Meerkat Pups Emerge for Mischief at Nashville Zoo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three Meerkats on August 17.

The trio is the first offspring for parents Calvin (age 11) and Victoria (age 9). The pair has been together for 2.5 years but never successfully produced pups.

“Calvin and Victoria are proving to be great parents and have shown constant attention to the new additions,” said Sabrina Barnes, Area Supervisor of Primates. “We are very excited to once again have Meerkat pups at Nashville Zoo!”

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3_36387283684_3985559802_bPhoto Credits: Rachel Schleicher

Keepers have noticed Calvin and Victoria taking turns caring for the pups. When Victoria is not in the burrow nursing, Calvin is inside caring for them. Meerkat society is centered around family groups (known as “mobs”), relying heavily on group cooperation. The pups will stay at the Nashville Zoo to live in a family group.

The average litter size for Meerkats ranges from 1 to 6 pups, and pups average 25-35 grams in weight when born.

Meerkats are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. They live throughout southern Africa and are present in several protected areas, with no major threats at this time.

Nashville Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for this species to maintain the captive population.


Miraculous Giraffe Calf Born at Living Desert Zoo

Shellie Giraffe Calf Born at TLD

On August 27, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens welcomed a female Giraffe calf to their herd. Born to mother, Dadisi, and father, Hesabu, the calf weighed in at 143 pounds and stood 5 feet 11 inches tall.

The calf was given the official name “Shellie Muujiza”. Through a generous gift of $50,000 by long-time supporter Harold Matzner, Shellie Muujiza was named in honor of Harold’s life partner, Shellie Reade. And true to the Giraffe’s heritage, Muujiza mean ‘miracle’ in Swahili.

“We are excited to share the joyous news of our new addition, Shellie. Mother and calf are doing very well and guests have the thrilling opportunity to see them both beginning today,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “While we continue to mourn the loss of Pona, our male Giraffe who suddenly passed away in August, we find comfort in the new life that this Giraffe calf brings to The Living Desert.”

Giraffe Calf  born August 27 at The Living DesertPhoto Credits: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

This is the seventh calf for mom, Dadisi, and ninth calf for father, Hesabu. Dadisi is 16 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002; this is her second female calf. Hesabu is 16 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002. The Living Desert is home to a herd of eight giraffe, five males and three females.

“I am proud to support The Living Desert and their important Giraffe conservation efforts,” said Matzner, who also named baby Harold, the Giraffe born at The Living Desert on April 28, 2017. “It’s a true pleasure to name two Giraffe in their magnificent herd.”

“Dadisi and her calf have bonded and are doing very well. The well-baby exam showed that all her vitals are within the normal range and she is progressing as expected,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Programs at The Living Desert. “We are grateful for Mr. Matzner’s continued generosity and support of our giraffe herd. We look forward to seeing baby Harold and baby Shellie together on the savannah habitat.”

Giraffe gestation is about 15 months. The calf will now nurse for nine to 12 months, and begin eating foliage at about four months. During the first year of her life, she will have doubled her size. Giraffe have their own individual spot-like markings and no two giraffe have the same pattern, similar to humans’ unique fingerprints.

Currently listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as “Vulnerable”, Giraffe populations have declined up to 40% over the last 30 years. There are fewer than 98,000 giraffe in the wild. Native to southern and eastern Africa, major threats to giraffe population is habitat loss and fragmentation, civil unrest, and ecological changes.

Visitors can get up-close and personal with these majestic animals by participating in the Giraffe feedings from 9:00 a.m. to noon daily. For more information, visit www.LivingDesert.org .


Endangered Gorilla Born at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo announced the recent birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. The adorable baby was born to mum, Mbeli, and father, Kibali, on September 1st.

Primate Keeper, Alison Smith, said the team is delighted with the addition to the family at Taronga Zoo: “Mbeli is a very relaxed and confident mother. Her mother was a fantastic role model for her so she has taken that on and is really attentive toward the baby. In turn, the baby is getting stronger every day.”

Ms. Smith added, “Mbeli and baby are both doing very well and are bonding well. They are being closely watched by our Keepers and veterinary team, as well as the baby’s inquisitive big brother, MJ, who is almost two years old. MJ was present during the birth and he will be excited to start playing with his brother when he gets a little bit older.”

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4_AT_003920151016Photo Credits: Taronga Zoo

The birth brings the number of Taronga’s Western Lowland Gorillas to seven. The newborn is an extremely valuable addition to world breeding programs for gorillas, helping insure against rapidly declining numbers of gorillas in Africa. Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered, with the long-term survival of this species under serious threat due to habitat destruction and deforestation, poaching and disease outbreaks like Ebola.

Minister for Environment, the Hon Gabriel Upton MP, said the birth was a significant achievement for wildlife conservation. “The birth of this new baby gorilla is such exciting news, and helps to secure the future of the Western Lowland Gorilla, with as few as 100,000 remaining in the wild in the Congo Basin,” said Minister Upton.

“This is just one insight into the important work Taronga Zoo does to ensure species thrive. Taronga Zoo plays an important role as a world leader in conserving threatened and endangered species in Australia and worldwide,” Minister Upton said. “I congratulate Taronga Zoo on all of their efforts in ensuring the success of this birth.”

A competition will take place to name the newborn gorilla over the next two weeks via the zoo’s website at: www.Taronga.org.au.

Keen-eyed visitors to Taronga Zoo can catch glimpses of the new arrival and his family throughout the day. The best viewing times are during the Gorilla Feeding Sessions at 10.45am, 12.30am and 2.30pm.

More pics below the fold!

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Halls Gap Zoo Successfully Breeds Spotted-tail Quolls

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Halls Gap Zoo recently announced the breeding success of beautiful Spotted-tailed Quolls (or Tiger Quolls). Two healthy joeys, male and female, were born at the Australian facility.

The Zoo credits their dedicated and passionate staff for the successful breeding. The Zoo shared that the team at Halls Gap Zoo works hard to care for many threatened species, whilst sharing their passion for conserving many of the animals Australians are lucky to share their backyards with.

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21314870_1429132360457373_3450014820914595854_nPhoto Credits: Halls Gap Zoo

The Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is also known as the Spotted-tailed Quoll. It is a carnivorous marsupial of the Quoll genus Dasyurus and is native to Australia. With males and females weighing around 3.5 and 1.8 kg (7.7 and 4 lbs), respectively, it is mainland Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial, and the world's longest extant carnivorous marsupial (the biggest is the Tasmanian devil). They are found in wet forests of southeastern Australia and Tasmania.

The species is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage considers the northern subspecies, D. m. gracilis, as “endangered”.

This species is vulnerable to decline because it requires certain climates and habitats, it tends to live in low densities, it is likely to compete with introduced predators and requires lots of space. The biggest threat to the Quoll is habitat destruction. Humans may also directly contribute to Quoll deaths though persecution, motor collisions, and poisoning.


Tiny Twin Marmosets Born at Chester Zoo

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An Eastern Pygmy Marmoset, the world’s smallest species of monkey, has given birth to twins at Chester Zoo.

The tiny babies, weighing in at just 15 grams, will measure just five inches in length when fully grown.

Arriving to mum Audrey and dad Gumi, the mini-monkeys were born on July 25 but have only now grown to a size whereby they’re big enough to spot.

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4_World’s smallest monkey gives birth to tiny twins at Chester Zoo (43)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Dr. Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said, “Pygmy Marmosets actually have relatively large babies for their tiny size. An adult will only weigh up to around 150 grams and so each baby equates to around 10% of its body weight.”

Davis continued, “After giving the babies their regular feeds, mum Audrey, like all other female Eastern Pygmy Marmosets, steps aside while dad takes on the parental chores. The youngsters can therefore often be seen being carried by dad, Gumi, for long periods of time as mum takes a well-deserved break.”

Eastern Pygmy Marmosets (Cebuella pygmaea) are native to the rainforests of western Brazil, southeastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru. They are generally found in evergreen and river edge forests and are known to be a gum-feeding specialist, or a “gummivore”.

The Pygmy Marmoset is the world’s smallest “true monkey”. They have a head-body length ranging from 117 to 152 millimeters (4.6 to 6.0 in), a tail of 172 to 229 millimeters (6.8 to 9.0 in), and the average adult body weighs in at just over 100 grams (3.5 oz.).

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are threatened by both habitat loss and from being captured for the pet trade.

More great photos below the fold! 

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Perth Zoo is Saving Numbats and Dibblers From Extinction

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In 1936, Australia said farewell to the very last Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Thylacine. The Perth Zoo is committed to preventing the endangered Numbat and Dibbler, two marsupials found only in Australia, from facing the same fate.

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AlexAsbury_numbatjoey_5999WEBPhoto Credit: Alex Asbury

Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program (NSBP), in partnership with other organizations, has bred and released more than 220 Numbats and more than 800 Dibblers into the wild. This spring there has been a flurry of furry activity from 22 Numbat joeys, and 53 Dibbler joeys!

In June this year, three Dibbler mothers, with 21 pouch young between them, were released. The NSBP’s goal is to repopulate these species in their natural habitats. Perth Zoo is the only zoo in the world breeding both of these rare species.

The Numbat, a striped, bushy-tailed relative of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, is so rare that there are less than 1,000 of them remaining in the wild.

Dibblers, tiny mouse-like carnivorous marsupials, were thought to be extinct for more than 50 years until a chance rediscovery in 1967.

As keepers prepare to release the joeys, they must first wean the Dibbler young from their mothers and prepare enough termite custard to meet the Numbats’ appetite for 20,000 termites a day.

The main threats facing both animals in the wild include habitat loss and introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes. Australia’s zoos, including the Perth Zoo, government agencies, and private groups are determined to protect Australia’s unique wild heritage.

See more photos below.

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Clouded Leopard Cubs Climb to New Heights

21231255_1427079080661866_5978684021896106567_nToronto Zoo’s four-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs are transitioning to a new play space and zoo guests can now see the sisters during limited times on most days.

Their new den has climbing logs positioned just right for the growing cubs to develop their skills.  Right now, the logs are low (at “toddler” level) but they can be repositioned for more challenging exercise as the cubs grow. Clouded Leopards are extremely agile and can even climb on the underside of tree branches, as one of the cubs demonstrates in the photos.

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21106750_1427079150661859_7101477329161299372_nPhoto Credit: Toronto Zoo

Born May 13, the cubs were first introduced to ZooBorns readers here. They’ve been under human care ever since they were a few days old because their mother did not care for them properly. By the time the two female cubs were two months old, they were thriving, as reported on ZooBorns.

Keepers report that one of the cubs is more adventurous than her sister and is often the first to dive in to new experiences. They often play wrestle together and seem to enjoy ripping apart banana leaves.

Each cub weighs about eight pounds, and they now eat solid foods – nearly a pound per day each!

Clouded Leopards live in the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia, where their numbers are decreasing. About 10,000 Clouded Leopards remain in the wild, but the population is fragmented into groups no larger than 1,000 animals. The forested areas are not large enough to sustain the populations in the long term. Clouded Leopards are poached for the commercial wildlife trade, and body parts are sold on the black market for traditional Asian medicines, which are proven to have no actual health benefits. Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

See more photos below.

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Fossa Pup Explores Its New Home at San Diego Zoo

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A baby Fossa (pronounced FOO-sa) was born this summer at the San Diego Zoo.  Now 12 weeks old, the Fossa pup, its mother and three siblings moved into their new home in the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit last week and wasted no time exploring—jumping over grassy areas, climbing on rocks and playing in trees.

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Weighing 12 to 22 pounds, Fossas are the largest carnivorous mammals on the African island of Madagascar. The classification of Fossas has been vigorously debated for decades. They have been linked to Cats, Civets, and Mongooses based on their physical characteristics and DNA analyses.  Fossas are currently in the family Eupleridae along with other carnivores of Madagascar.

Fossas’ slender bodies, muscular limbs, and long tails enable them to move with dexterity along tree branches. They are active in early morning, late afternoon, and late at night, when they hunt small animals such as Birds, Rodents, and Lemurs. Communication between individuals occurs via scent markings and sounds including purrs, calls, and yelps.      

Little is known about Fossas’ habits because they live in remote areas, and there are only an estimated 2,600 to 8,800 Fossas remaining in the wild. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


It's Not a Cotton Ball - It's a Tawny Frogmouth Chick!

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Is it a cotton ball? A fuzzy marshmallow? No – it’s a five-day-old Tawny Frogmouth chick!

The chick hatched on August 31 at Vogelpark Olching, a bird park near Munich, Germany.  For obvious reasons, the staff decided to name the chick Fluffy. This is the first Tawny Frogmouth chick to hatch at the park.

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21272575_1781307301898482_3827841287168356698_nPhoto Credit: Vogelpark Olching

Vogelpark Olching has kept Tawny Frogmouths for four years, but at first held only male birds. In April, two females arrived to pair with the males. In only three weeks, one of the females began laying eggs.  The first two clutches of eggs were infertile, but from the third clutch, little Fluffy hatched.

Keepers allowed the first-time parents to rear their chick but after a few days, they realized the parents were not caring for the chick properly. Fluffy was moved to an incubator and is being hand-reared by the care team.

Fluffy’s dark feathers are already beginning to come in, and he will soon develop the mottled brown-and-gray coloration of an adult Tawny Frogmouth (see photo below). 

Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia and are named for their wide, frog-like mouths. They feed at night on moths, spiders, worms, beetles, scorpions, frogs, and reptiles. Their coloration and ability to sit motionless provide excellent camouflage, making the birds nearly impossible to detect as they perch in trees. To increase the effect, they often sit with the head tilted upward to mimic a broken tree branch. These birds are often mistaken for owls, but they are not closely related.

Tawny Frogmouths are widespread in Australia and not currently under significant threat.

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The photo above shows an adult Tawny Frogmouth at Vogelpark Olching.

 


Zebra Foal Takes First Steps at Fort Worth Zoo

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On August 25, the Fort Worth Zoo welcomed a male Grant’s Zebra foal to the herd – the first to be born there since 1996!

The foal was born to first-time mom Roxie, and both mom and baby are doing well. He was up and walking shortly after his birth and soon learned to maneuver on his long, wobbly legs.

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Zebra3Photo Credit: Fort Worth Zoo



At birth, the soon-to-be named foal weighed 60 to 70 pounds and stood roughly 30 inches tall.  When fully grown, he will weigh 650 to 750 pounds and measure about 44 inches tall at the shoulder.

The Fort Worth Zoo houses Grant’s Zebras, which are the smallest of the six subspecies of Plains Zebra. Native to Africa’s savannahs, Zebras feature a striking black-and-white-striped coat. Although the black and white lines on a Zebra’s coat are easy for human eyes to spot, it is difficult for Zebras’ predators, such as Lions, to differentiate individual Zebras in a herd. Plus, when a Zebra is standing in tall grass, it can be surprisingly difficult to see. Like human fingerprints, each Zebra's stripe pattern is unique.

Grant’s Zebras feed on grasses and move about in large herds, often mingling with Wildebeest. They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.  Grant's Zebras are the most numerous of all Zebra species or subspecies, but recent wars in their home countries have caused drastic declines in the population.