Things Are Going Swimmingly for Polar Bear Cub

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Lili the Polar Bear cub was born December 11, 2015 at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven, Germany. Mom, Valeska (age 11), father, Lloyd (age 15), and the whole Zoo have been very happy about this second healthy little bear in two years.

(Lili´s sister Lale was born on December 16, 2013 and lives now in the Wildlife Adventure Zoo in Emmen, Netherlands.)

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4_12901248_1018519488183504_79784850217026468_oPhoto Credits: Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

 

 

The new cub and her mother have been on-exhibit for a little more than a month. In the mornings, Lili plays extensively with Mom, and the two recently began swim lessons.

Recently, Lili impressed Keepers with her sudden preference for water sports. Mama took a dive into the water, and Lili went automatically afterwards.

Lessons continued for several weeks, and in the late afternoon of May 10, Keepers excitedly reported: “Lili swims!”

Now the young bear joyfully falls into the water…and doesn’t want to get out! Another step in the development of the small female Polar Bear is done.

Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north, including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals.

Populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues, two-thirds of the Polar Bear population could disappear by the year 2050. They are currently classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List.

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Leaps and Bounds for Leap Year Leopard Cubs

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The almost-three-month-old Clouded Leopard sisters, Aiya and Shigu, born February 29 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, are developing by leaps and bounds---literally!

At the end of April, the cubs were introduced to the Zoo’s main Clouded Leopard habitat to help keep them safe while they practice their new motor skills.

The transition to an enclosed exhibit will allow the cub’s greater independence to climb, pounce and leap in a supervised environment. For the near term, public viewing will continue once daily in the new location. A rotation through different natural environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Allowing guests to observe the cubs at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species. The cubs’ long-term home has not yet been determined.

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4_TLPZ Clouded leopard cubs (3) by Dave ParkinsonPhoto Credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo & Image 1: Lia Nydes; Images 2,3,4: Dave Parkinson; Images 5,6,7,8: Caitlin Chase; Images 9,10: Zootastic

 

 

Aiya and Shigu are the first set of multiples for the Zoo’s pair of 5-year-old adult Leopards. When their birth mother became anxious and stopped caring for them, the Zoo’s animal care team intervened to provide necessary assistance. Within the managed population, Clouded Leopard cubs are routinely hand-reared for the best chance of survival. This practice also improves socialization for early introductions to potential mates and reduces aggression between pairs. For their safety, the cubs will alternate exhibit time with the Zoo’s adult Leopards (they will not be reintroduced).

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) designed to support the conservation of select wildlife at risk of extinction. The Zoo’s parents, Yim (male) and Malee (female), were matched by the SSP and have lived together at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo since six months of age (2011).

The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat native to the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as “Vulnerable”, in 2008, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.

Adult Clouded Leopards weigh between 11.5 and 23 kg (25 and 51 lbs.). Females vary in head-to-body length from 68.6 to 94 cm (27.0 to 37.0 in), with a tail 61 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in) long. Males are larger at 81 to 108 cm (32 to 43 in) with a tail 74 to 91 cm (29 to 36 in) long. Their shoulder height varies from 50 to 55 cm (20 to 22 in).

They are often referred to as a “modern-day saber tooth” because they have the largest canines in proportion to their body size, matching the tiger in canine length.

Both males and females average 26 months at first reproduction. Mating usually occurs during December and March. After a gestation period of 93 ± 6 days, females give birth to a litter of one to five, most often three cubs. The male is not involved in raising the kittens.

Initially, the young are blind and helpless, much like the young of many other cats, and weigh from 140 to 280 g (4.9 to 9.9 oz). Unlike adults, the kittens' spots are "solid" — completely dark rather than dark rings. The young can see within about 10 days of birth, are active within five weeks, and are fully weaned at around three months of age. They attain the adult coat pattern at around six months, and probably become independent after around 10 months. Females are able to bear one litter each year. The mother is believed to hide her kittens in dense vegetation while she goes to hunt, though little concrete evidence supports this theory, since their lifestyle is so secretive.

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Critically Endangered Macaque Born at Chester Zoo

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A rare baby Sulawesi Crested Macaque, a species that’s critically endangered in the wild, is the latest arrival at Chester Zoo.

Keepers recently released the first pictures of the newborn monkey, which is being looked after by its mum Lisa after being born on April 17.

Sulawesi Crested Macaques are one of the world’s most endangered primates, and it’s estimated that fewer than 5,000 are left on their native island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.

The species is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, largely because their habitat is disappearing due to illegal logging. They are also targets for poachers and are over-hunted for food as, in their homeland, macaques are considered a local delicacy and are served up on special occasions such as weddings. As a result, their wild numbers are believed to have plummeted by around 80% in the last 30 years.

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4_A week-old Sulawesi macaque is nursed by mum Lisa (15)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Dr. Nick Davis, the zoo’s assistant curator of mammals, said, “Our new arrival means we now have a group of 15 Sulawesi Crested Macaques. They’re a key part of a European endangered species breeding programme that is working to protect this charismatic species, which, sadly, is highly threatened in the wild.”

“Sulawesi Macaques are extremely intelligent and social animals, so a new arrival always creates excitement in the group. This is also the first baby to be fathered by dominant male Momassa, making it all the more special.”

Davis continued, “Macaques have very obvious individual personalities which can be seen in facial expressions, and so we’re looking forward to seeing what sort of character our tiny youngster will develop into. At the moment though, our new arrival will spend time playing and getting to know the rest of the group. We’re ever so pleased to say that both are doing very well so far.”

The new youngster, who is yet to be sexed or named, is the first of its kind to be born at Chester Zoo since its group of Sulawesi Macaques moved into their new state-of-the-art home. Islands (the UK’s biggest ever zoo development) showcases a vast array of threatened species from the region of South East Asia.

Johanna Rode-Margono, the zoo’s South East Asia conservation field programme officer, added, “It’s important to us that our new Islands zone, and the amazing species living in it, helps us to throw a spotlight on the conservation work that we’re doing out in the field to try and protect some of South East Asia’s most endangered animals.”

“We are working with the local people living in Sulawesi and providing support to help save the forests and the diverse animal species living there.”

Much more below the fold!

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Gentoo Penguins Hatch at Edinburgh Zoo

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With summer around the corner, the first of the Gentoo Penguin chicks at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo have started to poke their beaks out of their shells. The first fluffy chick hatched on May 5 and was soon followed by another three hatchlings, two of which are on the same nest.

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4_16_05_06_GentooPenguin_Chick_08_CR_KatiePatonPhoto Credits: Edinburgh Zoo / Maria Dorrian (Images: 1,6,7,8) & Katie Paton (Images: 2,3,4,5)

 

Penguin breeding season began in early March, with the annual placing of the nest rings and pebbles into Penguins Rock, before the male penguins sought out the best looking and smoothest pebbles to ‘propose’ to their potential mates. The first eggs were laid over Easter weekend, and, after a 33-35 day incubation period, the chicks of 2016 have started to hatch!

Dawn Nicoll, Penguin Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “This is our favourite time of year as the new Penguin chicks begin to hatch. The entire breeding season is an incredibly busy time, but it is all worth it when you see the tiny Penguins start to break out of their shells and be cared for by both their parents.

“The rest of the eggs should hatch over the next two to three weeks, as the Penguins don’t all lay their eggs at the same time. We had a very successful breeding season last year, with 16 chicks hatching, so we are hoping for another successful year as Gentoo Penguins are classified as near threatened.”

Once the chicks get a little older, they will leave the nest and join a nearby crèche, where they will learn all the skills essential to being a penguin, such as how to swim and feed.

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Prague Celebrates First Elephant Conceived and Born at Zoo

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Staff at the Prague Zoo are celebrating the April 5 birth of a male Asian Elephant, the first to be both conceived and born at the zoo.

Other Elephants have been born at the zoo, but they were conceived at other zoos, and the females were subsequently moved to Prague.  Elephants are pregnant for an average of 640 days.

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Foto_1_L1010502_export – kopiePhoto Credit:  Miroslav Bobek/Prague Zoo

This was the first baby for female Janita and male Tamara.  Keepers monitored Janita closely in the weeks leading up to her due date.  Levels of progesterone were measured frequently – these levels drop to nearly zero when the birth is imminent. 

Keepers were present during the birth and monitored this first-time mom closely.  Though the birth went smoothly, Janita became aggressive toward her calf immediately after the birth.  The zoo’s veterinarians say that this is not unusual in inexperienced Elephant moms and may be attributed to the pain associated with giving birth. To keep the calf safe, keepers pulled him aside while Janita quieted down. 

The baby was then gradually brought closer to his mother, and her behavior changed.  About four hours after the birth, the baby nursed from Janita.

Keepers report that both Janita and her baby are progressing well.  Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, due to loss and fragmentation of habitat.  Elephants require huge home ranges to survive, so there are frequent conflicts with humans as their ranges shrink.  Elephants are also hunted illegally for their ivory tusks, which are present only in male Asian Elephants, though females may have small tusks present inside the mouth.


Baby Tamarins Part of Global Conservation Program

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Two Golden Lion Tamarins born March 13 at France’s La Palmyre Zoo are part of a worldwide program aimed at boosting the wild population.

Golden Lion Tamarins were on the brink of extinction in their native Brazilian rain forest in the 1980s.  Between 1984 and 2001, a worldwide consortium of 43 zoos, including La Palmyre Zoo, translocated 146 individuals to Brazil to bolster the wild population.  Thanks to this program, there are now more than 3,000 Golden Lion Tamarins in the wild, with about 1,000 of these being descendants of the zoo-born translocated animals. 

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Zoo-born Tamarins are still translocated occasionally to reinforce some wild populations.  The program also includes protection of the forest corridor that the Tamarins rely on for survival.

Without the translocation of zoo-born Tamarins, Golden Lion Tamarins might be extinct in the wild today.

These tiny Monkeys travel through the forests in small family groups, feeding on fruit, nectar, tree gum, and small animals. 

Golden Lion Tamarins weigh only one to two pounds as adults.  At birth, babies weight about 8-10% of their mothers’ body weight.   They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


Two Lemur Species Debut Offspring at Bronx Zoo

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The Madagascar! exhibit at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo is now home to three new Lemur babies.

Two Ring-tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta) and one Brown Collared Lemur (Eulemur collaris) were born in late March and have made their public debut. Both species live in a naturalistic habitat depicting the Malagasy Spiny Forest along with critically endangered Radiated Tortoises and several bird species including Vasa Parrots, Red Fodies, Grey-headed Lovebirds, and Ground Doves.

Guests hoping to catch a glimpse of the new additions will have to observe closely as young Lemurs cling to their mothers and nestle in their fur.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_5631_Ring-tailed Lemur and Baby_MAD_BZ_04 05 16_hrPhoto Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS

 

The Bronx Zoo has had tremendous success breeding Lemurs as part of Species Survival Plans, cooperative breeding programs designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

WCS works to save Lemurs and their disappearing habitat in the African island nation of Madagascar – the only place in the world where Lemurs are found in the wild.

Brown Collared Lemurs are native to the tropical forests of southeastern Madagascar. Ring-tailed Lemurs are native to the forests and bush in the south and southwestern portions of the island. Their habitats are being destroyed by human activity including charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are very social and live in large matriarchal groups that often contain several breeding females. They are capable climbers, but spend much of their time on the ground. Newborns will ride on their mothers’ chest and back for the first few weeks and will begin move around on their own within two-to-four weeks, but still stay close to their mother.

Collared Lemurs use their long tails to balance when leaping through the forest canopy. They live in groups of males and females but are not matriarchal like many other Lemur species. The young ride on their mother’s back hiding in her fur for the first few months of their lives.

All Lemur species are in trouble due to devastating loss of suitable habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies both Ring-tailed Lemurs and Brown Collared Lemurs as “Endangered” in the wild.

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Rocket Man Touches Down at Sacramento Zoo

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Shani, a six-year-old Masai Giraffe at the Sacramento Zoo, gave birth to a healthy 163-pound male calf on April 10.

The calf has been given the name Rocket. Zookeepers chose the name based on his playful personality and "on-the-go" attitude.

Currently, mother and son spend most of their time behind-the-scenes in the barn, bonding, with periodic exercise sessions in the side-yard. Rocket is also becoming acquainted with his herd-mates, or “tower”, as they stick their head over fences or stall doors to inspect him. The calf is also learning to manipulate browse with his long, prehensile tongue, even though nursing is his still his main source of nourishment.

Based on the signs Rocket, Shani, and the rest of the herd are giving, zookeepers anticipate the pair making their public exhibit debut in mid-May. However much like other timelines at the Zoo, staff members confess that everything will be done on mom and the calf’s terms.

In the meantime, Rocket and Shani will have intermittent access to the giraffe barn’s side-yard, where lucky and quiet guests might catch a glimpse of Rocket. Staff report that these viewing areas will continue to remain quiet zones, creating a peaceful environment for the pair until the time that they venture out into the main exhibit.

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4_12998327_10153670295139151_614356241312924161_oPhoto Credits: Sacramento Zoo

 

The Sacramento Zoo is now home to six giraffes: three female Reticulated Giraffes, one male Masai Giraffe (Chifu, the father of the new calf), one female Masai Giraffe (Shani, the mother), and the calf. In 2010, the Zoo completed renovations on the giraffe exhibit that includes a state-of-the-art, heated barn. This is the 19th calf born at the Sacramento Zoo, going back to 1964 when the species was first housed here.

The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is divided into nine subspecies. There are three subspecies most commonly found in zoological facilities: Reticulated, Rothschild, and Masai.

The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi), also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies and tallest land mammal. It is native to Kenya and Tanzania.

In addition to a difference in size, Reticulated and Masai Giraffes have slightly different spot patterns; a Masai Giraffe's spots are usually darker and irregular in shape.

Gestation is 14 to 15 months with the female giving birth alone in a secluded spot away from predators. When a calf is born, it can be as tall as six feet and weigh 150 pounds. Within minutes, the baby is able to stand on its own.

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Masai may be the most populous of the Giraffe subspecies. There is an estimated fewer than 37,000 remaining in the wild, (though recent reports of significant poaching would suggest it likely to be significantly less) and approximately 100 individuals kept in zoos.

Habitat loss, poaching, disease and civil unrest pose the most significant threats to wild giraffe.

Continue reading "Rocket Man Touches Down at Sacramento Zoo" »


Trouble Comes in…Fours?

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The “cute meter” hit an all-time high the morning of April 18, as the Meerkat mob at the San Diego Zoo showed off four new additions to the family. Mom Debbie gave birth to four adorable baby Meerkats, and the pups have left their den to explore the interesting world above ground.

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Animal care staff became excited when they realized Debbie was pregnant with a new litter, and they began to diligently monitor her weight to estimate when the pups would arrive.

In March, Zoo staff noticed Debbie was spending her time underground, indicating it was time to give birth. Normally, Meerkat moms keep their newborns secluded underground for up to a week before allowing them to meet with the rest of the family; however, Debbie surprised everyone by introducing the babies after only three days!

The four youngsters are now regularly out of their den playing, eating and exploring their habitat. Animal Care staff explains that in Meerkat society, everyone has a job, whether it’s being a sentry or babysitting. Now that the pups are old enough, every member of the family (under the direction of Debbie, of course) will provide the babies with important survival training, including the most important Meerkat behavior: digging.

Zoo staff says that, for Meerkats raising new pups, it takes a village—or, in this case, a mob. “The rest of the family, made up of older siblings, is also very involved with raising the pups,” says Liz Johnson, keeper. “They are great babysitters and are constantly checking on them. The pups are very vocal, and their siblings are quick to respond if they call out.”

Although their name may cause some confusion, Meerkats are not cats. The Meerkat, or Suricate (Suricata suricatta), is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family. They are native to all parts of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa.

Gestation for Meerkats is about eleven weeks. In the wild, Meerkats give birth in underground burrows to help keep the newborns safe from predators. To shield the pups from dust in their subterranean homes, they are born with their eyes and ears closed. Meerkat babies are also nearly hairless at birth, though a light coat of silver and brown fur begins to fill in after just a few days.

The babies nurse for about nine weeks, and they grow very quickly. Though they weigh only about an ounce at birth, by six months old, the pups are about the same size as the adults.

These desert-dwellers are highly social critters and live in groups, called mobs, which can include dozens of individuals from multiple families.

Meerkats have scent pouches below their tails and will rub these pouches on rocks and plants to mark their territory. The dark patches around their eyes act to cut down on sun glare and help them see far into the distance.

Meerkats have four toes on each feet and very long, non-retractable claws to help them dig. They can also close their ears to keep dirt out while digging.

As a species they have an interesting feeding approach as they will always maintain visual and vocal contact whilst foraging, with one of the group standing on its hind legs and acting as sentry on the lookout for predators. They feed mostly on invertebrates and plant matter.

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the wild, they are present in several large and well-managed protected areas. However, population densities can fluctuate due to predation and rainfall variations.

Wild populations are currently stable. However, over the past couple of decades, movies and television shows have brought Meerkats a lot of attention, with many people wondering if they can keep a Meerkat as a pet. Although they may look cute, Meerkats, like all wild animals, do NOT make good pets, and they are illegal to own without the proper permits and licenses!

San Diego Zoo guests can see mom Debbie, her four adorable pups and the other 12 members of the mob play, nap and eat in their habitat.

*Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) 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. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.


Roses Are Red…and This Endangered Baby Is Too!

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A highly endangered baby Sumatran Orangutan was born via Cesarean section at the Memphis Zoo on March 19, 2016. The new male is doing well and is being reared by his mother, Jahe (Jah-hay).

To celebrate the excitement of the new addition, the Zoo recently hosted a naming contest via the Zoo’s website, and the winning name is… Rowan (“little red one”)!

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C-sections on Orangutans are rare, with only 18 of the 2,224 births in the International Orangutan Studbook being performed in this manner. Of these, Jahe and baby Rowan will be the ninth pair to survive the C-section birth.

This is the first Sumatran Orangutan birth at the Memphis Zoo since 2004, and to ensure the best possible care for the mother, a human obstetrician, Dr. Joseph C. DeWane, performed the C-section, with assistance from the veterinarian and animal care staff of the Memphis Zoo. At birth, Rowan weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces, which is large for a baby of this species.

"I was honored to be a part of this historic event at the Memphis Zoo,” said Dr. DeWane. “Our community is so blessed to have one of the top five zoos in the country. I know every time I visit the zoo, I will make a special trip to see Jahe and her baby.”     

Due to the mother’s surgery, the Memphis Zoo animal and veterinarian staff hand-reared the baby while Jahe recovered. Staff held and fed the infant around the clock, and spent their daytime hours in the Orangutan building with Jahe, where she could have visual access to baby Rowan. Jahe’s interest in the baby was encouraged and reinforced, and she was allowed to touch and examine him through the mesh as often as she liked while the keepers held him.

After 12 days, Jahe’s incision had healed well, and animal care staff orchestrated an introduction. Jahe immediately picked up the baby, and despite being a first-time mother, held him appropriately and inspected him closely. Animal care staff monitored the twosome around the clock for several days and noted successful nursing within 24 hours. The pair has been inseparable since.

The Memphis Zoo is one of only two institutions that have reintroduced mother and baby less than two weeks after the surgery.

“The baby’s upbringing was only unique in the first couple of weeks. We had to step in temporarily to hand-rear in order to allow Jahe to recover from her surgery,” said Courtney Janney, Curator of Large Mammals. “Once we were sure she was comfortable and healing well, we reintroduced the baby to his mother and she has completely taken over.”

This infant is the first for mother, Jahe, and third for father, Tombak. Jahe (18-years-old) arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2010. Her name means “ginger” in the Indonesian language. Tombak (33-years-old) arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 1994. His name is derived from a Javanese word meaning “copper.”

This is a significant birth for the Memphis Zoo, and for the greater Sumatran Orangutan population, as only about 200 Sumatran Orangutans are currently on exhibit across the country. The species is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List.

“With just a few thousand of these animals left in wild, this is a momentous occasion,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “I’m very proud of our animal care team that intervened and saved the lives of both mother and baby. This is truly an event to celebrate!”

Mother and baby are currently resting behind-the-scenes. The new addition is not yet on exhibit.

The Memphis Zoo currently has four Sumatran Orangutans. In addition to Rowan, Jahe, and Tombak, the Zoo also has Chickie, a 38-year-old female. Chickie is named after former U.S. Surgeon General, Charles “Chick” Everett Koop, who operated on her shortly after her birth. Orangutans have been housed at the Memphis Zoo since 1960, with the first Sumatran Orangutan arrival in 1974.

Jahe arrived at the Memphis Zoo from the Toronto Zoo, where she was born. Her mother, named Puppe, still lives at the Toronto Zoo, and was a wild-caught animal. This makes Jahe a genetically valuable animal.

Tombak is also the father of Elok and Indah, two previous offspring who were born in 2004. However, they both had to be hand-reared, and were later sent to the Houston Zoo.

The name Orangutan means “man of the forest;” they are the largest tree-dwelling animal in the world. Because of their arboreal nature, their arm span can reach 7 feet from fingertip to fingertip. There are two subspecies of Orangutans: Sumatran and Bornean. Orangutans have the second longest childhood, first being humans, spending up to eight ears with their mothers and nursing up to 6 years of age.

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is native to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Roses Are Red…and This Endangered Baby Is Too!" »