Keeper Becomes Surrogate Mother to Flying Fox


Samantha Keller, keeper at Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn, has become “surrogate mother” to Banshi, a small Kalong Fruit Bat or Large Flying Fox. “We found the small bat alone in a tree in our tropical rain forest house. It was only just a few hours old and already suffering from a reduced temperature. We brought him to his mother, but unfortunately she showed no interest. That is why I have become his mum, so to speak” says the keeper.

Bringing up a Fruit Bat is a 24-hour job. On the first day he had to be fed hourly with rearing milk and now, every three hours.

At the start of a bat pup’s life, the mother will carry her young wherever she goes. Now, that job belongs to Samantha Keller. The small bat sleeps most of the day, like any other baby, in a shawl slung around the keeper`s tummy. He almost always has a dummy in his mouth. “If he were with his mother he would be sucking her teats. The dummy is a substitute and calms him down,” says Keller.

As a Fruit Bat mum, the working day never ends. In the evening, Ms. Keller takes Banshi home with her. He sleeps in a small nest, of heating mats and blankets, next to her bed.

The Large Flying Fox, with its wingspan of up to 1.70 meters is the largest bat in the world. Banshi still has a long way to go. At the moment he only weighs just 160 grams.



4_Flughund_01_TGS_ZupancPhoto Credits: Daniel Zupanc / Tiergarten Schönbrunn


Large Flying Foxes live in the tropical rain forest of South-East Asia and are solely vegetarian, feeding on fruits, nectar and pollen. In about a month, Banshi will get his first fruit. He is already spreading his wings and fluttering them a little. “We will start with his flight training in a couple of months,” says Keller, “and when he is about 6 months old he will be able to fly properly and live with the other fruit bats in the tropical rainforest house.”

The Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus), also known as the Greater Flying Fox, Malayan Flying Fox, Malaysian Flying Fox, Large Fruit Bat, Kalang or Kalong, is a Southeast Asian species of megabat in the family Pteropodidae.

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Tallest Giraffe Calf Ever for Jacksonville Zoo

1_LeShea Upchurch - calf and mother

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens proudly announced the birth of a male Reticulated Giraffe calf. Born in the early hours of June 12, his birth marks the 39th giraffe born at the Zoo. Mother, Naomi, has had four previous calves and father, Duke, is famous for being the sire of 15 other “little” ones.

Veterinary staff examined the calf early, the morning after the birth, and determined that it was a healthy boy. He measured 6’4” tall and weighed-in at 187 pounds, and he is the tallest giraffe calf ever born at the Zoo!

After trial introductions to his habitat the weekend after his birth, the calf and mother are now on exhibit with the rest of their herd.

2_LeShea Upchurch - giraffe calf smile

3_LeShea Upchurch - Duke, Naomi and calf

4_Susan Henken - 2 giraffe calvesPhoto Credits: Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens / Images 1-3 (LeShea Upchurch); Image 4 (Susan Henken); Image 5 (Aree Kongmuang)

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali Giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to savannas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated Giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild.

The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is the type most commonly seen in zoos. They are known to often walk around with birds on their backs. These birds are called tickbirds. The tickbirds eat bugs that live on the giraffe’s coat, and alert the animals to danger by chirping loudly.

A female has a gestation period of about 15 months and usually has only one young at a time, but a mature female can have around eight offspring in her lifetime. Females return to the same spot each year to give birth. The mother gives birth standing up and the calf falls seven feet to the ground. Calves can weigh up to 200 lbs. at birth and stand as tall as six feet. They are able to stand less than an hour after birth. The young are weaned at around one year of age.

In the wild, giraffes have few predators, but they are sometimes preyed upon by lions and less so by crocodiles and spotted hyenas. However, humans are a very real threat, and giraffes are often killed by poachers for their hair and skin. Currently, there are thought to be less than 80,000 giraffes roaming Africa, and some subspecies are thought to be almost completely gone, with fewer than 100 individuals. Reticulated Giraffes are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

5_Aree Kongmuang - sitting calf2

New Moose Calf for Northwest Trek Wildlife Park


A Moose calf and his mother, Connie, are making a home in the Free-Roaming Area at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The male calf was born June 12.

The yet-to-be-named youngster brings the population of his species, at Northwest Trek, to five and is just the second Moose born at the wildlife park in the past 16 years. In addition to him and his mother, the calf’s 11-month-old sister, Willow, father, Ellis; and another adult female, Nancy, also live at the wildlife park.

Keepers can only estimate his weight right now. “Calves generally weigh around 30 pounds at birth”, Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said.

The growing youngster can gain around three pounds a day while nursing.

When fully grown, he’ll likely sport an impressive rack of antlers and could weigh more than 1,500 pounds. For now, he appears comfortable hanging out with mom and testing those spindly legs with wobbly steps through the forest.



4_160615_nwtrek_011Photo Credits: Ingrid Barrentine/Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Within the next two weeks, keepers will propose a slate of prospective names for the little guy. The Northwest-themed names will be posted at, on the wildlife park’s Facebook page and publicized in a news release. Fans will have about two weeks to vote on their favorite, and the calf will receive the name that gets the most votes. That will happen in early July.

The growing moose family at Northwest Trek is a conservation success story. Both of the calves’ parents and the wildlife park’s third adult Moose all arrived as malnourished and abandoned orphans four years ago. Connie and Ellis were discovered, separately, hungry and in need of care in Idaho; Nancy was orphaned in Alaska. Northwest Trek keepers bottle fed the trio and gradually introduced them to browse: the tree limbs, twigs and leaves that are their primary diet. When they were old enough and strong enough, they joined other ungulates, or hooved mammals, in the wildlife park’s Free-Roaming Area.

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Endangered Capuchin Born at Zoo de la Palmyre


A Yellow-breasted Capuchin was born on May 17, at Zoo de la Palmyre, bringing the number living in the Zoo’s Monkey House to a total of ten.

The sex of the young Capuchin is yet unknown. Determining the sex requires being able to observe the infant closely, in the right position, which isn’t easy during the first weeks, as the baby spends a lot of time sleeping with its belly pressed against mother.


4_MG_0763Photo Credits: F. Perroux/Zoo de la Palmyre

Capuchins are New World monkeys of the subfamily Cebinae. They are readily identified as the "organ-grinder" monkey, and were once very popular in movies and television. The range of Capuchin monkeys includes Central America and South America as far south as northern Argentina. They usually occupy the wet lowland forests on Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and Panama and deciduous dry forest on the Pacific coast.

There are 22 different species of Capuchins in the wild. Yellow-breasted Capuchins (Cebus xanthosternos), also known as “Buff-headed Capuchin” or “Golden-bellied Capuchin”, are endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic forest and live in groups from 10 to 30 individuals. Males can exceed 4kg while females are smaller and weigh less than 3.5kg.

Their prehensile tail acts like a fifth limb and allows them to free their hands while foraging. But unlike the tail of Spider and Howler Monkeys, Capuchins cannot hang by their tail excepting young individuals helped by their lower weight.

Although their diet is mostly composed of fruits, Capuchins also consume eggs and small prey, such as lizards, insects, or birds.

The species is severely threatened by habitat loss, as a result of the massive ongoing deforestation throughout its range: about 92% of the original surface of the Brazilian Atlantic forest has already been destroyed. Captures for the illegal pet trade and hunting for food are also serious treats.

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Cool Chick Hatches at Jacksonville Zoo

PenguinChick1-DeeAnna Murphy

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is happy to announce that a Magellanic Penguin chick hatched on June 3. The chick marks the second successful hatching at the Zoo since the opening of Tuxedo Coast in 2010. A male named CJ was hatched August of last year and quickly waddled his way into guests’ hearts.

The parents of the new chick are Troy and Victoria who came to JZG in 2010 from the San Francisco Zoo. Although they’ve been a bonded pair for 5 years, this is their first successful hatchling.

PenguinChick2-DeeAnna Murphy

PenguinChick3-DeeAnna MurphyPhoto Credit: DeeAnna Murphy/Pink Pelican Photography

The chick pipped (cracked the shell) on its own, but when there was no progression of the hatching process, keepers decided to intervene and help the little one along. Keepers are hand-rearing the extremely active two-week-old and have described the youngster as a “little jumping bean.”

The chick will be hand-reared by keepers for the next few months and then will be slowly and safely introduced to the rest of the colony of 16 penguins. JZG has past experience in raising a young penguin, as CJ required hand-rearing as well.

The young chick’s sex is not known at this time but will be determined soon through DNA testing. The little one is expected to make its public debut in the next few months.

The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is native to the southern coasts of South America and is considered a warm-weather penguin. Its nearest relatives are the African, the Humboldt penguin and the Galápagos penguins. This species of penguin was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted the birds in 1520.

Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins, which grow to be 61–76 cm (24–30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 and 6.5 kg (6.0 and 14.3 lb).

They travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, they gather in large nesting colonies at the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, which have a density of 20 nests per 100 m2. Breeding season begins with the arrival of adults at the breeding colonies in September and extends into late February and March when the chicks are mature enough to leave the colonies.

Nests are built under bushes or in burrows. Two eggs are laid, and incubation lasts 39–42 days (a task the parents share in 10–15 day shifts). The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days and are fed every two to three days.

The male and female penguins take turns hatching, as they forage far away from their nests. Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call.

They are listed as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) supports SANCCOB, a South African conservation organization whose primary objective is the rescue, rehabilitation and release of seabirds, especially African Penguins. Since 2009, the Zoo has donated funds from penguin-specific events like World Penguin Day and a portion of each admission ticket goes directly to conservation in the wild.

There's a New Kid at Stone Zoo

Markhor kid 3; credit Dayle Sullivan-TaylorVisitors to Stone Zoo will notice a new furry face with the recent birth of a Markhor, an endangered Mountain Goat species.

The female kid, born on May 30, was walking within a half hour of birth and was observed nursing within 45 minutes of birth.  She made her public debut on June 6 and has already been demonstrating the incredible agility that is a hallmark of this species.

Markhor kid 2; credit Dayle Sullivan-Taylor
Markhor kid; credit Dayle Sullivan-TaylorPhoto Credit:  Dayle Sullivan-Taylor

“The experienced mother is very attentive and is doing everything she should be doing. These animals are skilled climbers suited to rough, rocky terrain, and it’s amazing to observe the agility in the kid at such a young age,” said Pete Costello, Assistant Curator of Stone Zoo.

Zoo New England participates in the Markhor Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding.

Markhors are native to the Himalayan Mountains. Their range includes northern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and they typically live around or above the tree line. The largest of the wild Goat species, Markhor have broad hooves and striking spiral horns that can grow to three feet long in mature males. These endangered animals face a number of threats including hunting as well as competition for food. The long corkscrew-shaped horns that males develop as they mature are much sought after by trophy hunters. These animals are also competing against domestic livestock for food and water resources in their native habitat.


Rare Lemur Born at San Diego Zoo

Red Ruffed Lemur (2)
On May 18, 2016, a male Red Ruffed Lemur was born at the San Diego Zoo’s behind-the-scenes Primate Propagation Center. It has been 13 years since the last Red Ruffed Lemur was born at the zoo, and excitement is in the air.

The San Diego Zoo has a successful history of breeding Red Ruffed Lemurs; in fact, more than 100 born have been born here since 1965. That success is attributed to the zoo’s Primate Propagation Center, a facility specifically designed for breeding Lemurs.

Red Ruffed Lemur (1)
Photo Credit:  San Diego Zoo

"Red Ruffed Lemur Morticia is a first-time mom, but she has proven to be a great mother,” said Kristen Watkins, a primate keeper at the San Diego Zoo. For the first week after the birth, it was important for keepers to get daily weights on the infant, to make sure he was gaining weight. A rising weight indicates that the baby is successfully nursing and that mom is taking good care of him. Morticia is willing to let keepers borrow her infant in exchange for some of her favorite fruits, but she is eager to get him back, Watkins said. The infant has been gaining about one-third of an ounce (10 grams) a day and is getting more active and aware of his surroundings. Although he currently weighs only 6.6 ounces (188 grams), Red Ruffed Lemur babies grow up fast. During his first month, keepers expect him to be exploring outside of his nest, with Morticia watching closely.

This rare species is included in Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature SSC Primate Specialist Group, and every birth of a Red Ruffed Lemur is a critically important one. They are only found in one region in the entire world: the Masoala Peninsula in Madagascar, which is undergoing deforestation.

San Diego Zoo Global leads on-site wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.

Rare Lowland Anoa Calf Born at Chester Zoo

1_A rare anoa calf has been born at Chester Zoo (5)

A rare Lowland Anoa calf, the world’s smallest species of wild cattle, was born June 1st at Chester Zoo.

Mum Oana welcomed the new youngster, which has yet to be sexed or named, after a 10-month pregnancy.

The Anoa, which is usually found in forests and swamps on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with just 2,500 estimated to be left in the wild. Their falling numbers are largely attributed to habitat loss and overhunting for their meat.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Demon of the Forest’, Anoas can often be persecuted by indigenous farmers who wrongly believe that they leave the forests at night and use their horns to attack other cattle.

2_A rare anoa calf has been born at Chester Zoo (1)

3_A rare anoa calf has been born at Chester Zoo (2)

4_A rare anoa calf has been born at Chester Zoo (3)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Tim Rowlands, Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals, said, “The Lowland Anoa is a species that’s coming under real pressure in its fight for survival. Not only are they suffering from loss of their forest habitat, which is being chopped down to make way for agricultural land, they are also hunted for their meat. Anoas are also sometimes mistakenly killed by farmers who hold them responsible for puncturing their cattle at night. All of this is sadly contributing to an uncertain future for the species.”

“That said, all is far from lost, and we are actively supporting conservation efforts to protect the Anoa and its habitat in Sulawesi. And our new calf can only help us to raise more awareness about this fantastic species,” Tim continued.

“Looking at our latest arrival, it’s impossible to see how anyone could harm Anoas or label them ‘demonic.’ They’re a beautiful, shy and secretive animal that are misunderstood and often overlooked.”

The new calf is the first of its kind to be born in the Zoo’s new Islands habitat (the biggest ever UK zoo development) since it opened last summer. The new Islands exhibit showcases threatened species from South East Asia and puts a spotlight on the conservation work Chester Zoo carries out in the region.

Johanna Rode-Margono, the Zoo’s South East Asia conservation field programme officer, who is working on the conservation of Asian wild cattle, added, “Together with the wider global zoo community, international conservationists and the Indonesian government, we’re supporting the conservation of the Anoa in South East Asia to counteract the increasing threats to its survival.

“The pressure on the species can be reduced through the improvement of law enforcement to prevent poaching, for example by providing training to patrol teams, by educating local people about their shy character and to reduce the demand for wild Anoa meat. Right now we are developing conservation projects in Sulawesi that will aim to achieve these exact goals.”

Anoa, also known as midget buffalo and sapiutan, are a subgenus of Bubalus comprising two species native to Indonesia: the Mountain Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) and the Lowland Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis). Both live in undisturbed rainforest, and are essentially miniature water buffalo. They are similar in appearance to a deer, weighing 150–300 kg (330–660 lb).

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First Tawny Frogmouth Chick for Brevard Zoo

1_5 days

A Tawny Frogmouth chick, unofficially known as “Furby,” hatched at Brevard Zoo on May 28. Furby is the first member of its species to hatch at the Melbourne, Florida zoo.

Furby’s parents, Nathan and Hotdog, had yet to successfully hatch and rear a chick at the facility. Therefore, Furby is being hand-reared by animal care staff. The sex is unknown at this time.

2_9 days


4_adult tawny frogmouthPhoto Credits: Brevard Zoo

The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a species of frogmouth native to Australia and is found throughout the Australian mainland and Tasmania. They are bigheaded stocky birds often mistaken for Owls due to their nocturnal habits and similar color.

Tawny Frogmouths can measure from 34 to 53 cm (13 to 21 in) long. Weights have been recorded of up to 680 g (1.50 lb) in the wild (perhaps more in captivity) but these are exceptionally high.

Tawny Frogmouths and Owls both have mottled patterns, wide eyes, and anisodactyl feet. However, Owls possess strong legs, powerful talons, and toes with a unique flexible joint as they use their feet to catch prey. Tawny Frogmouths prefer to catch their prey with their beaks and have fairly weak feet. They also roost out in the open relying on camouflage for defense and build their nests in tree forks, whereas Owls roost hidden in thick foliage and build their nests in tree hollows. Tawny Frogmouths have wide, forward facing beaks for catching insects, and Owls have narrow downwards facing beaks used to tear prey apart. The eyes of Tawny Frogmouths are to the side of the face while the eyes of Owls are fully forward on the face. Furthermore, Owls have full or partial face discs and large asymmetrical ears while tawny frogmouths do not.

Tawny Frogmouths are carnivorous and considered to be among Australia's most effective pest control birds, as their diet consists largely of species regarded as vermin/pests in houses, farms, and gardens. The bulk of their diet is composed of large nocturnal insects such as moths, as well as spiders, worms, slugs, and snails. Their diet also includes a variety of bugs, beetles, wasps, ants, centipedes, millipedes, and scorpions. Large numbers of invertebrates are consumed in order to make up sufficient biomass, and small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds are also eaten.

Tawny Frogmouths form partnerships for life, and once established, pairs will usually stay in the same territory for a decade or more. Establishing and maintaining physical contact is an integral part of the lifelong bond.

The breeding season of Tawny Frogmouths is from August to December, however individuals in arid areas are known to breed in response to heavy rains. Males and females share in the building of nests by collecting twigs and mouthfuls of leaves and dropping them into position. Nests are usually placed on horizontal forked tree branches.

The clutch size is one to three eggs. Both sexes share incubation of the eggs during the night, and during the day, males incubate the eggs. For the duration of the incubation period, the nest is rarely left unattended. One partner will roost on a nearby branch and provide food for the brooding partner. Once hatched, both parents cooperate in the supply of food to the young. The fledging period is 25 – 35 days, during which they develop half their adult mass.

The Tawny Frogmouth is classified as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List due to their widespread distribution. However, there are a number of ongoing threats to the health of the population. Many birds and mammalian carnivores are known to prey upon them.

They also face a number of threats from human activities and pets. Tawny Frogmouths are often killed or injured on rural roads during feeding as they fly in front of cars when chasing insects illuminated in the beam of the headlights. As they have adapted to live in close proximity to human populations, Tawny Frogmouths are also at high risk of exposure to pesticides.

First Zebra of the Season for Bioparc Valencia

1_Primavera 2016 en BIOPARC - La cebra Bom junto a su cría - 7 junio (3)

BIOPARC Valencia recently welcomed their first newborn Grant’s Zebra of this year! On June 7, the Spanish park started the day with the birth of the beautiful filly.

With the arrival of good weather more frequent births of different species occur, and, if all goes well, more births of Zebras are expected at the park. The herd of Zebras, inhabiting the African Savannah exhibit at BIOPARC Valencia, is now composed of one male and four females.

The mother, Bom, arrived at BIOPARC Valencia in June 2007 from Zoo Copenhagen in Denmark. In less than a month, Bom will be 10 years old. The father, Zambé, is the only male of the herd, and he moved to the park, in February 2012 from the Safari de Peaugres in France, for breeding purposes.

The filly is very healthy and constantly follows her attentive and inseparable mother. Both enjoy the sunny spring days with the rest of the Zebra herd and under the curious eyes of the other savannah animals who share their exhibit.

2_Primavera 2016 en BIOPARC - La cebra Bom junto a su cría - 7 junio (4)

3_Primavera 2016 en BIOPARC - potra de cebra con unas horas de vida

4_Primavera 2016 en BIOPARC - las cebras Bom y Zambé junto a su cría - 7 junioPhoto 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.

Their gestation period is 360-370 days, and they usually have one offspring per birth. The birthing peak is during the rainy season. Mothers nurse their foal for up to a year. Young male Zebras eventually leave their family groups. This is not because of sexual maturity or being kicked out by their fathers, but because their relationship with their mothers has faded after the birth of a sibling. The young stallion then seeks out other young stallions for company. Young females may stay in the harem until they are “abducted” by another stallion.

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