Giant Panda Mom Has Her Paws Full

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On August 7th, not just one…but…two Giant Pandas were born at Schönbrunn Zoo!

Dagmar Schratter, Schönbrunn Zoo’s Director, remarked, “As we believe in natural rearing, we will simply be watching via camera what is happening in the breeding box. It had sounded as if there were two young animals squeaking, but the pictures only ever showed one. On Friday [August 5th], the keepers could see two babies on the screen for the first time.”

According to the Zoo, it happens quite often that Giant Pandas give birth to twins, but the mother usually only rears the stronger of the two. However, after the first few days, the two young offspring seem to be developing very well. Nevertheless, the survival rate for Pandas, in their first few weeks of life, is only by 50 percent. This is why according to Chinese tradition names are only given after 100 days of life.

Zoologist, Eveline Dungl, said, “Both little Pandas have fat little tummies, and Panda mother Yang Yang is totally relaxed”. The experienced mom cares lovingly for her babies and cleans and feeds the twins (with their estimated length of 15 centimeters).

Dungl added, “The little ones can be rarely seen on the pictures because Yang Yang warms them between her large paws most of the time. Their fluff gets more every day, and one can already make out the black and white marking. The sound of their contented noises, when they are being suckled or cleaned, can be heard quite clearly over the speaker.” The keepers watch the rearing round the clock via the box camera.

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4_Pandazwillinge4Photo Credits: Schönbrunn Zoo

 

For now, the Panda mother will rear her babies in the breeding box, behind the scenes, which is out of sight of Zoo visitors. At about four months old, the young Pandas will make their first excursions to the indoor enclosure where the visitors will be able to watch them. The Zoo will do its best to keep Panda fans all over the world informed: at regular intervals, videos from the breeding box will be published on Schönbrunn Zoo’s website: https://www.zoovienna.at/ and other social media pages. There is also a public video screen in the Zoo that allows visitors to peek in on the new family.

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) also known as “panda bear” or simply “panda, is a bear native to south central China. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

The Giant Panda is native to a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in neighboring provinces (Shaanxi and Gansu). As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the Giant Panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. It is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

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Rare Arachnids Hatch at Chester Zoo

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A clutch of about 200 rare and unusual Montserrat Tarantulas has hatched at Chester Zoo.

Invertebrate keepers at the Zoo are the first in the world to successfully breed the tarantulas, marking a crucial step towards discovering more about the mysterious species.

2_Montserrat tarantulas hatch in ‘world first’ at Chester Zoo (6)

3_Montserrat tarantulas hatch in ‘world first’ at Chester Zoo (3)Gravid Female Montserrat Tarantula (below image): 

4_A gravid female Montserrat tarantulaPhoto Credits: Chester Zoo

Native to the Caribbean Island of Montserrat, very little information is known about these tarantulas and how they live.

New behavioral observations made for the first time, by experts at the zoo, have revealed crucial insights about the Montserrat Tarantulas which, prior to their breeding, had never before been seen in zoos or in the wild.

Dr. Gerardo Garcia, Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates at Chester Zoo, said, “Breeding these tarantulas is a huge achievement for the team, as very little is known about them. It’s taken a lot of patience and care to reach this point.

“The data we’ve been able to gather and knowledge we’ve developed over the last three years since the adults first arrived has led us to this first ever successful, recorded breeding and hopefully these tiny tarantulas will uncover more secrets about the behavior, reproduction and life cycle of the species.

“We know that males have a very short life span when compared with females and gauging their sexual maturity to select the best possible time to put them together for mating, is vital to the breeding process.

“It’s successes like this which really highlight the work that zoos are doing behind-the-scenes to conserve a range of endangered species, including the smaller, less known species that contribute to the world’s biodiversity.

“Importantly, the skills and techniques the team has developed with this new breeding success will now be transferred to other threatened species.”

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Third Zebra Birth of the Year at BIOPARC Valencia

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BIOPARC Valencia recently welcomed their third Grant’s Zebra foal of this year!

This season’s “baby boom” started with the birth of a filly on June 7. There is no word yet on the sex of the park’s newest addition.

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3_3 crías de cebra nacidas este año en BIOPARC Valencia 2016

4_3 crías de cebra nacidas este año en BIOPARC Valencia 2016 (3)Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

 

Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi) is the smallest of six subspecies of the Plains Zebra. This subspecies represents the Zebra form of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

The distribution of this subspecies is in Zambia, west of the Luangwa River and west to Kariba, Shaba Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north to the Kibanzao Plateau. In Tanzania, north from Nyangaui and Kibwezi into southwestern Kenya as far as Sotik. It can also be found in eastern Kenya and east of the Great Rift Valley into southernmost Ethiopia. It also occurs as far as the Juba River in Somalia.

This northern subspecies is vertically striped in front, horizontally on the back legs, and diagonally on the rump and hind flanks. Northerly specimens may lack a mane. Grant’s Zebras grow to be about 120 to 140 centimeters (3.9 to 4.6 ft) tall, and generally weigh about 300 kilograms (660 lb). Zebras live in family groups of up to 17 or 18 individuals. They live an average of 20 years.

Needing water daily, they remain no more than half a day's walk from water sources. Their diet includes grass, tough stems, and sometimes leaves or barks of trees and shrubs. They require a lot of food so it is not uncommon for them to spend around 20 hours a day grazing.

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Amur Leopard Twins Born in Indiana

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Potawatomi Zoo residents, 14 year-old Pearl and 18 year-old Sergei, are new parents again! The South Bend, Indiana zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of extremely rare Amur Leopard cub twins, born July 26th. Keepers report that both mom and cubs are doing great.

The twins represent the fourth and fifth Amur Leopard cubs born at Potawatomi Zoo within the last year and a half. They are incredibly significant for both the Amur Leopard population and the Zoo. The remarkable birth marks nine successful Amur Leopard cubs born, through four litters, at the Zoo since 2007.

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3_13957994_10153795030608176_3021858569571799799_oPhoto Credits: Dr. Kim Thompson

 

The Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China. They are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with approximately 70 individuals remaining in the wild and just over 200 in Zoos worldwide. They are on the brink of extinction in the wild due to poaching and loss of habitat.

Efforts at breeding Amur Leopards in captivity have been marginally successful at best, with just a handful of births in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities last year. The significance of Potawatomi Zoo’s twin cubs arriving 16 months after triplets, which were born in March of 2015, puts the Zoo on the conservation field map in terms of the Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) program’s breeding efforts. In the last year and a half, over 60% of viable Amur Leopard cub births in North American accredited zoological institutions took place at Potawatomi Zoo.

To add to the excitement of this landmark birth, the cubs received their first veterinary check up on August 6th, and were given a clean bill of health by Zoo Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Ronan Eustace, D.V.M.

“These little cubs are making their mark already. For Potawatomi Zoo to have five very rare Amur cubs born in the last year and a half is absolutely amazing,” says Potawatomi Zoo Executive Director, Marcy Dean. “This is such a remarkable birth and an incredible contribution to the population of a critically endangered species.”

The Potawatomi Zoo, a participant in the AZA’s SSP program for Amur Leopards, is actively engaging in breeding genetically healthy Amur Leopards to help populate the critically endangered species. Amur Leopards are only found in Far Eastern Russia and Northeast China.

The Amur Leopard cubs will not be available for public viewing for another four months, due to both age and size. They will spend the next several weeks in the nest box with mom, Pearl.

Visitors can stay up to date on how the cubs are doing by going to the Zoo’s website at: www.potawatomizoo.org , and at the Potawatomi Zoo’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHn4RNCDrrQYy9fxWUmjsdQ/feed to see pictures and video. The Zoo will continue to update nest box footage so visitors can watch the cubs grow before they are on exhibit.


Second Zebra Foal for Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are excited by the arrival of their second Zebra foal in the past month. The female foal, which was born in the early hours of July 30, has been named Zina (free spirit in Swahili).

Zina is the fifth foal for experienced mother, Kijani. “Both mother and foal are doing really well, which is to be expected from an experienced mother like Kijani,” said Keeper, Carolene Magner.

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4_IMG_0770Photo Credits: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Zina, out on exhibit with her mother and the rest of the herd, is very calm and taking everything in her stride.

“Zina is staying close by her mother’s side at present but does enjoy a gallop around the paddock in the morning. Zina is a large foal in comparison to Khari, who was born a month ago, they are relatively the same size.”

“It is great to see the herd continuing to grow, and as the two foals get older, they will start to interact more together,” said Carolene.

There are now three generations of Plains Zebra on exhibit at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with more foals expected later this year. This most recent arrival brings the total number in the breeding herd to nine.

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First Photos of Baby Bonobo

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A baby Bonobo born August 6 at the Jacksonville Zoo is an important addition to the Species Survival Plan for these endangered Apes.

Closely related to Chimpanzees, Bonobos are more petite and have black facial skin at birth (Chimpanzees have pink facial skin at birth). 

Bonobos are highly social and the arrival of an infant is an important event for the group.  The male baby, named Budir, will be carried by his mother Kuni for several months.  In zoos and in the wild, Bonobos remain with their mothers for about five years. 

Bonobo Kuni and Infant 2_8-6-16Photo Credits:  Becca Ledesma (top), Lynde Nunn

Like all Great Apes, Bonobos are highly intelligent and are capable of self-recognition in a mirror.  Along with Chimpanzees, they are humans' closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Native to the deep forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bonobos live in groups of up to 100 individuals and feed on fruit, leaves, honey, and eggs.

As one of only seven zoos in the country to house Bonobos, the Jacksonville Zoo participates in the Bonobo Species Survival Plan to preserve genetic diversity in the zoo-managed population. 

Wild Bonobos are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and encroaching human activity.  The Jacksonville Zoo supports the Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative, which works to protect Bonobos in the rainforests of central Africa.


Lion Triplets Are Three Times the Fun

Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cubs DSC_0156 (2) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
It’s three times the fun when Asiatic Lion cub triplets Kali, Sita, and Sonika come out to play at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Born May 25, the three female cubs have spent the last two months in the birthing den with their mother, Kanha.  Lionesses rear their babies in seclusion and often reject them if they are disturbed, so the staff monitored the cubs via closed circuit TV.

Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cub DSC_0156 (15) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cubs DSC_0156 (11) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
Photo Credit:  Natasha Jeffries
 
This is the first litter of Lion triplets born at Cotswold since the park opened in 1970. 

According to the staff, Kanha and Rana are proving to be excellent first-time parents and all three boisterous youngsters are healthy and developing into confident cubs.

Dad Rana met the cubs in the Lions’ outdoor enclosure last week, but for the last two months, he lived next door and took a great interest in the youngsters. 

Asiatic Lions are one of the world’s rarest big cat species. Wild population numbers have declined drastically over the last century, almost to the point of extinction. Once found throughout much of southwestern Asia, they are now only found in India’s Gir Forest with the 2015 census putting the entire wild population at 523 animals. 

Though they live in a protected area, conservationists worry that a disease epidemic could wipe out the entire Asiatic Lion population.  Breeding programs in zoos are extremely important to the future of this subspecies.  Asiatic Lions are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Lovely Lynx Kitten Born at ZOO Wroclaw

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Around June 4th, an adorable female European Lynx was born at ZOO Wroclaw.

The late birth was quite a surprise for keepers, but fortunately, the kitten has been growing like a weed, jumping form 0.5 kg to 3 kg in just four to five weeks.

The parents are Pandora and Orkan, both 14 years old. Zoo staff reports they are a great match and very caring parents. Since their paring, they have produced a healthy litter every year: 20 offspring so far!

One of the cats born to this couple, three-year-old Orpan, is living on the Baltic coast. His offspring will be released into the wild. Keepers have their fingers crossed that the new girl will be just as lucky.

The little Lynxes’ keepers are now looking to name the kitten, and they are extending the invitation for ZooBorns fans to submit their ideas. The only request from the Zoo is that the name relate to Poland or the city of Wroclaw. However, all inspirations will be greatly appreciated!

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4_DSC03317Photo Credits: ZOO Wroclaw

 

The European or Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) is a medium-sized cat native to Siberia, Central, East, and Southern Asia, North, Central and Eastern Europe.

It has been listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List since 2008, as it is widely distributed, and most populations are considered stable. Eurasian Lynx have been re-introduced to several forested mountainous areas in Central and Southeastern Europe; these re-introduced subpopulations are small, less than 200 animals.

The Eurasian Lynx is the largest Lynx species, ranging in length from 80 to 130 cm (31 to 51 in) and standing 60–75 cm (24–30 in) at the shoulder. The tail measures 11 to 24.5 cm (4.3 to 9.6 in). Males usually weigh from 18 to 30 kg (40 to 66 lb), and females weigh 8 to 21 kg (18 to 46 lb).

Lynx prey largely on small to fairly large sized mammals and birds. Although they may hunt during the day when food is scarce, the Eurasian Lynx is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular, and spends the day sleeping in dense thickets or other places of concealment. It lives solitarily as an adult.

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Striated Caracara Chicks Hatch at Paradise Park

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Staff at Paradise Park, in Hayle, Cornwall, UK, are thrilled that two Striated Caracara chicks have hatched and are doing well.

Director Alison Hales commented, “The adults have been living with us at the Park for several years, but these two chicks are the first they have produced. They are interesting birds; very smart and inquisitive, which helps them to survive in difficult habitats when they need to find a wide range of foods.”

“The new parents have been quite secretive, so when [Paradise Park staff] got a glimpse of the chicks raising their heads for food, it was very exciting. They are growing fast now and will soon leave their nest. The plan for them is to join unrelated mates in other bird collections in the UK or Europe,” Hales continued.

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4_Adult Caracara Paradise Park Cornwall 3Photo Credits: Paradise Park

 

The Striated Caracara, (Phalcoboenus australis) is a bird of prey of the family Falconidae. It is primarily a scavenger, feeding on carrion, offal, and it digs up small invertebrates using its claws (unusual behavior for a Falcon). It also preys on injured creatures such as young seabirds. And, because it also attacks weak lambs, sheep farmers have ruthlessly persecuted the species.

The adults' plumage is almost black in color, while the legs are orange and the neck is flecked with grey. First year juveniles have an orange or light red down, which they lose after their first molt. Full adult plumage is acquired only in the fifth year.

Their nest is built on the ground or on a cliff ledge, where the female will lay up to four eggs. Once the chicks have fledged, they gather into flocks and roam through their native islands.

The Striated Caracara was once considered common in the Falkland Islands, where it is known as the ‘Johnny Rook’. Charles Darwin visited East Falkland, in 1833, and wrote that it was 'exceedingly numerous'. Recent surveys suggest there are currently 500-650 pairs remaining on the Falklands, mainly living on islands uninhabited by people. This species is currently classified as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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6_Adult Caracara Paradise Park Cornwall


Solo the Tapir Explores at Chester Zoo

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A Malayan Tapir calf, named Solo, has taken his first steps outside at Chester Zoo.

Solo, born July 11, was named after the longest river on the Indonesian island of Java. Zoo staff reports that he ‘reveled’ in his very first outdoor adventure, under the watchful eyes of his mum Margery.

The youngster, who is the first of his species to ever be born at the Zoo, paraded around showing off his dark brown coat covered in white spots and stripes. Juvenile Malayan Tapirs lose those patterns in the first year of their life and develop their adult coats, with one half of their bodies black and the other half white.

Chester Zoo is part of a European breeding programme for this endangered species. Keepers at the zoo say Solo’s arrival is hugely significant, as he will add valuable genetics to the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which is working to ensure a safety net population of Malayan Tapirs in zoos, ensuring they do not go extinct.

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4_Solo the Malayan tapir calf goes on his first outdoor adventure at Chester Zoo (35)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. They are native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Tapirs normally measure 1.8 to 2.5m (6 to 8 feet) in length, with a shoulder height of 0.9 to 1.1m. (3 to 3.5 feet).

The animals are related to both the Horse and the Rhinoceros. They are an ‘odd-toed’ animal, having four toes on each front foot and three toes on each back foot.

Malayan Tapirs also have poor eyesight, which makes them rely heavily on their excellent senses of smell and hearing.

They are also known for their unusual courtship ritual, which involves an assortment of wheezing and whistling sounds. They will sniff each other, walking around in circles before mating. Females have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.

Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the Malayan Tapir is increasingly threatened, with population numbers continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as increasing hunting pressure. The population has been estimated to have declined by more than 50% in the last three generations (36 years) primarily as a result of Tapir habitat being converted into palm oil plantations. They are also threatened by increased hunting for their fur, road-kills and trapping in snares left for other animals.

More pics, below the fold! 

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