Screamer Chicks Hatch at Woodland Park Zoo

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A pair of female Crested Screamer chicks hatched in early March at Woodland Park Zoo. The little birds represent the first offspring between the 15-year-old mother and 23-year-old father. The last successful hatching of this species at the Seattle, WA, zoo was in 2002.

At just a few weeks old, the chicks are fluffy and downy and currently weigh about 6 ounces.

“So far, we’re pleased to report the chicks are experiencing good weight gains,” said Mark Myers, bird curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “They’re eating well and the parents are very attentive. The chicks need lots of food and exercise to grow. Based on how they’re doing, we’re optimistic they’ll continue to thrive under the care of their parents and our animal care staff.”

According to the Zoo, Crested Screamer parents do not regurgitate food for their chicks. Instead, they lead the chicks to food and drop tasty treats as a lesson on how to peck for food. Myers said the Zoo’s family dines on a blend of game bird, waterfowl pellets, lots of fresh romaine, and broccoli florets.

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4_WPZScreamerChicksNestPhoto Credits: Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

The Crested Screamer (Chauna torquata) is aptly named for its loud, distinctive call, making it among the loudest of any bird. Native to Bolivia and southern Brazil, to northern Argentina, these large goose-like birds are common in tropical and subtropical wetlands, including marshes, estuaries and lowland lakes.

Another distinctive feature of the species is a large, sharp spur on each wing, which the birds use to defend themselves against predators. Adults reach and average size of 81–95 cm (32–37 inches) long and a weight of around 3–5 kg (6.6–11.0 pounds).

Screamers form monogamous relationships, and both adults take part in incubation and caring for the chicks. The female lays between two to seven white eggs, and incubation takes 43 to 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents will care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks.

Although the Crested Screamer population is not threatened in their home range, Screamers and many other species of waterfowl are threatened by habitat loss due to human-imposed activities.

The new family at Woodland Park Zoo is currently off-exhibit, to allow animal keepers to monitor the chicks closely and weigh them regularly to ensure acceptable weight gains.

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Endangered Addra Gazelle Receives Special Care

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The Indianapolis Zoo welcomed the birth of a rare Addra Gazelle on September 29, 2017.

After the birth, the female calf, named Carina, was not receiving the care she needed from her first-time mother. Keepers monitored the situation and decided the best option was to hand-rear, to ensure she would receive adequate care for her survival.

With Zookeepers attending to the calf around the clock, Carina was bottle-fed several times a day and received all the care she would have been given from her mom.

Today, Carina is an energetic, playful, and healthy young gazelle. She has been reintroduced to the rest of the Indianapolis Zoo’s herd and now spends much of her time venturing outside on warm, sunny days.

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The Addra Gazelle (Nanger dama ruficollis) is native to Africa, particularly the Sahara desert and the Sahel. Its habitat includes grassland, shrubland, semi-deserts, open savanna and mountain plateaus. Their diet includes grasses, leaves, shoots, and fruit.

Addra Gazelle’s are considered the largest type of gazelle. Although they tend to need more water than some of their desert relatives, they can withstand longer periods of drought. They are also a diurnal species (active during the day).

The species is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It has disappeared from most of its former range due to overhunting and habitat loss.


Baby Sloth Bears Are Tiny Adventurers

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After months of cozying up with mom Tasha in the den, the Woodland Park Zoo’s 13-week-old Sloth Bear cubs took their first steps outdoors. The tiny adventurers explored all around, trying to climb on everything. The best perch of all? Mom's back!

Until now, fans have only been able to see the two male cubs via cameras installed in the maternity den. 

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DDow_3-25-18-SlothBearCubs-6Photo Credit: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

“We’re very excited to see Tasha and her cubs out on exhibit,” said Pat Owen, animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The fact that they’ve started to go outside the maternity den and explore is a good indicator the cubs are healthy and thriving. At this time, the cubs and mom are still exploring and adjusting to their new surroundings. They will still have access to the off-view maternity den as they make this transition.”

The two male cubs, born December 27, 2017, are the offspring of 13-year-old mother Tasha and 17-year-old father Bhutan.
 
Sloth Bears are native to the lower elevations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are currently less than 10,000 remaining in the wild. Their survival is challenged by fragmented populations, competition with other animals (particularly humans) for space and food, deforestation, and the illegal trade in Bear parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicines.

For more than 400 years, Sloth Bears were targeted for human exploitation to perform as “Dancing Bears;” in 2009, the last Dancing Bear in India was released. Woodland Park Zoo is a participant in the Sloth Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program under the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) that ensures genetic diversity and demographic stability among Sloth Bears in North American zoos. Prior to the birth of these cubs, Woodland Park Zoo had five Sloth Bear births; two sets of twins and one cub which did not survive.
 
Woodland Park Zoo supports Wildlife SOS in their Sloth Bear maternal and day denning research project focused on Sloth Bears in the wild and in zoos. The project aims to learn more about day dens (used by Sloth Bears as a place to rest in safety during daylight hours), and the maternal dens used to give birth to and raise cubs.


 


Tiny Clouded Leopard Cub Born at Nashville Zoo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a female Clouded Leopard on Monday, February 19.

This is the sixth litter for eight-year-old mother Lom Choy and father Luk. The couple has been paired for mating since age one, and they had their first litter in 2011. Their newest cub weighed 188 grams (about six ounces) at birth. With the addition of this cub, the Zoo is home to nine Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has had 32 Clouded Leopard births since 2009. There are currently 61 Clouded Leopards in accredited North American zoos and 274 under human care globally.

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27073664508_7ab02128aa_oPhoto Credits: Amiee Stubbs (1,2,4,5); Melinda Kommavongsa (3)

Lom Choy delivered three cubs on February 19 and within the days following, keepers observed that two of the cubs were victims of parental predation, a common occurrance in Clouded Leopards.  The third cub was immediately removed for hand rearing.

Because Clouded Leopards are normally shy and secretive, hand-rearing allows the animals to become better acclimated to a zoo environment. “Cubs that are hand reared are known to allow for easier keeper interaction, and [the hand-rearing process] reduces stress in the animal,” explained Dr. Heather Robertson, DVM. 

Nashville Zoo is a member of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and is part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Robertson is the nationwide Vet Advisor for this species and Nashville Zoo spearheads conservation efforts for this species in partnership with the Smithsonian National Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at Khao Kheow breeding facility in Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are native to the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia and China. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is protected in most range countries, although enforcement in many areas is weak. Precise data on wild Clouded Leopard populations is not known, though some conservationists estimate that the total adult population is fewer than 10,000 individuals. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and fewer sightings of Clouded Leopards within their range suggest the species is in decline.

 


Dynamite Pair of Emu Chicks Hatch at Brevard Zoo

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On March 14th and 15th, following an eight-week incubation, two Emu chicks emerged from their eggs at Brevard Zoo. The pair is the first shared offspring of six-year-old female, Lafawnduh, and 23-year-old male, Napoleon.

“Once the female lays the eggs, she skips town and the male takes over,” said Michelle Smurl, director of animal programs at the Zoo. “Napoleon did a great job of sitting on the eggs, but he wasn’t too interested in the chicks once they hatched.”

Animal care staff made the decision to hand-rear the chicks, which are thriving. A third chick began to hatch, but did not make it out of the egg. Two remaining eggs were removed from the nest and placed in an incubator.

“The chicks are living behind the scenes for the time being, but they’ll probably be out for guests to see in the next few weeks,” added Smurl. “We’re focused on providing the chicks and unhatched eggs with the best possible care right now.”

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The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the second-largest living bird by height, after its ratite relative, the Ostrich. It is endemic to Australia where it is the largest native bird.

Emu chicks weigh less than a pound upon hatching, but can exceed 100 pounds as adults. A national icon in its native Australia, the Emu is renowned for its stature, striking blue skin, and “goofy” demeanor. Its diet consists primarily of grasses and insects.

On an international level, the Emu is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. However, the New South Wales Government classifies the population of the New South Wales North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens as “Endangered”.

Although the population of Emus on mainland Australia is thought to be higher now, some local populations are at risk of extinction. The threats faced include: the clearance and fragmentation of areas of suitable habitat, deliberate slaughter, collisions with vehicles, and predation of the eggs and young.


Zoo Releases Footage of Bird-of-Paradise Hatching

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The Cincinnati Zoo recently announced the hatching of a Raggiana Bird-of-paradise chick. This is the Zoo’s third chick, and they are one of only four facilities in the U.S. to breed and raise the species in the last ten years. Only eleven AZA zoos house this species.

According to the Cincinnati Zoo, the parents have a habit of breaking their eggs. In an effort to do what is best for the survival of the chick, keepers opted for “ghost rearing”. “Ghost rearing” involves a procedure of feeding the chick from behind a screen, to disguise where the food is coming from, and prevent the chick from imprinting with humans. The Zoo plans to re-introduce the chick to its parents, once it is weaned.

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4_IMG_3316Photo Credits: Kathy Newton (Images 1,7) / Cincinnati Zoo (Images 2-6,8)

The Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) is only found on the island nation of New Guinea. Their native diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods, and the species is an important seed disperser of some fruiting trees in New Guinea.

The beautiful birds are best known for their extravagant courtship displays. They are unique in that they are a lekking species. Up to ten males at a time are known to congregate in leks (display arenas for visiting females) in an effort to impress a potential mate. Males put on a display, which involves clapping of their wings and shaking their heads.

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Bongo Boy Joins Herd at Virginia Zoo

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Virginia Zoo Keepers are delighted to share news of the birth of a baby Bongo. The male calf was born to mom, Betty, on March 23 and weighed-in at 50 pounds. This is the sixth offspring for Betty and the second for father, Bob.

The calf joins a herd that consists of his parents, two other adult females and Joy, the female calf who was born on December 25, 2017.

The Virginia Zoo invited the public to help select a name for the calf, and the winning name was recently announced---Baxter. Baxter and mom, Betty, can now be seen with the rest of their herd on exhibit in the Okavango Delta section of the Zoo.

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4_Virginia Zoo Bongo 2Photo Credits: Image 1: Maxine Bray Reilly / Images 2-4: Virginia Zoo

The Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) is herbivorous and mostly nocturnal. They are a large-bodied, relatively short-legged antelope species with long spiraling horns that make one complete twist from base to tip. They have a rich chestnut coat that is striped with thin white vertical lines along the sides. The face and legs have patches of black and white, with white chevrons on the breast and below the eyes.

In general, the species inhabits lowland forests of Africa. The subspecies in Kenya lives in montane forests at (6,560-9,840 feet) altitude.

Herds are comprised of females and calves, while males are typically more solitary. Females give birth to one calf per year and the gestation period is nine months. Weaning of the calf occurs at about six months.

The Bongo is currently classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN. In the last few decades, a rapid decline in numbers has occurred due to poaching and human pressure on their habitat.


Zoo Wroclaw Welcomes First Manatee Calf

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Zoo Wroclaw has been preparing for the arrival of their new Manatee calf since this past November, when it was confirmed their female was expecting.

After consultation with other zoos, keepers at Wroclaw installed a special pen in their Manatee pool. They also stocked-up on special milk formula in preparation for the possibility that new mother, Ling, might have difficulty bonding with the calf.

When Ling’s labor began on March 3rd, staff members at Zoo Wroclaw were more than prepared for the new arrival. The little female entered the world at 10:41 a.m., and the Zoo managed to capture the beautiful scene on video.

According to keepers, right after birth, the female measured about 115 cm, and weighed about 20 kg.

The new Manatee calf is the first of her kind to be born at Wroclaw, so her caretakers opted to give her a fitting name—Lavia (from the word Vratislavia).

The Zoo’s prenatal preparations proved beneficial when it became apparent to keepers that Ling was not nursing her new calf as they had hoped. Staff began utilizing the special formula soon after the calf was born.

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4_DSC_2123Photo Credits: ZOO Wroclaw

Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals (also known as “sea cows”). They are found in the shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico (Trichechus manatus, West Indian manatee), the Amazon basin (T. inunguis, Amazonian manatee), and West Africa (T. senegalensis, West African manatee).

Manatees are classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Because they are large, slow-moving animals that frequent costal waters, they are vulnerable to hunters seeking their hides, oil, and bones. They are often accidentally hit by motorboats and sometimes become entangled in fishing nets. Due to their threatened status, captive breeding in zoos plays an important role in manatee conservation. According to Zoo Wroclaw, these docile giants live in only 19 zoological gardens in the world, including 10 in Europe.

Each calf born is treasured, and each Manatee birth is a celebrated stepping-stone to the survival of the species.

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This Penguin Chick Will Have An Important Job

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A Humboldt Penguin chick that hatched on February 12 at Brookfield Zoo is thriving, and in the near future, may be taking on an important role. As early as this May, and depending on whether he chooses to participate, the unnamed chick will be an animal ambassador for the zoo’s Penguin Encounters.

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29542154_10156436472994170_1738579396798709760_nPhoto Credit: Brookfield Zoo

Currently being hand-reared by animal care staff, the chick is being carefully monitored. He is weighed three times a day—once each morning to determine how much weight was gained over a 24-hour period, as well as after each feeding to calculate how much of its diet of herring and marine smelt he consumed.

The chick will molt from his down feathers into juvenile plumage by two months of age, at which time he will be introduced to a shallow pool of water. Adult plumage will not be present until the chick is about two years old. In addition to possibly being an integral member of the Penguin Encounters, the chick will be introduced to and reside in the Humboldt Penguin colony in the rocky shores habitat at Brookfield Zoo’s Living Coast.

Each Penguin Encounter begins with a member of the animal care staff sharing fun facts about the zoo’s resident Humboldt penguins and communicating how to safely interact with the penguin during the session. During the program, penguins are free to roam and waddle up to anyone they choose – and while one animal may be camera-shy, another individual may enjoy a good selfie or two. The animals appear to find the encounters as enriching as guests and each penguin ambassador chooses whether to participate in the encounters. Staff also talk about the conservation work the Chicago Zoological Society is doing in Punta San Juan, Peru, to help preserve the habitat and abundant wildlife, including Humboldt Penguins that live along the South American coastline.

Humboldt Penguins are native to the Pacific coastlines of Peru and Chile. The population has fallen due to climate change, guano mining, and competition for food with commercial fisheries. The birds are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.


March of the Salamanders: Migration Studied at Tennessee Aquarium

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Each spring, thousands of Salamanders migrate within Tennessee’s woodlands, and biologists at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute are studying their movements as part of an effort to better understand the animals.

Like their cousins the Frogs and Toads, Salamanders are Amphibians. Most Salamanders hatch from eggs laid in water and become aquatic larvae known as tadpoles. The tadpoles metamorphose into adults that live in warm, moist places on land.

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Tub of Spotted SalamandersPhoto Credit: Casey Phillips/Tennessee Aquarium

Why study Salamanders? Dr. Josh Ennen, a conservation biologist at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, says that because of their sensitivity to environmental changes, scientists consider Salamanders and other Amphibians to be a kind of living bellwether for the health of the surrounding habitat.

“They’re almost like a canary in a coal mine,” Ennen said. “They’re a kind of indicator species that reflect the health of their ecosystem as a whole.”

The spring migration occurs when the adults return to the same pond they hatched in.  There, they mate and lay their own eggs. The Salamanders don’t travel far – maybe a few hundred feet – but getting to water is essential. If not laid in water, the jelly-covered eggs could dry out and die.

Salamanders migrate to vernal pools – small bodies of water that fill with winter and spring rains. These ephemeral ponds may only last a few weeks or months before drying out, but they last long enough for Amphibians to complete their life cycles. Vernal pools’ temporary nature means fish can’t live in them – and that’s important because fish would eat the Amphibians’ eggs.

Dr. Emmen and his colleagues collected, tagged, and released hundreds of Spotted and Mole Salamanders in just one day of their study. He notes that Salamanders migrate to the same pools for generation after generation.

Learn more and see additional photos below.

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