Fruit Bat Pups Hangin’ Out at Zoo Boise

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Zoo Boise is excited to share photos of their two new Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat pups.

The two elusive boys are currently staying close to their mothers, which makes photography of the newborns a bit more challenging.

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Photo Credits: Zoo Boise

Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bats are important tree pollinators. For example, the baobab tree depends on bat pollination for survival. As the bat reaches into a flower to get nectar, pollen rubs onto their foreheads. This pollen is left on the next flower they visit.

Fruit Bats (or Megabats) constitute the suborder Megachiroptera, and its only family Pteropodidae of the order Chiroptera. They are native to Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, and are represented by 166 species. In North America, about twelve species of Megachiroptera are managed in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions. These bats can be divided into three different groups, based on ability to echolocate and roosting behaviors: 1) megabats with audible echolocation; 2) megabats that cannot echolocate and roost in dense cover in small groups; and 3) megabats that cannot echolocate and roost in larger groups in tree canopies.

In North America, two species of Rousette Fruit Bats are commonly housed in zoological collections: the Egyptian Fruit Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) and the Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat (Rousettus lanosus). These fruit bats are nocturnal and feed predominately on fruit, flower resources and leaves. In captivity, Rousette Fruit Bats will also consume mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). In the wild, Rousette Fruit Bats roost in large crowded colonies, in caves. These cave-dwelling bats have a rudimentary echolocation system, based on audible tongue clicking for navigation. When feeding, these bats rely on vision and sense of smell for locating food resources.

The Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Another New Addition for Gorilla Troop at Zoo Basel

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On July 16, Zoo Basel witnessed the arrival of another new Western Lowland Gorilla. It is the third birth for mom, Faddama, and it is the second offspring for dad, M'Tongé.

M'Tongé’s first child was born in May to mother, Joas, and was Zoo Basel’s first Gorilla birth in a decade. 

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2_11742718_894160777288330_5266875776503188310_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Basel

New mom, Faddama (age 32), is already a great-grandmother. Her son, Viatu (age 17), resides in Frankfurt. He is not only a father of four but grandfather of two, as well.

Aside from Faddama and her new baby, the troop of Gorillas at Zoo Basel consists of: M'Tongé (age 16), Joas (26), Mobali (son of Joas and M'Tongé), Zungu (13), Goma (56), and Quarta (47).  Quarta is the mother of Faddama, and she full-filled her ‘grand-motherly’ duties and stayed close by her daughter during the childbirth.

The sex of the new baby isn’t known yet, but once staff can examine the tiny Gorilla, a name will be given.

The Western Lowland Gorilla is native to the rainforests of western central Africa.

Gorillas live in groups called troops. Troops tend to be made of one adult male (or silverback) and multiple adult females and their offspring. A silverback is typically a male that is more than 12 years of age.

Females mature at 10-12 years (earlier in captivity) and males at 11-13 years. Female Gorillas mate and give birth in, typically, four-year intervals. Gestation lasts about 8.5 months. Infants are entirely dependent on their mothers. Male Gorillas are not active in caring for the young, but they do play a role in socializing them to other youngsters and work to shield them from aggression within the group. Infants suckle at least once per hour and sleep with their mothers in the same nest.

Infants begin to break contact with their mothers after five months but only for brief periods of time. By 12 months, infants move up to 16 feet from their mothers. At around 18-21 months, the distance between mother and offspring increases and they regularly spend time away from each other. They enter their juvenile period at their third year, and by the sixth year, they begin to sleep in a separate nest from mother.

The Western Gorilla, and its subspecies, is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Mountain Gorilla is also listed as “Critically Endangered”, while the Eastern Gorilla is currently classified as “Endangered”.

Major threats to gorilla survival include habitat destruction and poaching for bushmeat trade. It is also believed that several thousand gorillas, in the Republic of Congo, died from Ebola during the outbreak in 2004.

 


Civet Twins at Newquay Zoo

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Newquay Zoo, in Cornwall, UK, is excited to announce the birth of twin Owston’s Civets.  The young pair, named Tai and Quy, are the offspring of mother, Dong Ha, and father, Bao.  Dong Ha was born and bred at Newquay Zoo, and Bao originated from the Carnivore & Pangolin Conservation Center in Vietnam. 

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13_11728730_10152893681066423_3730226673489094267_oPhoto Credits: Newquay Zoo

Senior Carnivore Keeper, Owen Taylor recently said, “This is a magnificent achievement for all of us here at Newquay Zoo, as the civet species is very vulnerable due to ongoing population decline. So, to have these two new arrivals is a great conservation result and helps us maintain the ongoing survival of this species.”

John Meek, Curator, added, “The arrival of the Owston's Civets is a welcome addition to the animal population [at the zoo], as this extraordinary species are actually illegally hunted for their fur and often eaten in local restaurants in Vietnam. So, to be able to continue to preserve this species is a fantastic win for Owen and the team.”

Owston’s Civet (also known as Owston’s Palm Civet) is named after wildlife collector Alan Owston and is native to Vietnam, Laos, and southern China.

A civet is a small, mostly nocturnal mammal that is native to tropical Asia and Africa. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. The best-known species is the African Civet, which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent, used in perfumes, was obtained.

Civets have a broadly cat-like appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, much like an otter or mongoose. They range in length from 17 to 28 inches (43 to 71 cm) and in weight from 3 to 10 lbs. (1.4 to 4.5 kg).

The civet will spend most of their days asleep and start their foraging for food at dusk. Occasionally they will venture up the trees to look for food but prefer to spend most of their time on the ground, using their long snouts to dig into the soil for food.

The civet produces a musk (also called civet) that is highly valued as a fragrance and stabilizing agent for perfume. Both male and female produce the secretion. The secretion is harvested by killing the animal or by removing the glands.

Owston’s Civet is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List due to an ongoing population decline. It is estimated there has been a loss of more than 30% of the population over the last three generations (about 15 years), due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction, and degradation.


Zoo Brno Visitors Witness Zebra Birth

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On July 15, lucky visitors, to the African Village Exhibit at ZOO Brno, witnessed the birth of a Chapman’s Zebra!

The foal was born, at the Czech zoo, to mom Arwen and dad, Elvis.

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4_11033075_919117998126619_5975114748841858847_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Brno (Images 1 - 4); Marie Pilátová (Images 5 - 11)

The Chapman’s Zebra is a subspecies of the Plains Zebra. Like their relatives, they are native to the savannah of northeast South Africa, north to Zimbabwe, west into Botswana, the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, and southern Angola.

The Chapman's Zebra eats mainly grass and occasionally shrubs. They are currently at low risk status on the IUCN Red List, but like other animals, are still under threat because of habitat destruction and illegal poaching.

Chapman's Zebra is distinguished by stripes on the lower halves of the legs, which break up into many irregular brown spots. The pastern is not completely black on the lower half. When foals are born they have brown stripes, and in some cases, adults do not develop the black coloration in their fur and keep their brown stripes. Males usually weigh 600–800 pounds and stand at 48–52" tall. Females approximately weigh 500–700 pounds and stand as tall as the males

Like most members of the horse family, zebras, in general, are highly social. Their social structure, however, depends on the species. Like horses, zebras sleep standing up, and only sleep when neighbors are around to warn them of predators.

Female zebras mature earlier than the males, and a mare may have her first foal by the age of three. Males are not able to breed until the age of five or six. Mares may give birth to one foal every twelve months. She nurses the foal for up to a year. Like horses, zebras are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after they are born.

Amazing pics of the birth, taken by Zoo Brno visitor Marie Pilátová, below the fold!

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Lion Cubs Show Their Playful Side

11705136_10153476435870908_2892998893198656213_nFour Lion cubs born June 8 at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari are showing off their playful side!

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11754235_10153476435930908_4057571369824301940_nPhoto Credit:  Wildlife Safari

The cubs, three male and one female, have already more than doubled their birth weight, a sign that they are being well cared for by their one-year-old mother, Serafina.

Zoo keepers expect the cubs to emerge from their den in a few weeks, and the public will get a chance to see them in person at that time.

Once widespread across much of Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, Lions now live in fragmented populations in eastern and southern Africa.  Currently listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Lion populations are rapidly decreasing, with losses estimated at 30-50% every 20 years in the latter half of the 20th century. 

Conservation organizations are using a variety of tactics to support the world’s wild Lions, including managed zoo breeding through the Species Survival Plan, protection of livestock to reduce retaliatory killings, and working with local people to protect lions through ecotourism.  


Eight Grey Wolf Pups Pop Out of Their Den

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Eight grey wolf pups born on April 30 at Omaha Zoo’s Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari have emerged from their den!

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Wolf Pups (4)Photo Credit: Omaha's Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari  

Seven of the pups have grey coats, and one has a black coat.  All eight were born to Kenai, age six, and Yahzi, age seven.  This is their second litter – the pair produced five pups in 2014.

The pups are still nursing, but are starting to eat an adult carnivore diet with treats that include fish, eggs, bones, and meat.

Grey wolves, of which there are several subspecies, live in remote parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They are social animals, living in pairs with their offspring.  Grey wolves hunt in packs in well-established territories. 

There are currently 107 grey wolves in 38 North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. In the last 12 months, there have been 10 births, including this litter.  Grey wolves are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Snow Leopard Cubs ‘Spotted’ at Zoo Krefeld

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On May 4, Zoo Krefeld, in Germany, welcomed two new Snow Leopards. The two females were born to dad, Patan, and mom, Dari.

Patan and Dari’s first offspring, Shan, was born in 2013 and now resides at Highland Wildlife Park, in Scotland.  Zoo visitors can see the newest cubs as they explore their outdoor facilities. 

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4_11745764_730359130409429_729125246719173201_nPhoto Credits: Iris Stengel (1,7), Jan Willemsen (2,5), Dagmar Göddemeier (3,4), Doris Henn (6), Tina Sagemann (8)

The Snow Leopard is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. They prefer alpine and subalpine zones and elevations from 9,800 to 14,800 feet (3,000 to 4,500 m). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.

Snow Leopards are slightly smaller than other big cats and have a relatively short body, measuring in length from head to tail 30 to 50 inches (75 to 130 cm). However, their tail is quite long, at 31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 cm).

Their fur is long and thick, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with white underparts. They have dark gray to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Their eyes are pale green or gray in color.

The Snow Leopard cannot roar, despite possessing partial ossification of the hyoid bone. Instead, their vocalizations consist of hisses, chuffing, mews, growls, and wailing.

Adults are somewhat elusive and solitary, except for females and cubs. Snow Leopards have a gestation period of 90 to 100 days, with the offspring generally born in April to June. The mothers prefer secluded, rocky dens for birth and rearing. The litter sizes vary from one to five cubs. Newly born cubs have full black spots, which turn into rosettes as they grow to adolescence. Cubs leave their den at around two to four months of age, but they remain with the mother until around 18 to 22 months.

The Snow Leopard is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080 to 6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild.

Zoo Krefeld is a supporter of the Snow Leopard Trust, a Seattle-based organization that endeavors to “build community partnerships by using sound science to determine priorities for protecting the endangered Snow Leopard.” For more information, check out the Snow Leopard Trust’s website: www.snowleopard.org

More pics below the fold!

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