus) are the world’s largest antelope with males often weighing over 2,000 pounds. Females are significantly smaller. They are found in small areas of the savannahs and woodlands of Central Africa. They are currently listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, with major threats being habitat destruction and hunting for their meat.

2_Giant Eland 7

3_Giant Eland 5

4_Giant Eland 4

5_Giant Eland 3

6_Giant Eland 8Photo Credits: Ron Magill/ Zoo Miami

On April 23rd, a female Sable Antelope was born at Zoo Miami. The newborn weighed 35 pounds and was the fourth offspring for her 9-year-old mother. Like the Giant Eland, Sable Antelopes have a pregnancy of approximately nine months.

Sable Antelope (Hippotragus niger) are found in savannah woodlands of Eastern Africa, south of Kenya, and down into South Africa. They are considered one of the most majestic and beautiful of the world’s antelopes. Males can weigh close to 600 pounds. They have majestic ridged horns that curve backwards and can approach four feet long. Females are slightly smaller. The males can become a jet-black color, with contrasting white markings on their face when sexually mature, and the females are dark brown.

Though they are not endangered, their population has been substantially reduced from their historic range due to habitat loss and hunting. They are currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN.

Both new girls are on-exhibit daily at Zoo Miami.

 7_Sable 2More great pics of the Sable Antelope calf, below the fold!

Continue reading "Zoo Miami Celebrates the Birth of Two Females" »


Dyeing Dart Frog Eggs Hatch at Stone Zoo

DyeingDartFrogEggs

April is National Frog Month, and Stone Zoo is celebrating their first successful hatching of Dyeing Dart Frog eggs.

The eggs require special care to reach the tadpole stage. The water conditions must be just right. The first little tadpole (in photo below) has been named Thad. He shares his aquarium with a snail named Chad.

DyeingDartFrogTadpole2
DyeingDartFrogTadpole2Photo Credit: Stone Zoo

The tadpoles breathe with gills underwater. They gradually develop legs, then lungs. and they metamorphose into adult Frogs. Along with Toads and Salamanders, Frogs are Amphibians. Amphibians are known as indicator species, because they can absorb environmental toxins through their skin. Ecosystems with large numbers of Amphibians are generally healthy.

Dyeing Dart Frogs are a type of Dart-poison Frog. These Frogs live in the moist forests of Guyana, Surname, Brazil, and French Guiana, where they feed on ants, mites, and termites.  Chemicals from their prey are accumulated in the Frogs’ skin glands, rendering the Frogs poisonous to the touch.

There are more than 170 species of Dart-Poison Frogs.  About four of those species have been documented as being used to create poisonous blowdarts. To create these poisonous darts, indigenous peoples apply the Frogs’ skin secretions to the darts’ tips.

In the video above, a Magnificent Tree Frog, native to Australia, munches on crickets. Zoo keepers use the crickets to lure the Frogs from their hiding places each morning, allowing the staff to account for each Frog under their care.

Stone Zoo is a partner in the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, which works to protect existing amphibian populations and introduce captive-bred Frogs into the wild.

 


Orphaned Baby Manatees Find Refuge at Columbus Zoo

Manatees (Female and Heavy Falcon) 3145 - Grahm S

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed two rehabilitating Manatees on April 24. The two new additions, one male and one female, became the 28th and 29th Manatees to be rehabilitated at the Columbus Zoo since the zoo’s involvement in the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) began in 2001.

Manatees (Group) 3412 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Manatees (Group) 3412 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The 143-pound male calf is named “Heavy Falcon” – a nod to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch that took place on February 6, 2018, which was also the day he was rescued. Heavy Falcon was found as an orphan in Crystal River, Florida and was taken to SeaWorld Orlando to begin his rehabilitation journey.

The female calf does not yet have a name and was rescued on February 8, 2018 with her mother off the coast of Florida. The female calf showed signs of cold stress, while her mother was negatively buoyant. Unfortunately, the calf’s mother succumbed to her serious injuries just two days after her rescue, leaving the female calf an orphan. After also beginning her rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando with Heavy Falcon, both Manatees have stabilized and will continue to recover in Columbus before their eventual releases into Florida waters.

The two new arrivals are now living in the zoo’s 300,000-gallon Manatee Coast pool. Both Manatees will also have access to behind-the-scenes areas as they continue to adjust to their new environment.

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a second-stage rehabilitation facility that provides a temporary home for Manatees until they are ready for release back to the wild.

See more photos of the calves below.

Continue reading "Orphaned Baby Manatees Find Refuge at Columbus Zoo" »


Spring Babies Abound at Los Angeles Zoo

4.2 female ocelot kittensOcelot/Los Angeles Zoo 

Spring means lots of new babies at the Los Angeles Zoo!  Guests can now observe two Sichuan Takin calves and two Chacoan Peccary piglets out in their habitats while an Eastern Bongo calf, two Ocelot kittens, and seven Peninsular Pronghorn fawns remain behind the scenes bonding with their mothers for a few more weeks.

2.2 peccary piglet with adult photo by Jamie PhamPeccary/Jamie Pham
3.4 takin calf photo by Jamie PhamTakin/Jamie Pham

"The Zoo does tend to see a rise in animal babies each spring, but there is a lot more thought and careful planning that goes into the process than one might think," said Beth Schaefer, General Curator at the Los Angeles Zoo. "A majority of our offspring this season are all members of Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs which aim to keep the North American populations of these species sustainable while also creating an insurance population, so these animals don't disappear from the planet."  

One insurance population currently thriving at the L.A. Zoo is a breeding group of Peninsular Pronghorn, a species of antelope native to Baja California Sur, Mexico. The Zoo recently welcomed seven Peninsular Pronghorn fawns, born between March 4 and April 8. In 2002, the L.A. Zoo joined the Peninsular Pronghorn Recovery Project in the Vizcaino Desert Biosphere Reserve of Baja California Sur, Mexico because the species’ numbers were dwindling in the wild due to hunting, habitat destruction, and cattle ranching.

On April 4, the L.A. Zoo celebrated the birth of two endangered Chacoan Peccary piglets. These medium-sized animals are found primarily in Paraguay and Bolivia, and they have a strong resemblance to pigs. Chacoan peccaries are social animals that live in small herds of up to 10 individuals, and they are known for their tough snouts and rooting abilities. The L.A. Zoo is currently working with the only conservation project in existence for this endangered species called the Chaco Center for the Conservation and Research (CCCI) and hopes to help care for and breed this species whose numbers are dwindling primarily due to habitat loss and hunting.

More photos and video below.

Continue reading "Spring Babies Abound at Los Angeles Zoo" »


Rare Baby Fishing Cat Arrives By Cesarean Delivery

XxFB Fishing Cat Cub 3

A rare Fishing Cat kitten is being hand-reared after he was born by cesarean delivery at Oklahoma City Zoo.

The baby was born on March 31 after his mother, Miri, surpassed her expected due date. The gestation period for Fishing Cats is between 63 and 70 days. Eleven-year-old Miri was five days past her due date and showed no signs of entering labor. The zoo’s veterinary and carnivore teams chose to intervene to ensure that her pregnancy was viable. Although the first-time mother was closely monitored by her caretakers throughout the entire pregnancy, the risks associated with waiting for a natural birth became far too great for Miri and her kitten.

Fishing Cat Cub 13
Fishing Cat Cub 13Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

This was the first cesarean delivery of a Fishing Cat in the zoo’s history. The entire procedure lasted three hours and consisted of an ultrasound, radiographs, bloodwork, a physical exam and the cesarean delivery, which resulted in the birth of a male kitten. The kitten is the first offspring of Miri and 3-year-old Boon.

For approximately 1 hour after his birth, the kitten, weighing 164 grams (0.4 pounds), needed help breathing. After two days in the animal hospital, the kitten’s health was stable, and his care team decided that he could be introduced to mom Miri.

Unfortunately, when the kitten was placed with Miri, she displayed no signs of maternal care. The veterinary and carnivore teams began hand-rearing the kitten.

Continue reading "Rare Baby Fishing Cat Arrives By Cesarean Delivery" »


Newborn Lemur Saved by Zoo Vets

White belted ruffed lemur baby - Wild Place Project (3)

Veterinarians and keepers carried out a rare procedure to save the life of a Critically Endangered newborn Lemur at Wild Place Project.

They stepped in just hours after the tiny White-belted Ruffed Lemur and his two siblings were born.  The babies’ mother, Ihosy, was not showing any interest in them. The little Lemurs, each smaller than a stick of butter, were getting cold and dehydrated.

White belted ruffed lemurs begin to suckle
White belted ruffed lemurs begin to sucklePhoto Credit: Wild Place Project

After the smallest of three died, the staff decided to take the unusual step of intervening to try to save the other two. Ihosy was given a mild anesthetic and taken with her babies to the animal care center at Wild Place Project, which is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society.

As Ihosy slept peacefully, the team placed the two babies on her belly so they could begin feeding. One of the babies was too weak and later died, but the third pulled through and is now feeding regularly and is being cared for by Ihosy.

Zoo veterinarian Sara Shopland said, “Ihosy reared two babies last year and was a good mum so we didn’t expect this complication. This is quite a rare procedure and it’s not something we commonly do but we decided we had to act.”

Ihosy and her surviving baby are now in their nest box at Wild Place Project where vets and keepers are keeping regular checks on them.

Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place project, said, “Ihosy is now looking after her surviving baby and all the signs are good. It was a great effort by my team and the vet team and we are so pleased that one of the triplets has survived.”

Every White-belted Ruffed Lemur is crucially important to the future of the subspecies which has undergone a population decline of 80 percent in just 21 years. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature now considers them to be at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

The main threats to the species in the wild are habitat loss due to slash-and-burn and commercial agriculture, logging and mining, as well as hunting for meat.

See more photos of the newborn Lemur below.

Continue reading "Newborn Lemur Saved by Zoo Vets" »


Rescued Little Penguins Return to the Sea

Please Credit Photographer Sarah Lievore (4)
On April 17, Taronga Wildlife Hospital staff released five healthy Little Penguins into the sea after nursing them back to health in Sydney, Australia.

The birds arrived at Taronga from nearby beaches over the past two months. Injuries included dehydration, a fishing hook injury and a broken foot.

IMG_1359
IMG_1359

Photo Credit: Sarah Lievore

Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall said, “Most of the penguins were brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital by members of the community who saw them in difficulty and took action. The community’s awareness of Little Penguins and other wildlife is increasing all the time and by acting quickly, they give us the best chance to help the birds through difficult times.”

The penguins were nicknamed by the Taronga Wildlife Hospital:

  • Bondi, found on Bondi Beach
  • Footsie, found in Newcastle on Stockton Beach
  • Nigel, found Chowder Bay in Mosman
  • Margaret, found in Maroubra
  • Collin, found on Collins Beach in Manly

Penguins hunt for fish as they swim in the ocean. Little Penguins become vulnerable during their annual molt, when their waterproof feathers fall out in clumps. Until their new feathers grow in, they cannot enter the water to capture fish. Because the Penguins do not feed during the molting period, they become emaciated and weak so are vulnerable to domestic pets, most particularly dogs.

The colony of Little Penguins at Manly in Sydney Harbor is the last remaining on the mainland of New South Wales. This population is protected and numbers only about 60 pairs. Other nearby colonies are located on offshore islands, which offer the Penguins some protection from pressure from humans and domestic pets.

Little Penguins are found in habitats along Australia’s southern coast and on the shores of Tasmania. These birds are also present on the southern coast of New Zealand. Several colonies have declined over the past decades, mostly due to human interference and predation. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

People can help Little Penguins at beaches by keeping dogs on leashes, not leaving rubbish including fishing line hooks around and protecting habitat at the shoreline.

See more photos of the Penguin release below.

Continue reading "Rescued Little Penguins Return to the Sea" »


Capron Park Zoo Welcomes Fennec Fox Trio

1_image1

Capron Park Zoo, in Attleboro, MA, excitedly announced the birth of three Fennec Fox kits!

Two females and one male were born on March 7 to five-year-old mom, Hannah, and two-year-old dad, Taz. According to Zoo staff, this the second litter for the parents.

The playful siblings are starting to venture out of the den and can be seen on exhibit with mom and dad.

2_1 wk of age

3_2 wks of age A

4_2 wks of agePhoto Credits: Dan DiBattista

The Fennec Fox or Fennec (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat.

The Fennec is the smallest species of canid. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to desert environments. Their large ears and sensitive hearing allow them to hear prey moving underground. Their diet consists mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.

The Fennec has a life span of up to 14 years in captivity. In the wild, their main predators are the African varieties of eagle owl. Families of Fennecs dig out dens in sand for habitation and protection, which can be as large as 120 m2 (1,292 sq. ft.) and join the neighboring dens.

Fennec Foxes are social and mate for life, with each pair (or family) controlling their own territory. Sexual maturity is reached at around nine months old. In the wild, mating usually occurs between January and February for litters born between March and April. However, in captivity most litters are born later, between March and July, although births can occur year round. The species usually breeds only once each year.

Gestation is usually between 50 and 52 days but may be longer in captivity. The typical litter is between one and four kits, with weaning taking place at around 61 to 70 days. When born, the kit's ears are folded over and its eyes are closed, with the eyes opening at around ten days and the ears lifting soon afterward.

More great pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Capron Park Zoo Welcomes Fennec Fox Trio" »


National Zoo Welcomes Western Lowland Gorilla

1_gorillas_calaya_and_moke_dsc01824

For the first time in nine years, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is celebrating the birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. The baby boy was born on April 15 and has been named Moke [Mo-KEY], which means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language.

The 15-year-old mother, Calaya, and 26-year-old father, Baraka, bred in summer 2017 following a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Keepers have observed Calaya nursing the clinging infant, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive. The Great Ape House is currently closed to provide Calaya a private space to bond with her infant.

2_gorillas_calaya_and_moke_dsc01829

3_gorillas_calaya_and_moke_dsc01840

4_img_4503_15apr18_msPhoto Credits: Matt Spence/ Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Using a human pregnancy test in the Fall of 2017, keepers confirmed that Calaya had successfully conceived. The team also trained Calaya to participate voluntarily in ultrasounds, so they have been able to monitor fetal growth and development throughout the pregnancy. On November 3, the Zoo finally announced her pregnancy and has been providing updates via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GorillaStory. The Zoo will continue to share updates, photos and videos of the infant’s development.

“The birth of this Western Lowland Gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates. “The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother. Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya.”

Continue reading "National Zoo Welcomes Western Lowland Gorilla" »