After a two-year pregnancy, the wait is over for the Houston Zoo’s Asian Elephant, Shanti. On July 12, the 26-year-old gave birth to a 305-pound female.
The calf has been named Joy by the zoo team that has dedicated their lives to the care, wellbeing, and conservation of these incredible animals.
Baby elephants are quite wobbly when they’re first born, so the harness seen on the images and video of Joy assists the elephant team to help her stand-steady while she’s nursing.
Shanti gave birth in the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of keepers and veterinary staff. She and her calf underwent post-natal exams and are now spending several days bonding behind the scenes. During this important bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share key moments like communication and hitting weight goals.
“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, Vice President of Animal Operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Joy and Shanti bond, and introducing her to Houston.”
The Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) is one of Canada’s most endangered species. Its entire Canadian range occurs in southwestern British Columbia.
Though historic estimates suggest that as many as 1,000 Spotted Owls occurred in the province pre-European settlement, currently fewer than 30 individuals remain in Canada, with more than half of those owls residing at the NSO Breeding Facility in Langley, BC.
The primary threat to Spotted Owls is habitat loss and fragmentation through industrial activities and human expansion. Additional threats include competition from the similar Barred Owl that has invaded the Spotted Owl’s range in recent decades.
Photo Credits: Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Centre
The NSO Breeding Program began in 2007 with a founding population of six adult Spotted Owls. There are currently 20 Spotted Owls residing at the breeding facility, including four breeding pairs.
As this is the first and only breeding program for this species in the world, the team has had to overcome challenges to better understand the behaviors and husbandry techniques required to successfully breed this species. The Program applies husbandry techniques such as: double clutching, artificial incubation, and hand rearing to increase the number of eggs produced and to give chicks the best chance for survival.
The Program's mission is to prevent this species from becoming extirpated from Canada by releasing captive-raised Spotted Owls back into habitat protected for the species in the province.
During the 2017 breeding season the NSO Team welcomed two chicks, Chick B and Chick D. Chick B is the first offspring for newly formed pair, Sally and Watson. Chick D is the second born to Scud and Shania. Both chicks are second-generation captive born Spotted Owls, which gives the Program confidence that captive born owls will be able to reproduce successfully.
Both chicks were artificially incubated for 32 days prior to hatching, which took an additional 85 hours! The chicks finally hatched on April 12 and April 19, 2017 and were hand raised before being returned to their parents.
The chicks have continued to grow more and more each day and left their nests in late May. As of July, the chicks are now able to fly all over their aviaries, but still rely on Mom and Dad to bring them food. They will be full grown and independent from their parents in the Fall, at which time they will undergo a routine veterinary exam and the team at the facility will find out if they are male or female.
Belfast Zoo keepers have said ‘hello deer’ to a new arrival as one of their Southern Pudu has given birth!
The latest arrival was born to father, Mr Tumnus, and mother, Susan, on June 18.
The Southern Pudu originates from the lowland forests of Southern Chile and Southwest Argentina and is the smallest member of the deer family! Adults measure only 43 centimeters in height when fully grown and, at birth, a fawn is so small that it weighs less than a bag of sugar.
Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo
Senior keeper, Allan Galway, said “Although small in size, our fawn is massively important to Belfast Zoo and to the European breeding programme for the Southern Pudu. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers this species to be vulnerable to the threat of extinction and numbers in the wild have dramatically declined in recent years due to loss of habitat through deforestation, hunting and predation.”
Allan continued, “We have been giving Susan and her new arrival some space to bond, so have not yet determined the sex of the new arrival or given the fawn a name. When fawns are born they are a light brown color, and their fur is covered with small white spots. This helps the infant to camouflage in the undergrowth especially when they are left alone while the mother feeds.”
Belfast Zoo’s Southern Pudu family share their home with some other South American “amigos” including: Southern Screamers and Red Howler Monkeys.
Belfast Zoo visitors can now experience a new reptile and amphibian house. Summer visitors can also witness daily feeding times, a new visitor photography base camp, the Adventurers’ Learning Centre and can visit all the latest zoo babies.
Singapore Zoo is now home to one-tenth of the global population of endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos under human care, with the arrival of a female joey.
Born jellybean-sized between July and August last year to mother Blue, the female joey first showed a limb in January this year, before peeking out her hairless head later that same month.
Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
As she approaches her one year milestone, the joey is gradually introducing herself to the world. Although a little clumsy when she first started exploring life outside her mother’s pouch, she can now be seen frequently honing her jumping and climbing skills. While she continues to pop in for mommy’s milk every now and then, she is more content to munch on favorites such as tapioca, carrot, corn, and beans.
With this birth, Singapore Zoo becomes the proud guardian of five Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos: four adults plus the new joey.
The Tree Kangaroos are managed under a Global Species Management Plan (GSMP). The plan involves coordinated efforts of participating zoos in Australia, Europe, Japan, North America, and Singapore to keep Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos as a genetically diverse assurance population should there be a catastrophic decline in the wild population.
Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are native to the rain forests of New Guinea and Irian Jaya. They feed mainly on leaves, and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of a litter of five Eurasian Wolf cubs – the first to be born at the Park in its 47-year history.
For the first ten days of their lives, the cubs were hidden from sight in one of the underground dens their parents, Ash and Ember, had excavated. One night, after a heavy downpour of rain, Ember took her cubs out of the birthing den and placed them above ground to stay dry. This was the first time anyone had seen the cubs. Both Ember and Ash are devoted first-time parents and keepers are delighted that the youngsters are healthy.
Photo Credit: Jackie Thomas (images 1-6), Cotswold Wildlife Park (images 7-15)
The births were unexpected for the Wolves’ care team. Two-year old male Ash and three-year old female Ember arrived at the zoo just last year, and Wolves normally take a long time to form pair bonds. Additionally, females come into heat only once a year, between January and March.
Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park Jamie Craig said, “Our Wolves are a new pairing and we did not really expect a successful breeding so soon. They have settled well and at present, everything with the adults and cubs is going to plan – we are keeping our fingers crossed that it continues but we have more confidence with every day that passes. The cubs will form an important nucleus to the ‘pack’ for the coming years.”
Wolves generally pair for life. Mating takes place in late winter or early spring. After a gestation period of approximately sixty-two days, the alpha female gives birth to a litter (usually between four and six cubs). At birth, the cubs are blind and deaf and are reliant on their parents for survival. After 11 to 15 days, their eyes open. Cubs develop rapidly under the watchful eye of their mother. At five weeks, the cubs are beginning to wean off their mother’s milk but cannot immediately fend for themselves and require considerable parental care and nourishment.
The Eurasian Wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the largest Wolf subspecies and the largest found outside of the Americas. There are almost 40 Wolf subspecies including Arctic Wolf, Tundra Wolf, critically endangered Red Wolf, Dingo and the domestic Dog.
See more photos and learn more about Eurasian Wolves below.
The first cub has been with Mei-Li since birth and has grown as expected. The second cub was significantly smaller at birth, and after close observation, the decision was made to add supplemental feedings, hoping to allow the cub to stay with mom and sibling.
However, it became evident that the second cub was going to need additional care and support and was subsequently removed for hand rearing by Animal Care staff. This cub is now gaining weight appropriately, though additional health concerns have come to light. At this point, staff will be moving forward with the current care plan and will wait for the cub to become healthier before putting it back with Mei-Li.
Photo Credits: Binghamton Zoo
The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN because its population has declined by 50% over the past 20 years. This decline is primarily due to deforestation, which eliminates red pandas’ nesting sites and sources of food. Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Binghamton Zoo participates in several Species Survival Plans (SSP), ensuring the long-term health and survival of captive species, including the Red Panda.
Red Pandas can be found in the Himalayan Mountains in parts of Buma, Nepal, India, and China. Contrary to popular belief, Red Pandas are not related to the Giant Panda, but are closely related to the raccoon family.
Red Pandas spend most of their days sleeping in trees and are most active at nighttime. They are herbivores, eating berries, leaves, grains, nuts, fruits, flowers, and bird eggs.
Litter size ranges from one to four young. The young remain nest-bound for about 90 days after birth and reach their adult size at about 12 months. The maximum lifespan for Red Pandas is about 14 years.
According to Zoo staff, Cub A is on exhibit, but may not be visible for several weeks until it is big enough to climb out of the nest box. Cub B will continue to be off exhibit while under veterinary care.
The Zoo will soon host a gender reveal party and will be hosting a naming contest. Fans can also follow the growth of the Red Panda cubs via the Binghamton Zoo’s website: www.rossparkzoo.com/red-panda-cubs
It may only weigh a few pounds, but two of the biggest features of the Tennessee Aquarium’s newest Gentoo Penguin chick have already earned it an unofficial nickname.
Born on June 5 to experienced parents Bug and Big T., the large feet of the newest addition to Penguins’ Rock immediately inspired the moniker “Big Foot.”
“Our animal trainer Holly Gibson chose that name, and it is very fitting,” says Senior Aviculturist Loribeth Lee. “Besides his belly, the feet are the biggest thing on this guy right now! Penguin chicks have almost comically large feet until they grow into them. Having big feet helps Penguins to balance while they are so oddly shaped.”
This nickname is just a placeholder. It will be replaced by an official name, chosen from a crop of keeper-selected alternatives, during a public contest on the Aquarium’s Facebook page later this year.
Aquarium staff began noticing signs that the new chick was breaking out of its egg, a process called “pipping,” at 8 a.m. on June 5. The baby Gentoo was fully hatched at 3:30 p.m., a faster-than-average pace, Lee says.
The chick’s gender will remain indeterminate until November, when it can be properly assessed by staff during the colony’s next round of semi-annual physical exams. A drop of the chick’s blood will be sent to a lab, and the DNA results will be available a few days later.
For now, the Aquarium’s Penguin experts are closely monitoring the chick’s growth and health, Lee says.
“The first four weeks of a chick’s life are the most concerning, as there are lots of obstacles to overcome,” she says. “We will continue to keep a close eye on this little bird, especially making sure the nest stays clean and the chick continues to get fed by both parents.”
Until the arrival of its waterproof adult feathers in six to seven weeks, the chick will remain safely corralled with its parents behind a clear, acrylic “play pen.” This barrier around the nest keeps nosey neighbors at flipper’s length away and prevents the baby Penguin from accidentally tumbling into the water.
Despite the uncertainty of this early period in its development, so far the chick has exhibited robust vitals and a healthy appetite. And it is gaining weight at a healthy rate, which indicates the chick’s body should start catching up with its enormous feet soon.
“We like to see the chicks on the higher end of the weight range, as if they do have a drop in weight at any point, then it is less critical than a bird who is on the low end of the weight range,” she says.
The chick’s parents, Bug and Big T., are one of the exhibit’s most prolific breeding pairs, having successfully hatched four chicks: Roxie, Bobber, Rodan and Terk. In all, the residents of Penguins’ Rock have hatched 20 chicks since 2009.
“Even after seeing over 20 chicks hatch here, it never gets old,” Lee says. “It’s so exciting to have a new young one in the group and watching our guests enjoy their progress! The best part of my job is seeing thriving birds in the exhibit, and this one seems to be doing well so far.”
The chick will reach its full, adult size when it is about 75 days old and its full adult weight a few months later after its swim muscles develop.
The Detroit Zoological Society’s (DZS) conservation breeding program for the Wyoming Toad continues to make strides for this federally endangered amphibian. Seven hundred tadpoles have been produced in the Detroit Zoo’s National Amphibian Conservation Center and were scheduled to be shipped to Wyoming on July 5 for eventual release into the wild.
“It’s exciting to share our continued success with this program. We’ve had recording-breaking years in the past and are committed to ensuring the survival of this species as well as many others,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer. “Amphibians are the most endangered animals in the world, with more than 40 percent of all species at risk.”
The tadpoles were scheduled to be released into a protected Wyoming wetland in the Laramie Basin, where they will hopefully metamorphose into toadlets. The metamorphosis usually occurs in mid-July, and takes approximately four to five weeks.
Photo Credits: Jennie Miller / Detroit Zoo
The Wyoming Toad (Anaxyrus baxteri) is a dark brown, gray or greenish amphibian with small, dark blotches. The average length is 2.2 inches, with the females slightly larger than the males.
Once abundant in the wetlands and irrigated meadows of Wyoming’s southeastern plains, the Wyoming Toad was listed as extinct in 1994, meaning populations are no longer producing offspring that survive to adulthood in the wild. The cause of the decline is not well understood, but it is likely that more than one factor contributed to the situation in the past, with habitat loss and infectious diseases suspected as major drivers.
In 2007, the DZS’s collaborative breeding program for the Wyoming Toad was “No.1” on the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ list of the Top 10 wildlife conservation success stories. The breeding partnership has successfully released more than 8,000 tadpoles, toadlets and toads in Wyoming since the program’s inception in 1995. Once released, these latest tadpoles should add to that number.
The National Amphibian Conservation Center opened at the Detroit Zoo in 2000 and was distinguished as the first major conservation facility dedicated entirely to conserving and exhibiting amphibians. It houses a spectacular diversity of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians – including the Wyoming Toad. Dubbed “Disneyland for toads” by The Wall Street Journal, this award winning, state-of-the-art facility is world renowned for amphibian conservation, care, exhibition and research.
The Minnesota Zoo is excited to welcome a new male Puma kitten, named Landslide, to their Medtronic Minnesota Trail exhibit.
“We are excited about giving our guests a chance to see this energetic young male Puma kitten on the Minnesota Trail,” says Tom Ness, curator for the Tropics and Medtronic Minnesota Trails. “We take our mission to save wildlife very seriously here at the Minnesota Zoo and we are so grateful we are able to provide him with a great home.”
The male Puma kitten was found orphaned after a landslide in NE Washington earlier this spring and was initially cared for by the Oregon Zoo. He made the journey to his new home at the Minnesota Zoo in early May, and Zoo veterinarians have been caring for the kitten behind the scenes to ensure he is healthy and stable. The young Puma was scheduled to finish his last round of kitten vaccines last week, and vet staff and zookeepers report he is thriving in his new home.
Photo Credits: Tyler Birschbach/Minnesota Zoo
This is the second successful Puma (kitten) public debut for the Minnesota Zoo this year. An older Puma, named Sequim, that was also orphaned and rescued as a young kitten outside the Port Angeles, Washington area, made his public debut along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail earlier this year. The Medtronic Minnesota Trail is also home to several other rescued animals such as: three Black Bears, five Gray Wolves, a Bald Eagle, a Porcupine and more.
The young Puma will be on-exhibit daily from 9 am until approximately 1 pm. He will rotate exhibit time with Sequim.
Puma is a genus in Felidae (Felis concolor). Probably due to their wide range across North and South America, Pumas have multiple names they are known by, including Cougar and Mountain Lion.
Pumas can run up to 43 mph, jump more than 20 feet from standing, and leap up to 16 feet straight up.
Although they can make a wide range of cat noises (hisses, growls, purrs), Pumas cannot roar. Instead, they are known for their distinctive “scream-like” calls during mating, but are often extremely stealthy and go unheard.
Although they have been pushed into smaller habitats by human settlement expansion, members of this genus have been formally classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Their success in the wild, thus far, is due to their adaptation to changing habitat conditions.
It’s a birth for the record books at the Memphis Zoo! A male François’ Langur was born to mom, Tanah, and dad, Jay Jay, on April 12.
According to the François’ Langur Species Survival Plan (SSP), the leading authority on the total François’ Langur population, 22-year-old Tanah is the oldest Langur in captivity to give birth. In honor of this record-breaking fact, the new infant has been named Ripley...a nod to the quintessential purveyor of amazing facts: “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”.
“This is our third François' Langur birth in three years,” said Courtney Janney, Curator of Large Mammals. “These animals live in social groups, and their young are raised communally. Tanah is taking very good care of him, but sisters Jean Grey and Raven spend a lot of time helping out by carrying him around!”
Photo Credits: Greg James / Memphis Zoo
Visitors to the Memphis Zoo’s François’ Langur exhibit will be able to spot little Ripley quite easily. When they’re born, Langur infants are bright orange. As they get older, their orange slowly fades into the black coat that all adults have.
Ripley and his parents are currently on exhibit, along with sisters: Raven, Rook, and Jean Grey.
The François' Langur (Trachypithecus francoisi), also known as the Francois' Leaf Monkey, Tonkin Leaf Monkey, or White Side-burned Black Langur, is a species of lutung belonging to the Colobinae subfamily.
The species is a native of Southwestern China to northeastern Vietnam. The species is named after Auguste François (1857–1935), who was the French Consul at Lungchow in southern China.
The François' Langur is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The population has been on a steady decline for the past 30 years. Of the many factors threatening their survival, hunting has had the largest impact.
The Memphis Zoo has housed François’ Langurs since 2002.