Penguin Chick Goes For Its First Swim

Penguin Chick Square

A two-month old African Penguin chick went for its first swim at the Tulsa Zoo.

The chick hatched on January 17 to mom Keppy, age 26, and her mate Rogue, age 9. Keppy is the third-oldest member of the Tulsa Zoo’s penguin flock.

Penguin 1
Penguin 1Photo Credit: Tulsa Zoo

The chick’s gender is not yet known. A DNA sample will be sent to an outside lab to determine the new Penguin’s sex.

Last week, the chick enjoyed its first swim under close supervision in a small pool behind-the-scenes. Penguin chicks have fluffy down feathers, which are not as water repellent as the feathers of adult Penguins. Until chicks molt into their waterproof adult plumage when they're a few months old, they are not able to swim well.

“Keppy became a great-grandmother last year,” said Tulsa Zookeeper Seana Flossic. “We are delighted for Keppy and Rogue, a 9-year-old male, to enjoy parenthood together for the first time. They are doing a great job caring for their new chick.”

Seana Flossic manages the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s African Penguin Studbook as a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), keeping records on all AZA members’ flocks. The SSP makes recommendations on breeding and transfers to ensure the long-term health of this species.

This chick is the 37th penguin to hatch at the Tulsa Zoo since 2002.

African Penguins are native to the southern coast of Africa and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The population has fallen from more than one million birds in 1900 to fewer than 80,000 today. Oil spills and competition with commercial fisheries have contributed to the birds’ steep decline.


Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch

14 de marzo 2018 - La gorila Fossey y su bebé recién nacido - BIOPARC Valencia (2)-min

Visitors to Spain’s Bioparc Valencia witnessed a special moment when Fossey, a Western Lowland Gorilla, gave birth in the exhibit habitat at about 4:00 pm on March 8.

The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is the fourth baby of this Critically Endangered species to be born at Bioparc Valencia in the last five years.

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8-marzo-nace-el-cuarto-gorila-valenciano-en-BIOPARCPhoto Credit: Bioparc Valencia

This is the first baby for 18-year-old Fossey, who is named for American primatologist Dian Fossey.  Silverback Mambie is the father of all four babies born at Bioparc Valencia.

The Gorilla family at Bioparc Valencia is large and stable, which contributes to a tranquil setting for newborns. The group consists of three adult females, one silverback, and youngsters Ebo, 5, Virunga, 19 months, and Mbeli, 5 months.

To prepare for the birth, the Gorilla team gave the entire group access to indoor and outdoor quarters all day and all night. This allowed the new mom to find a comfortable space to deliver her baby. Gorillas are naturally social, and the other members of the troop immediately came to meet the new baby. The young Gorillas in particular showed a great deal of interest in their new half-sibling.

The new baby will play a vital role in the European Gorilla Conservation Program, a cooperative effort of European zoos to maintain a genetically healthy and sustainable Gorilla population.

Western Lowland Gorillas are native to the mountain forests of central Africa. The total population is around 150,000 – 250,000 individuals, but declines at a rate of 2.5% per year. The number one threat to this species is poaching – the illegal hunting and killing of Gorillas for body parts. Gorillas are hunted even in protected areas. Diseases, including Ebola virus, are another serious threat.   

See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.

Continue reading "Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch" »


Nashville Zoo Celebrates Fourth Tapir Birth

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a male Baird’s Tapir. The yet-to-be-named calf arrived on March 7 and weighed-in at 22.8 pounds. 

This is the second calf for four-year-old mom, Juju. The calf’s father, Romeo, passed-away last year. Romeo was also the father of Tybalt, the Nashville Zoo’s other male Tapir, who was born in August 2016.

With the addition of the new calf, the Zoo is now home to three Baird’s Tapirs. A total of four Baird’s Tapirs have been born at Nashville Zoo since the species was introduced there in 2008.

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3_39817096715_20ed153cdd_oPhoto Credits: Stephanie Edling / Nashville Zoo

Tapirs have a gestation period of approximately 13 months. Keepers had been closely monitoring Juju’s progress and noticed she was restless the day before she gave birth. Once Juju went into labor, she welcomed her new calf about five minutes later, without the help of keepers.

“Congratulations to the keepers who worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth birth for Juju,” said Jonathon Hankins, Area Supervisor for Hoofstock. “They know these animals down to the tiniest details, and it is this dedication that will help us make the future for this little guy as bright as possible.”

Keepers estimate the calf will go out on exhibit within a few weeks, once the mother deems the calf is fit to explore outside. Tapirs are also sensitive to colder temperatures, so they will not go outside unless the temperature is above 60 degrees F.

This birth is significant because this species is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Baird’s Tapirs are threatened by hunting, population fragmentation and habitat destruction.

Baird's Tapirs (Tapirus bairdii) are broad, primitive creatures whose appearance has changed little in thousands of years. A relative of the horse and the rhino, Tapirs are the largest land animal in Central and South America.

Though an adult Baird’s Tapir’s coat is solid brown, babies are born with unique markings, similar to brown and white-striped watermelons. Juvenile tapirs lose these markings after one year.


Blissful Winter Baby Boom at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium recently announced the arrival of seven babies, representing three at-risk species, born in late January and early February. The new additions are: five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, a Silvered Leaf Langur baby, and a Humboldt Penguin chick.

According to the Zoo, each new little one contributes to maximizing genetic diversity within their species and sustaining populations of those facing serious threats to their future in their native ranges.

The baby boom began with the arrival of the five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, born during the early morning hours of January 26.

Native to coastal regions from southern India to Southeast Asia, Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinereus) are often threatened by habitat destruction, pollution and hunting. These factors place them at risk in their native range, and they are currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN.

The pups (three males and two females) were born to first-time parents, Gus and Peanut. Peanut was born in 2014 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo in April 2017 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Father, Gus, was born in 2008 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2014.

According to staff, the young pups are thriving under the watchful eyes of both of their parents and are expected to be on view to the public later this spring.

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3_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2294 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2271 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo was also proud to welcome a female Silvered Leaf Langur baby on February 16. The female was born to mother, Patty, and father, Thai. Patty made her way to the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2007 and has given birth to seven offspring. Thai arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2015 from the San Diego Zoo and has fathered a total of four infants.

Patty, Thai, and the newest Langur arrival are currently on view in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region. Staff reports that the baby is easy to spot as Langurs are born bright orange, as opposed to their adult counterparts with black fur and silvered tips. This difference in coat color is believed to encourage other female Langurs to assist in raising the young, a practice called “allomothering”.

In their native ranges, Silvered Leaf Langurs (Trachypithecus cristatus) can be found in areas including Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The species’ populations in these countries are decreasing due to habitat loss as lands are cleared for oil palm plantations or destroyed by forest fires. Langurs are also hunted for their meat or taken for the pet trade.

The Columbus Zoo’s pairing of Patty and Thai was based on an SSP recommendation, and the birth of the new baby will play an important role in helping manage this at-risk species. Silvered Leaf Langurs are listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, due to population declines caused by habitat loss. The arrival of this Langur baby at the Columbus Zoo is an important part of sustaining the population among AZA-accredited zoos, certified related facilities and conservation partners.

Continue reading "Blissful Winter Baby Boom at Columbus Zoo" »


Red Titi Monkey Parents Share Duties at Belfast

1_(4)  As the baby clings to mum or dad's back  keepers have been unable to confirm the gender or name of the latest arrival.

Belfast Zoo is celebrating the birth of a tiny Red Titi Monkey. The latest arrival was born to mum, Inca, and dad, Aztec, on January 26.

Although Inca has her hands full, Aztec is willing and able to help, as male Titi Monkeys play a very active role in parenting and are the main childcare providers.

Aztec can be seen carrying the infant on his back and returning it to mum in time for nursing. The infant will cling to Aztec and Inca for approximately four to five months and, for this reason, keepers have been unable to confirm the sex of the latest arrival.

Zoo curator, Julie Mansell, said, “Belfast Zoo has been home to Red Titi Monkeys since 2010, when Inca and Aztec arrived from London Zoo and Blackpool Zoo respectively, as part of the collaborative breeding programme. Red Titi Monkeys are an unusual primate, as they are monogamous and mate for life. Aztec and Inca can often be seen sitting or sleeping, with their tails intertwined. The pair welcomed their first daughter in July 2011 and have continued to build their family in subsequent years. With the latest arrival, Belfast Zoo is now home to a total of six Red Titi Monkeys.”

2_(5)  This species is found in the rainforests of South America including Brazil  Bolivia  Colombia  Venezuela and Peru.

3_(3)  Inca will be having a relaxing Mother’s Day while Aztec has his hands full  as male titi monkeys are the main childcare providers.

4_(1)  Belfast Zoo is celebrating the birth of a tiny red titi monkey.Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

As their name suggests, the Red Titi Monkey (Callicebus cupreus) has red, fluffy fur and a small grey face. Also known as ‘Coppery Titi Monkey’ or ‘Coppery Titi’, this primate species is found in the rainforests of South America including Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.

This Red Titi Monkey is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species’ relatively large range in a pristine region of the Amazon, and no known major threats have influenced the decision to classify the species at that level.

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, said, “It’s the perfect time to visit Belfast Zoo as, for the month of March, we will be offering some ‘zooper’ special offers. If you are planning to visit, you can book your discounted adult and concession tickets on our website. We are also offering up to 25% off penguin, giraffe and lemur experiences, up to 24% off elephant keeper for a day experiences and up to 25% off all animal adoption packages. You can find out more about our ‘March Madness’ offers at www.belfastzoo.co.uk .”

5_(2) The latest arrival was born to mum  Inca and dad  Aztec  on 26 January 2018.


The Florida Aquarium Succeeds at Coral Reproduction

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Corals are the building blocks of marine habitats and oxygen-giving marine organisms. They cover only about one percent of the ocean floor, but they have a huge effect on the health of the rest of the ocean and the planet. The Florida Aquarium is working to protect and restore oceans and raise awareness about the threats coral reefs face (increasing water temperature, pollution and overfishing).

According to a recent press release, Rachel Serafin, a coral biologist at The Florida Aquarium, spoke at the World Aquaculture Society Conference held recently in Las Vegas.

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4_28699340_10155571039648883_1987637671920077530_oPhoto Credits: The Florida Aquarium

Serafin spoke about The Florida Aquarium’s unprecedented success in coral reproduction, and this year has been the Aquarium’s most successful year to date in coral reproduction. The Aquarium currently has roughly 600 coral juveniles that have survived and flourished from last August’s spawning event (when corals release eggs and sperm in the water at the same time to reproduce).

“Speaking at this conference, on a global stage, is a necessary step forward for coral restoration. Corals are not your typical cute, cuddly animal. They are often forgotten, but they are vital to the health of our oceans. Speaking at such a prestigious conference allows us to bring attention to this critical issue before it is too late and all our reefs are beyond repair,” said Serafin.

“Aquaculture is the rearing of aquatic animals such red drum or snook, and coral is no different,” said Serafin. “While some rear fish to replenish wild populations, we rear corals to help replenish those wild populations that are in dire need of our help.”

There are different types of coral aquaculture practices that The Florida Aquarium uses to aid in coral restoration, but genetic creation through sexual reproduction was the focus of Serafin’s presentation.

The Florida Aquarium is a leading partner during the annual staghorn coral spawn in the Florida Keys. The annual coral spawn gives corals their only chance to sexually reproduce on their own and build future coral reefs, and this process is vital for scientists to witness for coral research and conservation.

Every year, The Florida Aquarium and other partners dive 30 feet below the ocean’s surface in Tavernier Key, expertly collecting the spawn from the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery, and deliver them to teams aboard research boats. Those teams immediately begin the fertilization process using the bundles of eggs and sperm (gametes) and rush them to on-shore labs to maximize the development of embryos and ultimately free-swimming larvae. Some of the larvae were released to the wild, while others were brought back to grow at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, FL and at other partner institutions.


Keepers Are ‘Slow’ to Spot New Sloth Baby

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After mum Marilyn’s nearly yearlong pregnancy, keepers at ZSL London Zoo finally caught a glimpse of her new little one that was born on February 12. Keepers spotted the new Two-toed Sloth infant, being cradled by mum, as they made their morning rounds.

ZSL sloth keeper, Steve Goodwin, said, “We saw two big brown eyes peering out through mum’s fur, and on closer inspection, we were delighted to see a healthy-looking youngster tucked into her tummy.”

“Sloths have a long gestation period, so the infants are already physically well-developed when they’re born. Incredibly, this means they are able to eat solid food right away. However, juveniles tend to stay with their mother for around 12 months before leaving their side - they’re a very ‘clingy’ species in general; to trees and to their mum.”

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3_Marilyn and Lento - two-toed sloths (c) ZSL London Zoo (2)Photo Credits: ZSL London Zoo

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until vets scan it, as there aren’t many obvious external differences between males and females. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), which is part of a coordinated breeding programme for Two-toed Sloths.

In the meantime, keepers report that they are keeping a close eye on both Marilyn and her one-month-old baby, who they’ve nicknamed Lento, which means ‘slow’ in Spanish.

“Marilyn is doing an excellent job as a mum,” says Steve. “The baby is growing fast and is very inquisitive – we’ve spotted some brave attempts to clamber over mum’s head, using her as a climbing frame and grabbing at the trees!”

Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus didactylus) are nocturnal mammals that are native to South America. Although notoriously slow, they are impressive climbers. Holding on to its mum will enable ZSL London Zoo’s new infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily through the tree-top branches of its Rainforest Life home.

The new youngster was also born with the Two-toed Sloth’s characteristically impressive claws, which will grow up to four inches in length and also help when the youngster is ready to move from tree to tree on its own.

Guests can visit new mum, Marilyn, and the whole incredible sloth family at ZSL London Zoo’s Rainforest Life, while journeying through the Zoo’s brand new Superpowers Trail. Find out more at: www.zsl.org


Minnesota Zoo Announces Malayan Tapir Birth

1_MN Zoo Tapir Calf and Mom (Bertie)

The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf. The little female, named Indah, was born on January 6 after an approximately 400-day gestation period and weighed-in at 16 pounds.

According to keepers, the new calf and mom, Bertie, are doing well. This is the Minnesota Zoo’s third tapir birth in 6 years. The new calf is also one of only 37 tapirs that are currently housed in zoos across North American.

The little one is bonding with mom behind the scenes. Until she goes into the public tapir habitat along the zoo’s Tropics Trail, she can be seen via the Minnesota Zoo’s social media channels and a special webcam.

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4_MN Zoo Tapir Calf Check-UpPhoto Credits: Minnesota Zoo

The Malayan Tapir's gestation period varies from 390-419 days. Mothers usually give birth every 2-4 years to a single calf, and twins are rare. At birth, a calf weighs approximately 10-20 pounds. For the first 6-8 months of their life, tapir calves resemble furry watermelons with legs. They are dark brown to black with alternating bands of yellowish-white stripes and spots. Young tapirs grow quickly and can weigh as much as 450 pounds at one year of age; they reach adult size in 2-3 years.

“We are very excited to welcome this new tapir to the Minnesota Zoo. Malayan Tapirs are endangered and this birth is a significant conservation achievement, as it’s estimated that fewer than 1,500 exist in the wild. The recent success we’ve had with tapir births over the past six years is an example of the incredible care our zookeeper and veterinary teams provides our animals,” said Tropics Trail curator, Tom Ness.

Malayan Tapirs (Tapirus indicus) are one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Their population is declining due to road mortality, habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes (palm oil), flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade. The public can help wild tapirs by shopping smart for sustainable palm oil.

In human care, Malayan Tapirs are managed for breeding purposes by a Species Survival Plan (SSP), which, through the coordinated efforts of several zoos throughout North America, helps maintain a backup gene pool for the future aid of the wild population. The Minnesota Zoo currently participates in many SSP programs, including the one for the Malayan Tapir.


‘Time to Vote’…Help Name These Penguin Chicks

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Monterey Bay Aquarium needs your help selecting names for two of their Penguin chicks! They are hosting a poll where fans and supporters can choose their favorite name, for each chick, from a pre-determined list found at this link: https://www.tfaforms.com/4663108

The soon-to-be-named fuzzy ones are both African Penguins. The male chick hatched on January 19 and is being raised by Pringle and Messina. The female also hatched on January 19 and is being raised by Walvis and Boulders. These are the ninth and 10th chicks to hatch at the aquarium.

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TR18-0213Photo Credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Both chicks are currently behind the scenes for their safety. In a few months, they’ll return to the Aquarium’s Penguin colony in ‘Splash Zone’.

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is a species confined to southern African waters. Like all extant penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat. Adults weigh on average of 5 to 8 pounds and are about 24–28 inches tall.

The species is a pursuit diver and prefers to feed on fish and squid. Once numerous, the species is declining in the wild due to a combination of threats and is currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.

The African Penguin is featured in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ new SAFE program: Saving Animals from Extinction. AZA SAFE is a collaborative campaign among more than 230 accredited members of AZA to combine resources and expertise to save animals from extinction.


Chester Zoo Introduces Early Spring ‘Flower’

1_Chester Zoo’s latest orangutan arrival has been named Kesuma by primate keepers (2)

Chester Zoo’s new female Sumatran Orangutan has been named Kesuma, which means ‘flower’ in Indonesia. Primate keepers chose the name soon after they were able to confirm the infant’s sex.

Kesuma was born to her 30-year-old mum, Emma, and 30-year-old dad, Puluh, on December 18, 2017.

2_Chester Zoo’s latest orangutan arrival has been named Kesuma by primate keepers (3)

3_Chester Zoo’s latest orangutan arrival has been named Kesuma by primate keepers (4)

4_Chester Zoo’s latest orangutan arrival has been named Kesuma by primate keepers (5)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The birth marked a major success story for an acclaimed international breeding programme for the highly threatened species. Sumatran Orangutans are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with recent estimates suggesting 6,500 remaining in the wild.

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said: “Emma’s baby girl, Kesuma, is her fifth youngster, and she’s such a good mum. She’s incredibly attentive, and it’s wonderful to see her and her latest arrival forging close bonds.”

“She’s an incredibly important arrival for the conservation breeding programme and can hopefully throw a spotlight on the huge pressures that her cousins are facing in the wild.”

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the world’s most endangered great apes. It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of oil palm plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products, throughout the world, from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

Chester Zoo, in the UK, is currently leading a major new campaign to make Chester the world’s first ‘Sustainable Palm Oil City.’ Zoo conservationists are working with restaurants, cafes, hotels, fast food outlets, schools and workplaces in the city to introduce sustainable palm oil policies into their supply chain. The campaign is striving to increase the use of palm oil that is produced sustainably and help to protect the rainforests of South East Asia.

Chester Zoo is currently the only zoo in mainland Britain caring for Sumatran Orangutans.

5_Chester Zoo’s latest orangutan arrival has been named Kesuma by primate keepers (1)