Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Celebrates New Penguin Chick

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo recently celebrated the hatching of a healthy African Penguin chick on December 13.

When the new chick hatched, it weighed approximately 51 grams, or just shy of 2 ounces (about the same as two slices of bread). Thanks to successful care by its first-time parents, it has already grown to about 2.5 pounds, or 40 ounces, in just over a month. That means the chick has grown by 20 times its initial hatch weight in approximately 35 days.

“Even at just over 30 days old, it’s already pretty feisty,” said Patty Wallace, lead Aquatics animal keeper. “That’s a good sign, since it’s a natural defense mechanism for chicks in the wild.”

The chick is being cared for by its parents, Murphy and Joe, in an off-exhibit area for now and is not currently viewable to the public. Once the chick molts for the first time and grows its adult feathers, it will be safe for it to be socialized with the rest of the flock in the main exhibit. Until the adult feathers come in, the chick doesn’t have waterproof protection, so it needs to be kept away from the exhibit’s pool for safety.

Keepers named the chick “Penny”. Although they will not know the gender of the chick until DNA testing is conducted, this unisex name serves as a nod to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s founder, Spencer Penrose, and the fact that the Zoo considers the chick their “lucky Penny.”

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3_IMG_20161231_133141154Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Although the Zoo has had previous Penguin hatchlings, past chicks were, unfortunately, not viable past 10 days. However, the Zoo felt that it was still important to allow the birds to do what came naturally by laying eggs, and keepers saw the egg incubating experience as helpful to the adults in the flock.

Veterinarians and Penguin experts are not sure why the offspring have been unsuccessful until now. However, several theories trace back to the Zoo’s aging Hippo and Penguin exhibit that was built in 1959. The Zoo is currently working to address those concerns with a $10.4 million capital campaign called Making Waves, which will fund new state-of-the-art buildings for both Hippos and Penguins.

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Cincinnati Zoo’s ‘Baby New Year’ Is Announced

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The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s first baby of 2017 is a Guereza Colobus. The little snow-white baby was born two weeks ago to first time mom, Adanna, and dad, Tiberius. Keepers report the infant is strong, alert and nursing. Once the sex is determined, a name will be given.

The species is a type of monkey once thought to be abnormal because it has no thumb, only a stub where the digit would usually be.

“Tiberius was born here and lived most of his 21 years in a bachelor group that included his father and brothers. Caring for this all-male group was best for the North American Colobus population, but also meant taking a multi-year break from breeding,” said Ron Evans, Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of primates. “With the Cincinnati line out of the breeding population for all those years, Tiberius became one of the most eligible bachelors in the population after he outlived his siblings,”

Four-year-old Adanna arrived at Cincinnati Zoo in 2015, along with another young female, on a breeding recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a body that manages populations in Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

“Their [the two females] playful nature rubbed off and we saw lots of lighthearted play behavior between the three of them,” said Evans. “Tiberius is in his senior years, so it’s significant that his genes are now represented in the North American Zoo population.”

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4_colobus-7Photo Credits: Cincinnati Zoo

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Tierpark Berlin Determines Sex of New Polar Bear

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Tierpark Berlin’s Polar Bear, Tonja, gave birth to a cub on November 3, 2016. Zoo officials announced that keepers were recently allowed to carry out their first physical exam of the cub.

Dr. Andreas Knieriem (veterinarian and Park Director), Detlef Balkow (keeper), and Dr. Günter Strauß (veterinarian) entered the nesting box to carry out the examination. The young bear was weighed, chipped and dewormed. The team was also able to finally determine the new Polar Bear is a male!

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4_csm_ErsteUntersuchung_Eisbaerjungtier_TierparkBerlin2017__6__17c68577aaPhoto Credits: Tierpark Berlin

For about seven weeks, keepers worked to prepare Tonja for the exam day. Andrea Fleischer, zoo veterinarian, slowly approached the stable of the young Polar Bear family and conducted daily visits.

In order to ensure that the small offspring could be safely examined, mom Tonja was also temporarily locked into the neighboring box. There she was kept busy with snacks of grapes, carrots and meat.

According to the examination team, the Polar Bear baby has developed quite fantastically. Thanks to the extremely nutritious mother's milk, with a fat content of 30%, the baby has grown rapidly in recent weeks. Keepers report, at the moment, he nurses for about three hours.

The little male was measured by the team and is currently 67 cm from the nose to the tail tip, and the bear now weighs-in at 4.6 kg.

"It was a great pleasure for me to be able to be part of the first vet check of our young Polar Bear. The little one struggled and was very curious, "notes Dr. Knieriem. "So, keeping a small Polar Bear on the arm is always a special experience."

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Ocelot Kitten Starts the New Week with a New Name

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The Buffalo Zoo recently announced the birth of their newest Brazilian Ocelot kitten. The adorable little male was born on November 17 to mom, Ayla (age 6), and dad, Pedro (age 12).

The Zoo has been sharing sweet videos, via social media, of the new guy at play, but one thing has been missing…a name! Keepers compiled a list of four potential names and recently asked the public to assist in the voting. The four possible monikers were: Javiar, Nico, Pablo, and Tacito.

The contest recently ended, and the final votes were tallied. The winning name, with 68% of the votes, is…Nico!

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1_15994525_10154350376678995_8544600553783491020_oPhoto Credits: Buffalo Zoo

Nico is the second kitten born to Ayla and Pedro. Their first offspring was born in 2013.

Learn more about Nico’s mom Ayla, and the work being done to help save this beautiful species, in this past ZooBorns article: “Brazilian Ocelot Births Help Conservation and Research” .

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Elephant Birth Caught on Camera at Chester Zoo

It's a boy! Second rare Asian elephant born in a month sparks joy at Chester Zoo (19)
A rare Asian Elephant has been born at Chester Zoo, and the whole delivery - as well as the first moments between the baby and the herd - were caught on closed-circuit TV.

The male calf arrived to 20-year-old Sithami Hi Way on January 17 after a 22-month gestation and a 20-minute labor.  Keepers – who stayed up late to monitor the birth live on CCTV - say mom and her calf, who is yet to be named, are doing well.  The healthy new arrival was born onto soft sand and was on his feet and nursing within minutes.

In the video, you can see Sithami stimulating her newborn calf and encouraging him to get up by kicking up sand around him.  The rest of the herd then gathers around and helps the baby up.

It's a boy! Second rare Asian elephant born in a month sparks joy at Chester Zoo (13)
It's a boy! Second rare Asian elephant born in a month sparks joy at Chester Zoo (3)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

The calf has been welcomed by the rest of the Elephant herd, including his future playmates:  one-month-old baby Indali Hi Way and one-year-old half-sister Nandita Hi Way.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Chester Zoo conservationists are working in India to protect the species from human-wildlife conflict. The new calf is an invaluable addition to the breeding program for this species.

Asian Elephants are threatened by habitat loss due to logging, agricultural and urban development; poaching for ivory, disease, and conflict with humans. As their natural habitat is lost, more animals are wandering into farmed areas causing crop damage. Increasing numbers of people have also died as a result of Elephant encounters, leading to retaliatory hunting by some communities.

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Red Panda Cub Gets a Helping Hand at Taronga Zoo

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A Red Panda cub is making a remarkable recovery at Taronga Zoo with the help of a surrogate mom and a cuddly soft toy.

The two-month-old female cub, named Maiya, gets round-the-clock care after sustaining a neck injury while being carried in her mother’s mouth.

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Red Panda Cub 6_Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credit:  Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo

“She’s definitely a little survivor,” said Tamara Gillies, Maiya’s primary keeper. “She’s guzzling down her milk formula, she’s gaining weight every day and the wound on her neck has almost completely healed.”

The cub has also found a fluffy new friend in the form of a soft toy Red Panda, which she clings to while feeding and sleeping.

“The soft toy gives her something with a familiar scent to snuggle and play with. It’s the same color as a real Red Panda and she clings to it using her claws and teeth as she would do with her mum,” said Tamara.

Maiya, whose name means “little girl” in Nepali, was born at Taronga on November 20, 2016 to first-time parents Amala and Pabu. The cub spent her first five weeks in mother Amala’s care before keepers made the difficult decision to intervene.

“It was a hard choice as we’d always prefer for a cub to be raised by its mother. Amala was doing an amazing job for a first-time mum. She was very attentive and we observed all the right suckling and grooming behaviours, but unfortunately the injury to the cub’s neck required urgent veterinary care,” said Tamara.

Tamara said it’s not uncommon for Red Panda cubs to experience neck wounds as mothers often carry their young by the scruff of the neck.

Maiya will remain in Tamara’s constant care for at least another month, but keepers are already taking steps to gradually reintroduce the cub to her parents.

Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan Mountains, where they dwell in the forests.  They feed primarily on bamboo and are in decline due to shrinking habitat.

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Zoo Basel’s Zebra Filly Plays With Purpose

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A female Grant’s Zebra, named Niara, was born at Zoo Basel on December 16. Her name means ‘one with high purpose’, and this lively little girl can be found out-and-about, with purpose, in the Africa Enclosure.

This little mare is the first offspring for mom, Jua (age 5). Initially, the inexperienced mother was unsure of little Niara stretching her head under her mother’s stomach from the side to nurse. Hunger made Niara creative, and she eventually was successful in her attempts by reaching from the back.

Niara’s father, Tibor (age 7), is also a member of the Zoo’s herd. The Zebra herd also includes the foal’s grandmother Chambura (12), Lazima (3), and little Nyati (1/2).

Niara will soon be getting to know the little Ostriches, who share her herd’s exhibit. The Ostriches and Zebras are currently making alternate use of the Africa Enclosure, as Zebras are very inquisitive and like to play at hunting the smaller birds.

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4_za_170117_03Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The Zebras at Zoo Basel have become acclimated to the wintery temperatures and are not really bothered by the current cold weather. Heated stalls are currently available for animals that do not cope well with the cold.

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Zoo Antwerp Has a Brilliant Start to the New Year

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The New Year began at Antwerp Zoo with the birth of a Bluespotted Stingray. The Zoo participates in the breeding program for this endangered species, and they cannot be more proud of their new arrival.

"We noticed in November, a thickening in the female, which indicates a pregnancy. It is always exciting to wait and see. On January 5, we discovered the pup behind a coral wall of the reef aquarium. It's a boy and seemed to us one or two days old. With a first pregnancy, there is usually only one baby, but a ray can even give birth to up to seven little rays. That is a promise for the future,” Keeper Danny shared. 2_fotolink_rog1

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4_fotolink_rog4Photo Credits: ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst

The Bluespotted Stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii), also known as Bluespotted Maskray or Kuhl's Stingray, is a species of the Dasyatidae family. The body is rhomboidal and colored green with blue spots. Maximum disk width is estimated 46.5 centimeters (18.3 in).

The Bluespotted Stingray preys on many fish and small mollusks. They are generally found from Indonesia to Japan, and most of Australia. The Bluespotted Stingray is also targeted by many parasites such as tapeworms, flatworms, and flukes.

The species is ovoviviparous. Embryos are retained in eggs within the mother's body until they are ready to hatch. The embryos receive nourishment from the mothers' uterine fluid. Mothers give birth to up to seven pups per litter; these pups range from 6 inches (150 mm) to 13 inches (330 mm) long at birth.

The little male pup at Antwerp Zoo is large, about 17 cm, the size of a saucepan.

Since 2015, Antwerp Zoo has had a large reef aquarium in which a mix of fish swims in splendor. Now, both blue and gray stingrays roam for the first time between the corals. Caretakers at the Zoo can be seen diving into the aquarium to feed all the fish and clean the windows. The Stingrays get their individual meal of eel, and keepers use this time to also monitor their health.

Stingrays have a venomous spine with barbs on their tails. They are not aggressive and will not attack without provocation. They save their defense mechanism for unexpected or unfortunate movements.

Like the precious coral reefs and many other ocean dwellers, Stingrays are threatened. Their habitat is under pressure. Also overfishing reduces their number.

In Queensland, Australia there are many areas for high protection of the Bluespotted Stingray, three being the Shoalwater, Corio Bay's Area Ramsar Site, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The ray is commonly caught in the Java Sea by fishermen trawling and by Danish seine boats in large quantities. The Bluespotted Stingray is the second most significant species out of the sharks, rays, and skate family to be fished, contributing to about 700 kilograms (1,500 lb) per boat in 2006-2007.

Only recently, there have been international breeding programs initiated to help protect the species. Antwerp Zoo is now a proud and successful participant in the European breeding program for the Bluespotted Stingrays.


Potawatomi Zoo Happy to Be 'In a Pickle’

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On November 12, Potawatomi Zoo staff discovered their female Giant Anteater had given birth.  The new male pup was born to parents Corndog and Jo Hei and has been nicknamed “Pickle”.   

The healthy pup weighed in at just over 3lbs at birth, and at his latest veterinary check, on December 28, 2016, weighed over 12lbs. Pickle has been observed nursing, riding on mom, and most recently, being encouraged by mom to stand and play.  

Pickle will spend most of his time for the next year, clinging to mom. Keepers report that it would not be unheard of for the youngster to be half as big as mom and still be catching a ride at his first birthday!   

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Pickle’s mom, Corndog, was born at Fresno Zoo in January 2006, and first arrived at Potawatomi Zoo in June 2007. She left for Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI, in June 2011 on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, where she was introduced to Jo Hei.  Together, they produced two offspring: one female in 2012 and one male in 2014.

Still under recommendation from the AZA’s Species Survival Plan, Corndog returned to Potawatomi Zoo in December 2015 and brought her mate Jo Hei along with her.  

Jo Hei and Corndog were observed breeding in the Spring of 2016, and subsequent ultrasounds confirmed pregnancy.  Corndog successfully received numerous ultrasounds from veterinary staff during her pregnancy, to monitor both the health of mom and baby.   

As South American natives, Giant Anteaters prefer warmer weather and mom and baby may not be seen, in the outdoor exhibit at Potawatomi Zoo, until consistently warmer temperatures are reached.

However, the Zoo reports that their adult male anteaters, Jo Hei and Barques, are already acclimated to the cooler local climate, and will be available for outdoor viewing when outdoor temps near 50 degrees.   

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), also known as the ant bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. They can live between 15 to 20 years in protected conservation facilities.

The species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” to extinction by the IUCN. Shockingly, Giant Anteaters are among the top species killed on the roadways in their native environments in South America, and as a result, their population is listed as decreasing.  

The Potawatomi Zoo is a sponsor of the conservation project Anteaters & Highways (www.giantanteater.org) in support of research to address the threats to Giant Anteaters and help save this iconic species in the wild.   


Little Rock Zoo Welcomes Trio of Maned Wolf Pups

1_image2Photo Credits: Little Rock Zoo / Video Credit: Maggie Quinn

Three Maned Wolf pups are the newest additions at the Little Rock Zoo. The trio was born December 21 to parents Gabby and Diego. The two females and their brother currently weigh around two pounds each.

Zoo visitors to the Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost may have recently noticed “Quiet Please” signs on one of the observation decks. Gabby’s den is beneath the deck, and keepers want to help the new family enjoy their bonding time.

“We don’t want to stress her out,” said Debbie Thompson, Carnivores Curator at the Zoo. “For example, if there were too much noise on the deck, we wouldn’t want her to bring the pups out in the cold.”

Thompson said it would likely be six more weeks before Zoo guests can hope to see the pups in the exhibit. However, she notes that a lucky few may catch a glimpse of them before then.

“Gabby has already moved all three out into one of the huts. She stayed there all day then moved them all back to the den,” Thompson said.

Those who catch sight of the pups now might think they look like a different species from the parents. At birth they’re covered in black fur with white-tipped tails, while their parents resemble foxes on stilts.

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Its markings resemble those of foxes, but it is not a fox, nor is it a wolf, as it is not closely related to other canids. It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon (meaning "golden dog").

Adults have the thick red coat, tall erect ears, pointed muzzle and white-tipped tails of foxes, but long slender black legs.  

Native to South America’s forests, grasslands, savannas, marshes and wetlands, these omnivorous animals eat fruits*, vegetables, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as birds and insects.

*(According to Little Rock Zoo keepers, Gabby and Diego’s favorite fruit is bananas!)