Two Rare Gazelles Born at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium welcomed not one but two rare Dama Gazelle calves in January. A male Dama Gazelle calf was born on January 14 to mom Layla and dad Zultan. Just three days later, a female calf was born to first-time mom, Susie Cruisie. Susie’s calf had difficulty nursing, so the animal care staff stepped in to provide bottle feedings. The calf is doing well and returns to the herd after each feeding.

The calves have not yet been named, and they are bonding with their mothers behind the scenes.

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Gaz 3Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The breeding of these Gazelles was recommended as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The species is Critically Endangered, with fewer than 300 Dama Gazelles left in their native African range in Chad, Mali, and Niger. The biggest threats to Dama Gazelles are habitat loss due to livestock overgrazing, land development, and uncontrolled hunting. The Columbus Zoo supports the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF), which monitors the Dama Gazelles’ population and their distribution in their native range.

Dama Gazelles are the largest of all Gazelles, with adults weighing up to 165 pounds. Both males and females have S-shaped horns. Calves are born after a gestation period of about six months, and can run as fast as adults by the time they are one week old.


Giraffe Herd Grows by Four Hooves at Kansas City Zoo

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The Masai Giraffe herd at the Kansas City Zoo just grew by four hooves! At 4:57 a.m. on February 2, Giraffe Lizzie gave birth to a female calf.

At the calf’s neonatal exam, the veterinary team determined that the baby is in good health and bonding well with Lizzie. The newborn weighed 105 pounds and stands about five feet tall. 

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KCZoo Giraffe Calf 2Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo

This baby, which has not yet been named, is the first to be born at the zoo since 2015.  The little girl’s parents are Lizzie, age 6, and eight-year-old Hamisi. Lizzie’s mother, Mahali, is part of the zoo’s herd, so the calf will soon meet her grandmother.  

It’s too cold outside for Lizzie and her baby, so they’ll remain behind the scenes until the weather warms up. In the meantime, fans can see Lizzie and the baby inside the Giraffe barn on the Giraffe Cam.

See more photos of the newborn calf below.

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New Year Brings New Przewalski's Horse Foal

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The pitter-patter of little hooves has been welcomed at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with the arrival of a rare Przewalski's Horse foal. The filly was born on January 1 to first-time mother, Zaria.

The Zoo now has a breeding herd of eleven Przewalski's Horses, which are the last surviving subspecies of Wild Horse (Equus ferus), and are native to central Asia. Przewalski's Horses are also called ‘takhi’ which means ‘spirit’ in Mongolia.

“This foal has been named Dash, and she has certainly been living up to her name,” Keeper Pascale Benoit said. “She is healthy and well, and has plenty of energy, especially in the mornings. She can be seen dashing around and even lets out a tiny, high-pitched whinny when her mother strays too far away.”

“Dash is starting to become more independent, and while she generally stays close by her mother’s side, she is spending more and more time exploring and interacting with the herd,” Benoit said.

Dash’s father, Nikolai, was born at Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2012 and came to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in October 2016. Nikolai’s genetics make him an important breeding individual for the region, and thus a valuable addition to the Zoo’s Przewalski’s Horse breeding program.

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4_Przewalski's Horse foalPhoto Credits: Rick Stevens/Taronga Western Plains Zoo

In 1995, five Przewalski’s Horses from Taronga Western Plains Zoo were flown to Mongolia and reintroduced to the wild in the Gobi Desert, as part of a herd assembled by world zoos. Through this collaboration, numbers have continued to steadily increase in Mongolia.

“There are now almost 2,000 Przewalski’s Horses in human care and in the wild today, which is a huge step for this species, that was once extinct in the wild,” Pascale said.

The foal’s birth represents yet another success for the Zoo’s breeding program, which saw another female foal, Naruu, born in February 2017. Keepers are awaiting the arrival of a second Przewalski’s Horse foal for the 2018 season, to mare Genghis, also sired by Nikolai.

Prior to reintroduction programs, Przewalski's Horses were last seen in the wild in the 1960s in the Gobi Desert, in south Mongolia. Their numbers dwindled as a result of human interference, such as poaching and capture. Today, their main threats include habitat loss and low genetic diversity.

Later this year, Taronga Western Plains Zoo will unveil a new exhibit for the Przewalski’s Horse to better tell the story of this incredible species.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Dubbo in Central Western NSW.

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Tiger Sisters Raise Awareness for Endangered Species

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Remarkably, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s ten-year-old Amur Tiger, Changbai, gave birth to four cubs on November 25.

However, only two survived. When keepers observed Changbai showing little interest in caring for the two surviving females, the cubs were removed and taken into the care of the keepers.

Zoo staff members were aware of the Changbai’s pregnancy through fecal hormone testing, and had been keeping a 24-hour watch on the expectant mom. A female tiger at the age of ten has only a twenty percent change of a successful pregnancy, so good husbandry and a quick response from the animal care team makes a difference. When Zoo staff saw that the first-born kitten unresponsive, and that Changbai was not interested in grooming or nursing the remaining kittens, a decision was made to remove them to begin feeding. A second kitten died later that first night.

Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff have since been providing around the clock care and supervision for the remaining cubs, named Reka and Zeya. The two kittens’ survival is an important step forward in maintaining the genetic diversity of Amur Tigers worldwide, an endangered species that is rapidly disappearing from the wild.

Tiger Cub Reka

Tiger cub by olivia grahamPhoto Credits: Beardsley Zoo (Images 1,2,4)/ Olivia Graham (Image 3)

Amur Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as Siberian Tigers, are very rare. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) statistics, today’s Tigers are thought to occupy less than seven percent of their original range: Korea, north-eastern China, Russian Far East, and eastern Mongolia. They are currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, and loss of prey, four of nine subspecies have disappeared from the wild just in the past hundred years. The future of the Amur Tiger has been a major concern of the world’s zoos for many years.

All Tigers now have protected status in the wild, but that doesn’t guarantee their safety. A breeding program recommendation comes from the Species Survival Plan (SSP), administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in accredited zoos. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is home to the parents: male, Petya, and female, Changbai, who joined the Zoo family last winter. Managed by the SSP, inter-regional transfers are arranged with careful attention to gene diversity in the hope that successful breeding will take place.

The Zoo recently announced that a webcam was installed in the nursery of Reka and Zeya, and it is now streaming images in real time, all thanks to Zoo sponsor, Blue Buffalo. Viewers can enjoy watching the cubs live from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The cubcam is set up in the nursery in the Zoo’s on-site Animal Health Care Center, where the two sisters have been cared for since their birth. To view the cubs, visit the Zoo website at: .

The Zoo recently launched a fundraising campaign through The Impact Vine to raise funds for the planning and design of a renovated Tiger habitat, raising more than $5,000 in a record six days. Donations are still being accepted for enlargement and enhancements to the habitat, which can be made through a link on the cubcam page. There has been intense interest in the cubs, which has helped to raise awareness about endangered species around the world.

Tiger cubs with raised paw

Baby Colobus Joins Saint Louis Zoo Troop


A male Black-and-white Colobus Monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on December 29. Zookeepers will name the baby at a later date, but visitors can see the new family at the Primate House during regular Zoo hours.



Colobus baby 2018_4_Credit Robin Winkelman Saint Louis Zoo_web2Photo Credits: Saint Louis Zoo & Ethan Riepl (Images 1-3) / Robin Winkelman (Image 4)

Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their faces and half of their tails. Adults have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their backs. An infant’s hair coat will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.

Colobus live in multi-female families and take turns caring for each other’s newborns, which is known as ‘allomothering’. Eighteen-year-old, Cecelia, is the dominant female and an experienced mother who is taking great care of the newborn, as well as her one-year-old daughter, Willow. Also in the family, or troop, are brothers Ziggy (age 2) and Simon (3), and their half-sister, Binti (4). Eleven-year-old father Kima can be seen watching stoically over his family and interacting with the youngsters.

The baby will stay with mom for nursing and sleeping. But at other times throughout the day, it’s will be common to see older sister, Binti, take the baby while mom eats or interacts with other members of the family, according to zookeepers. This is a skill necessary for female youngsters to learn so they become successful mothers in the future.

“The new baby is doing really well and becoming very interested in everything happening around him,” says Brooke Johnson, Saint Louis Zoo primate keeper and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutional representative for the Black-and-white Colobus Monkey. “Brother and sister, Binti and Simon, are doing a great job taking care of and looking after their new sibling; and one-year old Willow is adjusting very well to sharing her mom with her baby brother."

The Abyssinian Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (Colobus guereza), also known as the Mantled Guereza, the Guereza, or the Eastern Black-and-white Colobus is a Black-and-white Colobus (a type of Old World monkey).

Black-and-white Colobuses (or colobi) are monkeys of the genus Colobus and are native to Africa. They are closely related to the Brown Colobus Monkeys of genus Piliocolobus.

The new birth at the Saint Louis Zoo is part of the AZA Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys in North American zoos.

Feathertail Gliders Fill Their Nests at Taronga Zoo


Taronga Zoo is celebrating the breeding success of more than twenty Feathertail Gliders, one of the smallest mammals in the world.

Twelve different female adult Feathertail Glider’s fell pregnant at a similar time with the joeys, and the mothers now communally care for one another’s young.



4_IMG_5183_CC_Hi_ResPhoto Credits: Taronga Zoo

The emergence of the joeys from their mother’s pouch typically occurs around 63 days, when the pouch usually gets so large that mom’s feet cannot touch the ground.

Keepers at Taronga Zoo can’t be sure exactly how many joeys have been born, as the speedy little Gliders race around their exhibit gliding between branches, however they estimate to have spotted approximately twenty new offspring.

“The remarkable breeding success means the tiny Gliders will become important ambassadors for their species,” said Australian Fauna Keeper, Rob Dockerill.

“We were the first Zoo to ever breed these tiny marsupials, so it’s always exciting when such a large group like this is born,” added Keeper Rob. “When they’re born, they’re only half the size of a grain of rice. The adults only weigh 13 grams and are about 7cm long.”

“We started breeding the Gliders in 1988, and in only the past decade, we’ve seen up to 200 joeys emerge,” he said.

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Tiny New “Dear” Debuts at Chester Zoo

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A rare, tiny Philippine Spotted Deer now makes her home at Chester Zoo. The fawn was born December 15 to five-year-old mum, Tala, and six-year-old dad, Bulan. The new little “dear” was led out for her first public appearance by the proud parents.

The zoo’s new arrival is the latest to be born to an acclaimed conservation breeding programme, set up at the request of the Philippine government, which is working to ensure a healthy and genetically viable back-up population of the animals in Europe.

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4_Adorable rare Philippine spotted deer makes Chester Zoo debut (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The species is currently listed as “endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list, and conservation experts fear that fewer than 2,500 now remain in the wild. They have already become extinct on several islands in the Philippines, largely due to intensive, illegal hunting and huge deforestation.

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Meet Milwaukee's Newest Penguin Chick

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Meet the new Gentoo Penguin at Milwaukee County Zoo! The chick hatched on December 18 to parents Oscar and Fiona.

The chick still has its soft, fluffy down feathers, which provide warmth but are not suited for swimming. Only when the chick molts into its waterproof plumage, usually around one or two months of age, will it begin learning to swim.

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Gentoo Penguin Chick 01-2018-9155 EPhoto Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

Gentoo Penguin parents take turns feeding and caring for their chicks. Both Oscar and Fiona have reared chicks before. The gender of the new chick is not yet known, and will be determined by a blood test. It’s not possible to tell males from females by sight alone.

Penguin chicks at the zoo must learn to take fish from zoo keepers, and this training usually occurs after they have been weaned from their parents and begin to molt. It’s during the molt that the chick’s “baby fuzz” is replaced by sleek, waterproof feathers.

Once the chick has its shiny new feathers, it will be gradually introduced to the exhibit pool and to the other birds in the habitat.

Gentoo Penguins are native to Antarctica. They stand two to three feet tall as adults, making them the third-largest Penguin species, after Emperor and King Penguins. Gentoos live in colonies of several hundred birds along the Antarctic Coast and surrounding islands. These Penguins may dive as many as 500 times per day in search of fish, krill, and squid to eat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Gentoo Penguin as a “Species of Least Concern,” though some individual populations have declined rapidly in recent years.


Peek at a 2-day-old Baby Sloth


Denver Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of a baby Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, who was born on January 28 to Charlotte Greenie, the zoo’s 21-year-old female Sloth, and her 27-year-old mate, Elliot. Charlotte and the baby, whose name has not yet been chosen or gender identified, are both healthy and thriving and made their public debut on February 1.

Sloth_Baby_Day2Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

Throughout her 10-month pregnancy, Charlotte, who came to Denver Zoo from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2015, and her baby were closely monitored by zoo experts with regular ultrasounds, checkups and weigh-ins to ensure they were healthy and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. Keepers even devised an innovative method to weigh Charlotte by training her to come to a specific branch connected to a scale. The baby clung to Charlotte immediately after birth and will continue to cling to her almost exclusively for at least six months.

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths, which are also known as the Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth or Southern Two-toed Sloth, are found in the rainforests of South America, primarily in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. They are a nocturnal species that spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping.  They become active about an hour after sunset until about two hours before sunrise.

See more photos below.

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Peoria Zoo Welcomes Female Giraffe Calf

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On January 7, the Peoria Zoo welcomed their newest Giraffe calf. Mom, Vivian, gave birth to a 5 foot 10 inch, 122 pound baby girl!

The Zoo endeavored to carefully document this latest Giraffe birth. Their goal was to not only celebrate the incredible birth, but to continue to improve husbandry techniques and share their birthing experience with other zoos around the world.

A camera was installed in Vivian's maternity holding stall to monitor and record the birth. Staff had been monitoring the camera, 24/7, for months in preparation of the birth. When the big moment finally came, the entire process was captured on video.

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4_Peoria Zoo Giraffe Calf 9 Jan 2018Photo Credits: Peoria Zoo

Because Giraffes are threatened in their native habitat, every birth is important. The process gives zoologists, conservationists, and researchers the opportunity to study the species and their offspring, as well as educate and inspire zoo visitors.

In conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP), Peoria Zoo participates in cooperative breeding programs dedicated to building healthy, thriving Giraffe populations, with an emphasis on maintaining genetic diversity. Information gained through SSP husbandry and reproduction programs is used to promote meaningful initiatives meant to foster growth in wild giraffe populations.

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