First Photos of Baby Bonobo

Bonobo Kuni and Infant 8-6-16
A baby Bonobo born August 6 at the Jacksonville Zoo is an important addition to the Species Survival Plan for these endangered Apes.

Closely related to Chimpanzees, Bonobos are more petite and have black facial skin at birth (Chimpanzees have pink facial skin at birth). 

Bonobos are highly social and the arrival of an infant is an important event for the group.  The male baby, named Budir, will be carried by his mother Kuni for several months.  In zoos and in the wild, Bonobos remain with their mothers for about five years. 

Bonobo Kuni and Infant 2_8-6-16Photo Credits:  Becca Ledesma (top), Lynde Nunn

Like all Great Apes, Bonobos are highly intelligent and are capable of self-recognition in a mirror.  Along with Chimpanzees, they are humans' closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Native to the deep forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bonobos live in groups of up to 100 individuals and feed on fruit, leaves, honey, and eggs.

As one of only seven zoos in the country to house Bonobos, the Jacksonville Zoo participates in the Bonobo Species Survival Plan to preserve genetic diversity in the zoo-managed population. 

Wild Bonobos are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and encroaching human activity.  The Jacksonville Zoo supports the Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative, which works to protect Bonobos in the rainforests of central Africa.

Lion Triplets Are Three Times the Fun

Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cubs DSC_0156 (2) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
It’s three times the fun when Asiatic Lion cub triplets Kali, Sita, and Sonika come out to play at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Born May 25, the three female cubs have spent the last two months in the birthing den with their mother, Kanha.  Lionesses rear their babies in seclusion and often reject them if they are disturbed, so the staff monitored the cubs via closed circuit TV.

Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cub DSC_0156 (15) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cubs DSC_0156 (11) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
Photo Credit:  Natasha Jeffries
This is the first litter of Lion triplets born at Cotswold since the park opened in 1970. 

According to the staff, Kanha and Rana are proving to be excellent first-time parents and all three boisterous youngsters are healthy and developing into confident cubs.

Dad Rana met the cubs in the Lions’ outdoor enclosure last week, but for the last two months, he lived next door and took a great interest in the youngsters. 

Asiatic Lions are one of the world’s rarest big cat species. Wild population numbers have declined drastically over the last century, almost to the point of extinction. Once found throughout much of southwestern Asia, they are now only found in India’s Gir Forest with the 2015 census putting the entire wild population at 523 animals. 

Though they live in a protected area, conservationists worry that a disease epidemic could wipe out the entire Asiatic Lion population.  Breeding programs in zoos are extremely important to the future of this subspecies.  Asiatic Lions are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the cubs below.

Continue reading "Lion Triplets Are Three Times the Fun" »

Lovely Lynx Kitten Born at ZOO Wroclaw


Around June 4th, an adorable female European Lynx was born at ZOO Wroclaw.

The late birth was quite a surprise for keepers, but fortunately, the kitten has been growing like a weed, jumping form 0.5 kg to 3 kg in just four to five weeks.

The parents are Pandora and Orkan, both 14 years old. Zoo staff reports they are a great match and very caring parents. Since their paring, they have produced a healthy litter every year: 20 offspring so far!

One of the cats born to this couple, three-year-old Orpan, is living on the Baltic coast. His offspring will be released into the wild. Keepers have their fingers crossed that the new girl will be just as lucky.

The little Lynxes’ keepers are now looking to name the kitten, and they are extending the invitation for ZooBorns fans to submit their ideas. The only request from the Zoo is that the name relate to Poland or the city of Wroclaw. However, all inspirations will be greatly appreciated!



4_DSC03317Photo Credits: ZOO Wroclaw


The European or Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) is a medium-sized cat native to Siberia, Central, East, and Southern Asia, North, Central and Eastern Europe.

It has been listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List since 2008, as it is widely distributed, and most populations are considered stable. Eurasian Lynx have been re-introduced to several forested mountainous areas in Central and Southeastern Europe; these re-introduced subpopulations are small, less than 200 animals.

The Eurasian Lynx is the largest Lynx species, ranging in length from 80 to 130 cm (31 to 51 in) and standing 60–75 cm (24–30 in) at the shoulder. The tail measures 11 to 24.5 cm (4.3 to 9.6 in). Males usually weigh from 18 to 30 kg (40 to 66 lb), and females weigh 8 to 21 kg (18 to 46 lb).

Lynx prey largely on small to fairly large sized mammals and birds. Although they may hunt during the day when food is scarce, the Eurasian Lynx is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular, and spends the day sleeping in dense thickets or other places of concealment. It lives solitarily as an adult.

Continue reading "Lovely Lynx Kitten Born at ZOO Wroclaw" »

Striated Caracara Chicks Hatch at Paradise Park

1_Caracara chick Paradise Park Cornwall 2

Staff at Paradise Park, in Hayle, Cornwall, UK, are thrilled that two Striated Caracara chicks have hatched and are doing well.

Director Alison Hales commented, “The adults have been living with us at the Park for several years, but these two chicks are the first they have produced. They are interesting birds; very smart and inquisitive, which helps them to survive in difficult habitats when they need to find a wide range of foods.”

“The new parents have been quite secretive, so when [Paradise Park staff] got a glimpse of the chicks raising their heads for food, it was very exciting. They are growing fast now and will soon leave their nest. The plan for them is to join unrelated mates in other bird collections in the UK or Europe,” Hales continued.

2_Caracara chick Paradise Park Cornwall

3_Caracara feeding chick Paradise Park Cornwall

4_Adult Caracara Paradise Park Cornwall 3Photo Credits: Paradise Park


The Striated Caracara, (Phalcoboenus australis) is a bird of prey of the family Falconidae. It is primarily a scavenger, feeding on carrion, offal, and it digs up small invertebrates using its claws (unusual behavior for a Falcon). It also preys on injured creatures such as young seabirds. And, because it also attacks weak lambs, sheep farmers have ruthlessly persecuted the species.

The adults' plumage is almost black in color, while the legs are orange and the neck is flecked with grey. First year juveniles have an orange or light red down, which they lose after their first molt. Full adult plumage is acquired only in the fifth year.

Their nest is built on the ground or on a cliff ledge, where the female will lay up to four eggs. Once the chicks have fledged, they gather into flocks and roam through their native islands.

The Striated Caracara was once considered common in the Falkland Islands, where it is known as the ‘Johnny Rook’. Charles Darwin visited East Falkland, in 1833, and wrote that it was 'exceedingly numerous'. Recent surveys suggest there are currently 500-650 pairs remaining on the Falklands, mainly living on islands uninhabited by people. This species is currently classified as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

5_Adult Caracara Paradise Park Cornwall 2

6_Adult Caracara Paradise Park Cornwall

Solo the Tapir Explores at Chester Zoo

1_Solo the Malayan tapir calf goes on his first outdoor adventure at Chester Zoo (56)

A Malayan Tapir calf, named Solo, has taken his first steps outside at Chester Zoo.

Solo, born July 11, was named after the longest river on the Indonesian island of Java. Zoo staff reports that he ‘reveled’ in his very first outdoor adventure, under the watchful eyes of his mum Margery.

The youngster, who is the first of his species to ever be born at the Zoo, paraded around showing off his dark brown coat covered in white spots and stripes. Juvenile Malayan Tapirs lose those patterns in the first year of their life and develop their adult coats, with one half of their bodies black and the other half white.

Chester Zoo is part of a European breeding programme for this endangered species. Keepers at the zoo say Solo’s arrival is hugely significant, as he will add valuable genetics to the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which is working to ensure a safety net population of Malayan Tapirs in zoos, ensuring they do not go extinct.

2_Solo the Malayan tapir calf goes on his first outdoor adventure at Chester Zoo (11)

3_Solo the Malayan tapir calf goes on his first outdoor adventure at Chester Zoo (28)

4_Solo the Malayan tapir calf goes on his first outdoor adventure at Chester Zoo (35)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo


The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. They are native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Tapirs normally measure 1.8 to 2.5m (6 to 8 feet) in length, with a shoulder height of 0.9 to 1.1m. (3 to 3.5 feet).

The animals are related to both the Horse and the Rhinoceros. They are an ‘odd-toed’ animal, having four toes on each front foot and three toes on each back foot.

Malayan Tapirs also have poor eyesight, which makes them rely heavily on their excellent senses of smell and hearing.

They are also known for their unusual courtship ritual, which involves an assortment of wheezing and whistling sounds. They will sniff each other, walking around in circles before mating. Females have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.

Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the Malayan Tapir is increasingly threatened, with population numbers continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as increasing hunting pressure. The population has been estimated to have declined by more than 50% in the last three generations (36 years) primarily as a result of Tapir habitat being converted into palm oil plantations. They are also threatened by increased hunting for their fur, road-kills and trapping in snares left for other animals.

More pics, below the fold! 

Continue reading "Solo the Tapir Explores at Chester Zoo" »

Peoria Zoo Welcomes Fourth Giraffe to Tower


Peoria Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Reticulated Giraffe. The male calf was born July 25 to mother, Vivian, and father, Taji.

A neonatal exam was done shortly after the birth, and the calf weighed in at 102.5 lbs. and measured 5’4” tall.


3_zooborns3Photo Credits: Peoria Zoo


In preparation for the birth, Zoo staff modified an off-exhibit stall to offer a secure, quiet, and soft place for the expectant mother and calf. A video camera was installed in the stall so staff could monitor the mother and calf 24/7.

On the day of the calf’s birth, Kim Scott, Curator of Animals, checked the remote camera at 2am. She recalled, “Everything was so calm I just knew it would be the same the next time. I have never woken up as fast as I did at 4am when Vivian turned and I saw 2 hooves sticking out.”

Although three staff members reported to the Zoo within 20 minutes, the calf was born before any arrived. Roz Wolfram, Primary Giraffe Keeper, said, “I can’t believe what an awesome mom Vivian is being.”

Continue reading "Peoria Zoo Welcomes Fourth Giraffe to Tower" »

Birds on Verge of Extinction Hatch at Chester Zoo

1_Keeper Lauren Hough gently carries a critically endangered nothern bald ibis chick to be weighed at Chester Zoo (14)

Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the arrival of seven Northern Bald Ibis chicks.

The species, which was once found in abundance across North Africa, southern and central Europe and the Middle East, is now critically endangered as a result of hunting, habitat loss, pesticide poisoning and an increase in construction works around their preferred nesting sites.

The Northern Bald Ibis has undergone a long-term decline, and more than 98% of the wild population has been lost, putting the birds on the very brink of extinction. Experts estimate that only 115 breeding pairs remain in the wild (in small populations in Morocco and Turkey). The species was last seen in Syria in 2014, and it is feared that Syrian population is now extinct.

2_Keeper Lauren Hough gently carries a critically endangered nothern bald ibis chick to be weighed at Chester Zoo (13)

3_Keeper Lauren Hough gently carries a critically endangered nothern bald ibis chick to be weighed at Chester Zoo (8)

4_Keeper Lauren Hough gently carries a critically endangered nothern bald ibis chick to be weighed at Chester Zoo (3)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo


Mike Jordan, collections director at the Zoo, explains more about the programme: “The breeding of seven Northern Bald Ibis chicks is a remarkable addition to the endangered species breeding programme and a welcome boost to their global numbers. Our team has been weighing the chicks daily and carefully monitoring how often the parents are bringing them food – as each one is absolutely vital to the future of the species.

“Sadly, the species has been extinct in Europe for more than 300 years, and since joining the reintroduction programme in 2007, we’ve made great efforts to breed these birds so that they can eventually go on to be released back into the wild. We hope that by reintroducing birds back into a safe, secure and monitored site in southern Spain, that they will hopefully go on to successfully breed and give the species, once more, a foothold in Europe.”

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Northern Bald Ibis as “Critically Endangered” on its Red List of Threatened Species since 1994.

Mike added, “Breeding such critically endangered birds successfully over the years is a huge achievement, and this remarkable project really shows the important role zoos can play in conserving species that face a wide range of threats, and are on the edge of extinction.”

The chicks are part of a carefully coordinated breed and release programme at Chester Zoo. The zoo joined the reintroduction programme in 2007 and has been working closely with Jerez Zoo, the Andalusian government, and other conservation institutions across Europe to re-establish the species in Europe and help prevent the birds from disappearing from the wild altogether.

The Northern Bald ibis arrived at Chester Zoo in 1986 when its wild number started to rapidly decline. The zoo is now home to 30 individuals.

Continue reading "Birds on Verge of Extinction Hatch at Chester Zoo" »

Rare Condor Chick Hatches at Cincinnati Zoo

Condor_chick (1)Photo: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is excited to announce that a rare Andean Condor chick has been spotted with parents, Gryph and Laurel. This is the first chick, of this species, to hatch in Cincinnati in 30 years and only the fourteenth to hatch in any North American institution in the past decade.

They are a naturally slow breeding species (averaging one chick every other year). “This is mostly because the chick stays dependent on both parents longer than other bird species,” said Kim Klosterman, Senior Aviculture Keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Andean Condor chicks will not attempt to leave the nest until they are close to six months of age.”

The Zoo’s Condor pair has been laying one egg per year since 2008 but did not produce a chick until now! The success may have something to do with the installation of a nesting chamber in 2014. The 300-pound box, built by Zoo volunteers, was designed to provide a more secure, cave-in-a-cliff-like environment for the birds.

“The chick, a female, is about six weeks old and appears to be growing at a normal rate,” said Klosterman, who was able to pull the chick for a quick exam a few weeks ago. “It’s difficult to get a good look inside the nest box, but we know that the food we put in there has been disappearing quickly. In fact, we recently increased the Condors’ usual diet (which includes rodents, rabbits, goats and fish).”


The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) will determine the chick’s future. She will remain at the Cincinnati Zoo, in the Condor exhibit, with her 34-yr-old parents until the SSP decides to send her to another facility for breeding or to Cincinnati Zoo’s off-site facility to be conditioned for release into the wild.

The Cincinnati Zoo has participated in conservation efforts and the AZA’s breeding program for this endangered species since 1989 and operates a staging site for North American-hatched Andean Condors destined for release.   In the summer of 2013, a breeding pair was moved from the Zoo’s staging facility to Colombia, where they were released and, soon after, produced chicks. “When they reproduce, that tells me that we are doing something right. That’s the gauge of success,” said Klosterman.

Andean Condors, a type of vulture, typically stand around four feet tall and can weigh as much as 33 pounds. Thanks to its massive wingspan of 10.5 feet, this species can rightly claim the title of the largest flying land bird in the Western Hemisphere. They are currently listed as “Endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and as “Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Coolest of Chicks Gets a Name


The Magellanic Penguin chick, at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, has a name. Meet Sharky!

When the little guy hatched June 3, his first-time parents, Troy and Victoria, were unable to care for him, so keepers stepped in to provide the life-saving help he needed.

Sharky is still being hand-reared by his keepers, and he has also been “adopted” by one of the Zoo’s female penguins, Lola. Keepers are hopeful that Lola will soon be able to take-over fulltime parental duties for Sharky.

(ZooBorns introduced readers to the chick on June 20: “Cool Chick Hatches at Jacksonville Zoo”)

13701018_10154414707058336_4771706323671687454_oPhoto Credit: DeeAnna Murphy/Pink Pelican Photography

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).

Hyrax Pups ‘Rock-On’ at Chester Zoo

1_Four rock hyrax pups born at Chester Zoo (44)

Four adorable baby Rock Hyraxes have been born at Chester Zoo. The quartet of pups, one male and three female, arrived weighing between just 250g and 290g. They were born on July 14 and are yet to be named.

When Rock Hyrax pups are born, they look like miniature adults, eyes and ears open and with the same coat.

2_Four rock hyrax pups born at Chester Zoo (45)

3_Four rock hyrax pups born at Chester Zoo (2)

4_Four rock hyrax pups born at Chester Zoo (6)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo


Although similar in appearance to the Guinea Pig, Rock Hyraxes are in fact more closely related to the Elephant than any other species on Earth, and they are sometimes referred to as ‘the elephant’s cousin’ as a result of a surprising genetic link.

Small mammals typically go through a short gestation period but the Rock Hyrax is different, with pregnancies lasting more than seven months: a connection to their larger relatives.

They also share physical similarities with Elephants, such as the shape of their feet, skull structure and their continually growing incisors, which are reminiscent of an Elephant’s tusks.

Rock Hyraxes in the wild live in Africa and along the Arabian Peninsula and, as their name suggests, they frequent rocky terrain, seeking shelter and protection in rugged outcrops or cliffs.

Rock Hyraxes live in colonies of two to 26 individuals and communicate with each other by make 20 different noises. They produce an episode of ‘harsh yips’ which build up to ‘grunts’ to defend their territory.

Hyraxes don’t need much water. They get most of it from their food.

Hyrax feet are built for rock climbing: the bottom of each foot is bare and has a moist, rubbery pad that provides a suction-cup effect to help the Hyrax cling to rocks without slipping.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Hyrax Pups ‘Rock-On’ at Chester Zoo" »