Meet the Fluffiest Cubs In Chicago


After growing in size and strength, Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs Clark, a male, and Addison, a female, are now in their outdoor exhibit!

Photo Credit:  Lincoln Park Zoo
ZooBorns has reported on the cubs’ progress in stories here and here. Born June 26, Addison and Clark have spent the last few months behind-the-scenes with their mother, Leafa. The Red Pandas will be on and off exhibit intermittently as they continue to acclimate from their nest box behind-the-scenes.

“We’re excited to see the cubs explore their outdoor exhibit space and to be able to share their playful nature with our guests,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The Red Panda cubs continue to grow in size but also in how vocal they are, their activity level, and curiosity levels.” 

Red Pandas are Raccoon-like in appearance and have Panda in their name, but are not related to either species – genetics indicate that Red Pandas belong to a unique family. Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan mountain range and due to habitat loss and poaching, Red Pandas are considered a Vulnerable species.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Newborn Zebra Plays In The Rain


A five-day-old endangered Grevy’s Zebra ran and bucked in the rain during his first day on exhibit at Zoo Miami

10Photo Credit:  Ron Magill 

The foal, who will be named in an online contest, weighed 104 pounds at birth.  He is the first foal for his three-year-old mother, and is the 16th member of this endangered species to be born at Zoo Miami.  He made his exhibit debut alongside his mother and another female Zebra. 

Grevy’s zebras are the largest of all Zebra species and are native to northern Kenya and Ethiopia.  They are distinguished from other Zebra species by their large heads and ears, along with very thin stripes which do not extend to the belly.  Well-adapted to arid regions, Grevy’s Zebras live in herds with up to 100 members. 

In less than 40 years, Grevy’s Zebra populations declined from about 15,000 animals to only about 2,500 today.  Invasive plants have overtaken the native grasses eaten by Zebras, and they must compete with cattle for grazing areas.  Fortunately, hunting has declined and the population appears to have stabilized for now.

See more photos of the foal below.

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Indy Zoo’s Lion Pride Grows by Three

1_lion cubs-Jackie Curts

With their awesome strength and intense beauty, Lions are one of Africa’s most iconic animals. Yet as these regal cats are in decline in the wild, three adorable newborns at the Indianapolis Zoo will help inspire awareness and support for conservation of the species.

The African Lion cubs, two males and a female, were born on September 21 to first-time mother, Zuri, and first-time dad, Nyack. When Zookeepers arrived the day of the cubs’ birth, they found that 9-year-old Zuri had already delivered her first cub sometime during the night or early morning. The others followed around 10am and 1:15pm. These are the first African Lions born at the Zoo since 2003.

2_lion cubs4-Jackie Curts

3_lion cubs5-Jackie Curts

4_lion cubs6-Jackie CurtsPhoto Credits: Jackie Curts / Indianapolis Zoo

Adult Lions are one of the most fearsome predators on Africa’s plains, yet newborns are defenseless and rely solely on their mothers for survival. Zuri has shown excellent maternal behavior and is a caring, protective mom to her trio.

The youngsters are nursing well and growing, currently weighing between 7.5 and 9.5 pounds. Like all Lion cubs, the babies were born with mottled fur. Their dark spots will eventually fade, though some young adults still show hints of brown in their sleek, golden coats.

Zuri and her cubs will remain indoors for several months, to protect the health of the newborns. The family is expected to make its debut in Spring 2016, and at that time, guests will be able to get closer than ever before. Renovations are currently under way at the Lion Exhibit, and new glass windows and expanded viewing areas will allow visitors to get within inches of the ferocious felines.

Even before visitors have a chance to come face to fuzzy face with the new cubs, they will soon be able to vote on the babies’ names, through a poll on the Zoo’s Facebook page. More details will be announced soon.

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Queens Zoo Helps Save New England Cottontail

1_Fitting transmitter on NECT

WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation SocietyQueens Zoo has successfully bred rare New England Cottontail Rabbits for introduction to their native New England states.

The Queens Zoo started breeding New England Cottontails, this year, as part of a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), various state agencies in NY and New England, universities, public and private landowners, other conservation NGOs, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo (Providence, R.I.), in an effort to boost the wild population. 

2_NECT kit getting transmitter

3_Donna releasing rabbit at Great Bay

4_Released NECT with transmitter NHPhoto Credits: Scott Silver

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the New England Cottontail as “Vulnerable”. The rabbit was recently reviewed for listing as “threatened” or “endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act. The USFWS found that federal protection was unnecessary, as current conservation efforts have shown productive results, and ongoing plans are in place to recover the species. 

New England Cottontails have light brown coats and look strikingly similar to the more populous Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, which is designated “Least Concern” by the IUCN. The Eastern Cottontail is not native and was introduced to the region in the early 1900s, primarily for hunting purposes. DNA analysis is the most reliable way to distinguish between the two species.

The Queens Zoo’s breeding program takes place in an off-exhibit space, and the rabbits are not on exhibit for public viewing. Special habitats and conditions have to be created to encourage courtship and breeding. The adult males and females are initially kept in their own enclosures, and then introduced in specially designed rabbit pens, where they get to know each other and hopefully reproduce. These pens have hay beds, nest boxes, and other features so they can pair up or separate much as they would in the wild. After a week of living together, the rabbits are separated, and each one goes back to its own enclosure. These environmental variations are important to the regular reproductive cycle of the species.

This season, 11 young rabbits (known as kits) were born at the Queens Zoo and sent to New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Once there, biologists from the partnering agencies first introduced them to a one acre outdoor acclimation pen and fitted them with transmitters to track the migration patterns of the rabbits. When ready, they were fully released into suitable forest and thicket-lined habitats. Overall, between all the partnering organizations, 41 rabbits were released this year.

“The New England Cottontail is an example of a species that can be saved if enough people and organizations come together to help protect it,” said Scott Silver, Director and Curator of the WCS Queens Zoo. “We’re proud to be part of this amazing coalition of agencies and the Roger Williams Park Zoo, dedicated to conserving this ecologically important animal.”

Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and General Director of WCS Zoos and Aquarium, said, “In only a few short months, the Queens Zoo’s new New England Cottontail breeding program has proven successful. The WCS zoos and aquarium inspire people to value nature when they visit our facilities, but we also have a commitment to conservation through our extensive on-site breeding programs for both local and global species that are experiencing challenges in the wild.”

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Prague Zoo’s New Tapir Calf Was a Long Time Coming


Prague Zoo is very excited to announce the birth of a new star in their tapir nursery. A Malayan Tapir was born October 15th to mom, Indah, and father, Niko.

The birth of the new calf is also being celebrated as a big success for the zoo’s keepers. It is the first Malayan Tapir to be born in Prague after nearly 40 years. Prague Zoo and the Zoo Zlín are the only facilities in the Czech Republic where the Malayan Tapirs are kept.


3_PrahaTapirPhoto Credits: Petr Hamerník / Prague Zoo

Visitors to the Prague Zoo can now see the small baby tapir on exhibit. In the past twelve months, there have been just six Malayan Tapirs born in Europe. The Prague Zoo has been keeping Malayan Tapirs since 1967.

Mom, Indah, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 26, 2008. As a near two-year-old calf, she came to Prague from the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Sandwich, Kent, chaperoned by her older brother Vasan. It took no time for them to settle into their new home, within the Water World exhibit.

This new baby tapir is Indah’s first offspring, and she is proving herself to be a very good mother. In the coming weeks, keepers will be able to determine the sex, and then a proper name can be selected for the new baby.

The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of the five species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. The scientific name refers to the East Indies, the species’ natural habitat. In the Malay language, the tapir is commonly referred to as cipan, tenuk or badak tampung.

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Two Tiny Tigers Welcomed at Woburn Safari Park

1_Amur Tiger Cub at Woburn Safari Park

Two critically endangered Amur Tiger cubs, born to four-year-old tigress Minerva, have been welcomed at Woburn Safari Park, in Bedfordshire, UK.

These tiny tigers, born September 17th, are amongst the largest and rarest cats in the world. The new cubs signify an important achievement not just for the Park, but also for the international breeding programme of this threatened species. 


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4_IMG_1518Photo Credits: Woburn Safari Park

The as-yet unsexed cubs are the first to be born at Woburn Safari Park in 23 years, arriving in the bespoke Tiger House and weighing in at a healthy 800-1200 grams (1.8 to 2.6 lbs.). First time mum Minerva is understandably protective of her new babies and the Park is delighted that she has taken to motherhood brilliantly, remaining settled and calm.

The proud new mum and her two cubs are all together in a special private den, away from the public, with as little disturbance and noise as possible. The cubs will start to explore the 9-acre tiger reserve in early 2016, until then they will continue to be under the constant watchful eye of mum.

Genetically, Minerva is ranked as the 7th most important female in the captive tiger population across Europe; with the cubs’ dad, Elton, the two are a very important genetic match that has been coordinated by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). 

There are 326 Amur Tigers (also referred to as the Siberian tiger) in captivity across Europe and Russia, and only approximately 520 in the wild – a slight increase in wild numbers in the last 10 years.

Jo Cook, Co-ordinator at Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance and also species co-ordinator for the European breeding programme (Europe & Russia) commented, “This is the first litter for Minerva and Elton and so far she’s doing a great job as a new mum, although there is still a lot for her to learn. These cubs will make an important contribution to the European breeding programme for Amur Tigers, as Minerva in particular is genetically very important and doesn't have many relatives in the population.”

“Maintaining a healthy captive population of Amur Tigers in zoos and parks is important because they act as an insurance population and can be used for reintroductions should that become a necessary conservation action to support wild Amur Tigers. The tigers in captivity also help raise awareness and inspire visitors to do what they can to support these projects that are protecting these amazing animals in the Russian Far East and northeast China. Not only is Woburn Safari Park playing a role in the Amur Tiger breeding programme, but it is also raising funds for the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance which supports conservation activities such as anti-poaching and population monitoring in Russia and China.”

Woburn Safari Park is home to five Amur Tigers: two females – Minerva and Neurka, one male - Elton, and the two new cubs. Their home in ‘Kingdom of the Carnivores’ is a specially designed nine-acre enclosure complete with sleeping platforms and bathing pools, as they are the only big cats that like water.

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Rare Banded Palm Civet Born at Nashville Zoo


A male Banded Palm Civet was born on September 1st at the Nashville Zoo. He is currently being raised, by his parents, in an off-exhibit holding area.

Nashville Zoo is the only facility, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, breeding this species. However, the zoo does not yet have plans to exhibit their Banded Palm Civets.

2_IMG_7509Photo Credits: Nashville Zoo

The Banded Palm Civet (Hemigalus derbyanus), also called a Banded Civet, is found in the Sundaic region and occurs in peninsular Myanmar, peninsular Malaysia, peninsular Thailand and in Indonesia on the islands of Sipura, Sumatra, and Borneo.

The species if roughly the size of a domestic cat; it measures 41 to 51 cm and weighs 1 to 3 kg (2.2 to 6.6 lbs). Despite their cat-like appearance and behaviors, they are more closely related to other small carnivores including weasels and mongooses.

Banded Palm Civets are generally solitary and have excellent hearing and vision. They prefer to come out under the cover of night to hunt and catch food. They are primarily ground dwelling and highly territorial. They are carnivorous and survive on a meat-based diet, supplemented by the occasional plant or fruit.

The female Banded Palm Civet has a gestation period of about two months and usually gives birth to up to four young. The babies are weaned when strong enough to fend for themselves.

The Banded Palm Civet is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to an ongoing population decline. Threats include: overexploitation, decline in habitat quality, and habitat destruction and degradation.

A Star Is Born - With Stripes!

Africa okapi calf 1 oct 3 2015A rare Okapi calf was born on September 24 atTampa’s Lowry Park Zoo! The yet-to-be-named newborn, a male, weighed 42 pounds at birth and is the second successful Okapi birth in the zoo’s history.Africa okapi betty and calf oct 3 2015

Africa okapi calf  oct 2 2015
Africa okapi calf 5 oct 2 2015Photo Credit:  Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Born to experienced mother Betty, the calf was able to stand within hours of birth.  The calf is expected to spend about two months “nesting” in the Okapi barn, which is similar to the hiding behavior that wild Okapi calves employ as protection from predators.

This calf is only the third Okapi born in the United States in 2015.  These large hoofed mammals are managed by the Okapi Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to maximize genetic diversity of this Endangered species.  The managed population grows slowly due to a 14-16 month gestation period, and results in about four North American births per year.

Okapi are sometimes called “Forest Giraffes” and are native to the dense rain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Shy and reclusive, Okapi are the only living relatives of Giraffes and were discovered by scientists in the 20th century.  Due to habitat loss and political unrest in the DRC, the wild population has declined by 50 percent in the last 20 years.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Okapi Conservation Project to secure a protected area in the DRC's Ituri Forest.  The project's goals are to train and equip wildlife guards to protect the area from poachers, provide community assistance to people living around the reserve, educate people about sustainable use, and provide care for a breeding group of Okapi in the reserve. 

Akron Zoo's First Flamingo Chick

Seven days old2
A Chilean Flamingo chick that hatched on August 20 is the first of its species to hatch at Ohio’s Akron Zoo.

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Forty-eight days oldPhoto Credit:  Akron Zoo

The Flamingo egg was laid in the zoo’s exhibit on July 25.  Keepers collected the egg and placed it in an artificial incubator to increase its chances of successfully hatching. After 26 days, the chick began to hatch, but it took 36 hours for the chick to fully emerge from the egg.

About 24 hours after the Flamingo chick hatched, zoo staff began to hand feed the chick an egg-based formula several times a day.

Eggshell membranes were sent for DNA gender testing, which revealed that the chick is a female. With a current weight of about two pounds, the chick is being raised behind the scenes until she is large enough to join the flock in the exhibit.   The photos show the chick at two days old (top) and 48 days old.

Chilean Flamingos are native to South America, where they inhabit shallow lakes and feed on blue-green algae and brine shrimp by straining water through comb-like structures in their beaks. Flamingo chicks are covered in gray down at hatching, but as adults they sport pink plumage.  The pink color comes from the high levels of beta-carotene in their food.   Chilean Flamingos are plentiful in the wild and not under threat.

New Ring-tailed Lemur at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

1_Mother and baby CREDIT Sasha Brook

Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Australia, has welcomed a baby Ring-tailed Lemur! The female Lemur, which Keepers have named Imerina (after one of the old kingdoms of Madagascar), was born on August 25. 

2_Peekaboo CREDIT Sasha Brook

3_Close up CREDIT Sasha Brook

4_Ring tailed Lemur baby SM aPhoto Credits: Sasha Brook (1,2,3) / Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Zoo Keepers are thrilled with this breeding success, which comes three years after the arrival of three female Lemurs from Italy to commence the Zoo’s Ring-tailed Lemur breeding program.

“It’s wonderful to have a successful breeding season and a healthy baby on the ground,” Keeper Sasha Brook said. “Imerina is a strong baby and first time mother, Rikitra, is doing all the right things, nursing and grooming her baby well, which is great to see.”

In the past two to three weeks, Keepers have been delighted to see Imerina starting to explore a little bit independently of her mother.

“She has started to climb on her own and is also starting to mouth solid foods,” Sasha said. “Rikitra is never more than one to two meters away, keeping a watchful eye on her offspring, and rescuing her from any pickles she gets herself into! Imerina is also starting to jump onto her father Bruce’s back. Bruce is an experienced father so he’s taking things in his stride.”

For the short term, Keepers have separated Rikitra and her baby, along with Bruce, from the group’s two other females, to give them time to bond and prevent interference from the females.

“The family is currently alternating access to their island exhibit with the two females, and during the day they have access to their night yards so they can choose to go where they feel most comfortable,” Sasha said. “In time we will introduce the two females back to the group, as it’s important to keep the group cohesive. The females enjoy each other’s company usually; but we’re giving them some space.”

When Imerina grows up she will play a vital role in the Zoo-based Ring-tailed Lemur breeding program, and with Lemurs endangered in the wild due to habitat destruction, her birth is very important for the future of her species.

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