UPDATE: Baby Giraffe Meets Her Fans

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A baby Giraffe born November 29 recently made her public debut at Florida’s Brevard Zoo.

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122215178Photo Credit:  Brevard Zoo

The female calf, who has not yet been named, was behind the scenes with her mother Johari since her birth.  This allowed the calf to bond with her mother and slowly be introduced to other members of the zoo’s giraffe herd. 

Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months, and the mother gives birth standing up.  This calf weighed 152 pounds at birth and stood about six feet tall. ZooBorns shared the calf’s first photos here.

This calf is a Masai Giraffe, which is one of nine subspecies of Giraffe.  All Giraffes are native to Africa, but their numbers are shrinking due to habitat loss and human encroachment into formerly wild lands. 

 


Christmas Calf Arrives at Taronga

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Christmas arrived a few days early at Taronga Western Plains Zoo when a White Rhinoceros calf was born on December 19.

The female calf is the third Rhino born at the zoo this year, with a male Black Rhino calf born in April and Australia’s first-ever Greater One-horned (or Indian) Rhino calf born in October.

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Photo Credit:  Taronga Western Plains Zoo
 
The calf was born to experienced mother Mopani, who is nurturing the calf extremely well.

“Staff are absolutely thrilled to be celebrating another precious Rhino birth, it is wonderful to end a hugely successful conservation breeding program on such a positive note for 2015,” said Zoo Director Matthew Fuller.

Keepers have named the calf Kamari, meaning ‘moonlight’ in Swahili, symbolizing the calf’s early morning birth.

“Kamari’s birth and the other successful Rhino births this year serve as a timely reminder about how important our conservation breeding programs are for species that are so heavily under threat in the wild,” said Unit Supervisor Pascale Benoit.

White Rhinos are native to a few areas in southern Africa, but were once found in most of Africa’s tropical grasslands.  They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching for their horns, which are sold as traditional medicine in parts of Asia.  Rhino horns are also sold in some Middle Eastern countries to make handles for daggers, which are seen as status symbols. 

See more photos of the calf below.

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A Little Somethin’ Sweet at Monterey Bay Aquarium

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A wild baby Sea Otter was born December 20th in the Great Tide Pool at Monterey Bay Aquarium!

For several days prior to the birth, a wild female Sea Otter had been using the protected basin of the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool to rest from the winter storms. The night before her pup was born, just as the Aquarium closed, she was spotted slinking into the pool.

According to Monterey Bay staff, it’s rare for a healthy Sea Otter to visit the pool so frequently. The mystery was solved around 8:30 a.m. on December 20th when Aquarium staff witnessed a new pup resting on the proud new mom’s belly!

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4_10869402_10153755191277482_988889495385402685_oPhoto Credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

Since the event, Aquarium staff, volunteers, and visitors have made their way to watch a conservation success story take place.

Monterey Bay Aquarium will keep the public updated on this new otter family—even though mom may decide to head back out to the wild at any time. Currently though, she’s still grooming her pup and enjoying the comfort of the Great Tide Pool. Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s web page for further information: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

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Warsaw Zoo Gives Extra Care to Giraffe Calf

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Just prior to Christmas, a male Giraffe was born at the Warsaw Zoo. New mom Lissy had difficulty feeding her calf so the Zoo’s staff have stepped in to assist.

For a short time, the calf also sported a bandage around his middle to help his umbilical cord heal.

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4_701936_1082210238485596_2266478646362177138_oPhoto Credits: Warsaw Zoo

Warsaw Zoological Garden was founded in 1928. Originally, it covered only 12 hectares (30 acres) of grounds (presently it is 40 hectares = 99 acres) and collected almost 500 animal specimens.

The 1930’s was a period of intense development of the Zoo, under management of Director Jan Żabiński. At that time, many facilities were constructed for exotic animals: Monkey House, Hippopotamus House, Elephant House, Giraffe House, Polar Bears’ Run and Seals’ Pool. The biggest success was birth of female Indian Elephant – Tuzinka in 1937. It was subsequently the twelfth Elephant born in captivity in the world, and until now the only in Poland.

In 1939 the Zoo terrain was enlarged to 32 hectares (79 acres), making Warsaw Zoo the largest in Europe.

In September 1939 – in time of the greatest prosperity – Warsaw Zoo ceased to exist. As a result of bombings that beset Warsaw, a part of the Zoo’s facilities were destroyed and many animals died. Most of the dangerous animals were shot down, on command of authorities. Some surviving animals went loose in the City, and the most valuable specimens, including Tuzinka were taken away to Germany. Their fate was never learnt, but it is believed they were relocated to Nazi game-hunting farms.

During WWII, former director of the Zoo, Jan Żabiński, and his wife risked their lives by rescuing over 300 Jews, many having hidden at their Zoo Villa.

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Santa Was Good to Cango Wildlife Ranch

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The Christmas season is over, but it came early for Cango Wildlife Ranch, in South Africa… bearing the most precious gifts of life! They weren’t just blessed with one or two little bundles of joy; the storks were working overtime as they reached a record high 18 babies for the month of December!

Cango staff are still beaming from ear to ear... just like proud parents. They had an incredible litter of six Cheetah cubs born at the private reserve on November 16. The cubs are strong and healthy, as is mom.

As you can imagine, the only thing cuter than one Cheetah cub is six of them! They currently receive around-the-clock care at the C.A.R.E.S. (Care and Rehab of Endangered Species) facility, and will move to the ranch in early January. The cubs provide valuable new bloodlines, which will form part of Cango’s Cheetah Preservation Program and on-going conservation efforts throughout the next decade.

The season of excitement spread from six Cheetahs to a pair of twins! Picture a Lemur right out of the movie Madagascar---with a gorgeous long black and white striped tail curved overhead, bright orange eyes as wide as the sun and a fluffy grey body. Upon taking a closer look, there are four tiny hands wrapped around her body, closely nestled on her chest are her tiny clones with stringy tails and eyes wide and alert in their big bobble-heads. Too perfect for words! Whilst mom soaks up the morning sun, the babies get a little braver and often attempt to ‘venture’ off into the unknown, but the big adventure is never more than half a meter away and they clumsily hop back to mom. One can watch them for hours until they all curl up in a big ball to take an afternoon nap.

Cango’s next baby was born in their Wallaby Walkabout. Now as cute as all the babies are, staff are confident that the new little Joey is more than likely hogging second place. He finally revealed himself by peeking out of his moms pouch! Talk about luxury living… the little Joey enjoys around-the-clock climate control, all cushioned and snug, full ‘room-service’ for meals with all the safety features of a protective mom all in her pouch! He has since started braving the big world…. He often falls out of mom’s pouch but stays close and attentive at all times. At the sight of an intimidating dove, he hops back to mom and dives headfirst into her pouch, often forgetting that his lanky legs are still sticking out.

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All the animal mommies are doing a phenomenal job caring for their young ones but credit must be given to Cango Wildlife Ranch’s wonderful team of hand-raisers, as well. They have had their hands full over the past month. At times, it is vital to intervene and care for babies to ensure survival. Each and every life is important to them, and they endeavor to go above and beyond to ensure they provide the utmost care to every single animal at the facility. They often act as mums, when the real moms aren’t able.

Currently, two Swainsons Lorikeet chicks (as well as two eggs being incubated), two gorgeous little Von Der Decken’s Hornbills, one bright-eyed Malayan Flying Fox (bat), and four incredible Spotted Eagle Owls are in the hands-on care of staff at the Ranch.

The Lorikeets often need to be hand-raised, due to the larger males feeding on the eggs. Staff incubates all the eggs in the C.A.R.E.S. Centre and then cares for the hatchlings until they are on solid food and can return to the aviary. This also results in very special bonds formed between the birds and carers.

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Rare Giant Jellyfish Bred at Zoo Vienna

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The Giant Jellyfish, Rhizostoma luteum, has a bell diameter of up to 60 cm (2 ft) and can reach a max weight of 40 kg (88 lb).

Zoo Vienna has now successfully bred this rare sea dweller for the first time in captivity. The baby jellyfish are about 4 centimeter tall and are now on exhibit in the Zoo’s Aquarium.

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PA_Riesenqualle3Photo Credits: Image 1,2:Daniel Zupanc / Image 3:Karen Kienberger

 “The Giant Jellyfish was first discovered in the Western Mediterranean Sea in 1827. It is such a rare species that some scientists even doubted its existence. During the last couple of years, some specimens were stranded on the beaches of Morocco and Spain, and it could finally be proven that Rhizostoma luteum does indeed exist,” said Dagmar Schratter, director of Zoo Vienna.

The story behind this breeding success is as spectacular as the jellyfish itself. Schratter continued, “The marine researcher Karen Kienberger from Jellyfish Research, South Spain, collected an adult Giant Jellyfish in the coastal waters of South Spain for her scientific research. At the laboratory, she discovered that the jellyfish was sexually mature and collected planula larvae which she sent to Zoo Vienna.”

Almost nothing is known about this jellyfish. It was a real challenge even for the jellyfish experts at Zoo Vienna to successfully breed this species. But they were successful and raised 30 baby jellyfish from the planula to the polyp--- and finally to the jellyfish.

The Zoo successfully took photos of all developmental stages and collected important data, which will be forwarded to Kienberger for further collaborative research.

French naturalists, Quoy and Gaimard, first described the Giant Jellyfish, Rhizostoma luteum, in 1827. Since its discovery, it has only been mentioned in scientific literature six times due to its rarity. Some researchers even doubted its existence until the recent discovery of specimens off the coast of Southern Spain.


Introducing Prospect Park Zoo’s New Hamadryas Baboon

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A Hamadryas Baboon was born at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Prospect Park Zoo and recently made his public debut.

The male infant was born October 22nd to his 12-year-old mom, Kaia, and 23-year-old dad, Bole. This is Kaia’s second birth at the Zoo.

 

Prospect Park Zoo breeds Hamadryas Baboons as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in accredited zoos. The two baboons born at the zoo last year have been sent to another AZA-accredited zoo as recommended by the SSP where they will eventually start their own breeding troop.

Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas) are native to northeastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. They are large, ground-dwelling primates that are found in rocky areas and cliffs. They live in troops that typically include one dominant male and many females. They are highly social and spend much of their time grooming one another, a behavior that maintains and reinforces social bonds within the troop.

The species is an ‘Old World monkey’ and was considered a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians.

Female baboons typically give birth after a six-month gestation, usually to a single infant. The young baboon weighs approximately 400 grams and has a black epidermis when born.

Females are the primary caretakers of offspring, but another female in the troop may also help care for the infant. Infants are given much attention by the entire troop. The dominant male will prevent other males from coming in contact with their infants and protect them from predators. He will also occasionally play with the young and carry them. The young are weaned at about one-year-old.

The Hamadryas Baboon is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. There are currently no major range-wide threats, although the species may be at risk from habitat loss due to agricultural expansion and irrigation projects. Adults are also hunted for their skins (for ceremonial cloaks in Ethiopia). The species was formerly trapped in large numbers for medical research.

The Hamadryas Baboon exhibit is located in the Animal Lifestyles building at Prospect Park Zoo, which is also home to tamarins and marmosets (species of New World monkeys), various bird species, and Pallas cats. During inclement weather, the baboons have access to their night quarters. Mother and baby baboon may take shelter inside if it is too rainy or cold.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS ; Video Credit: WCS


Baby Ocelot Practices Prowling

1417497_10153709302402557_7155352498711835303_oVisitors at Germany's Berlin Zoo are getting their first glimpse of an Ocelot kitten born on October 26.  For the first eight weeks of his life, the baby has been behind the scenes with his mother Sarah.  An experienced mother of eight, Sarah has taken excellent care of her little one.

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Photo Credit:  Berlin Zoo

Once the kitten was introduced to his outdoor habitat at the zoo, he began to explore and practice his prowling skills.  He is already an adept climber.

The kitten’s father, Prazak, has so far not been in contact with his baby.  Sarah and Prazak were separated before the birth to reduce potential conflicts between the pair.  The kitten will stay by his mother’s side for 10 months.  In the wild, this is when Ocelots are weaned and able to live on their own.

Ocelots inhabit areas of dense cover and hunt for prey at night.  Their adaptability to a variety of habitats – from jungles to  scrubland – has helped them thrive in many areas.

Widespread throughout Mexico, Central America, and South America, Ocelots were once listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but they were reclassified as Least Concern in the 1990s.  A small population of about 50 Ocelots exists in Texas and Arizona in the United States, but numbers have fallen by more than half in the last two decades.


Cheetah Cub Gets a Lick of Love

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Florida’s White Oak Conservation Center has a new litter of Cheetah cubs!  Two male cubs and one female cub were born to mom Karamel in November.

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Zoo keepers report that Karamel is very protective of her cubs, which is a natural behavior that female Cheetahs exhibit in the wild.

Breeding Cheetahs, which are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is a high priority for the staff at White Oak.  With Karamel’s litter of three cubs, 133 Cheetahs have been born at the center.

Though they are the fastest mammals on Earth, Cheetahs face many hurdles in the race against extinction.  Loss of suitable habitat is the primary threat to these cats, as well as persecution by farmers protecting their livestock.  Cheetahs’ unique genetics and their nutritional requirements make captive breeding especially challenging. 


Shedd’s Daring Dolphin Calf Gets a Name

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What do you get a Dolphin calf for the holidays? A name!

After a full week of voting, Cetacean fans everywhere have spoken. The name for the newest member of Shedd Aquarium’s marine mammal family, a male Pacific White-Sided dolphin calf born on June 1, 2015, was revealed on December 16 during a live broadcast from the aquarium’s Secluded Bay habitat.

Nearly 3,500 votes were cast during the naming contest, and Makoa (Ma-ko-ah)—meaning ‘fearless’ in Hawaiian—was the clear winner over another exotic favorite, Kolohe (Ko-low-hey), meaning ‘rascal’.

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Photo Credits: Brenna Hernandez / Video Credit: Sam Cejtin

 The six-month-old Makoa, who has nearly doubled in size since his birth and weighs a healthy 108 pounds, continues to achieve important milestones, such as bonding with mom Piquet, increasing in size, eating some whole fish, and interacting with trainers and fellow dolphins. As one of the most adventurous calves to have ever been born at Shedd, he has certainly lived up to his new name.

“Naming the Dolphin calf is Shedd’s way of welcoming him into the family, while also raising awareness about this fascinating open-water species that is extremely difficult to study in the wild,” said Tim Binder, executive vice president of animal care.

“With only four accredited North-American institutions caring for less than 20 Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, our understanding of this taxon is very limited, making any predictions regarding the resiliency of the species or disturbances in their native habitat very difficult. Observing the animals in human care increases our understanding of their biology, behavior and sensitivity to environmental change, allowing us to inform protection management strategies for those in the wild, as well as to provide better care for the animals in accredited zoos and aquariums.”

For more than 20 years, Shedd Aquarium has participated in collaborative efforts that help the scientific community better understand the hearing, acoustics, social behavior, reproductive physiology and immune system of Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, providing a window into this breathtaking species.

According to Binder, “Makoa will be an ambassador for Dolphins everywhere, helping the aquarium raise awareness about the importance of research and conservation, as well as furthering Shedd’s mission of connecting people to the living world, and inspiring them to make a difference.”

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