Critically Endangered Lemurs Born at Nashville Zoo

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Three curious and active Red Ruffed Lemur babies born at the Nashville Zoo are a boost to this critically endangered species.

The two females and one male were born on May 24, the eighth birthday of their mother, Lyra.  Red Ruffed Lemurs are largest of all Lemur species, weighing up to 10 pounds as adults.   Some Lemurs carry their babies, but Red Ruffed Lemurs leave their young in a nest, with the mother visiting the nest often to nurse and care for her babies.   Zoo keepers expect the babies to emerge from the nest soon.

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27397947625_fb26a375dc_oPhoto Credit:  Nashville Zoo

All Lemurs are native only to the African island of Madagascar, which has undergone dramatic ecological change in the past several decades.  Illegal logging, burning of forests, cyclones, and illegal hunting have reduced available habitat and plunged Lemur populations into serious decline.  Scientists estimate that only 1,000-10,000 Red Ruffed Lemurs remain in the wild. 

About 600 Red Ruffed Lemurs live in zoos around the world.  The Nashville Zoo participates in the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan, a cooperative program to maintain genetically healthy populations of endangered animals in zoos. 

 


Royally Giant Baby Debuts at Cotswold Wildlife Park

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A Giant Anteater baby made his debut at Cotswold Wildlife Park. The pup, named Nelson, is the second breeding success for parents Zorro and Zeta since their arrival at the Burford Collection in 2010. Keepers named the newborn after the late singer, Prince Rogers Nelson.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, commented, “Zeta has again proved to be an excellent and diligent mother. We are extremely proud of her here at the Park and it is great to see another healthy baby growing rapidly and exploring his surroundings from the safety of his mother's rather formidable back!” 2_Nelson asleep

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4_Nelson looking at camera on Zeta's backPhoto/Video Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

 

 

Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) are the largest of the four Anteater species and boast one of the most fascinating tongues in the animal kingdom. They are specialist predators of termites and ants and may consume tens of thousands of these tiny nutritious insects every day. Anteaters are edentate animals; they have no teeth. Ant and termite nests are ripped open with their powerful claws, and the tongue acts as animated flypaper. These tongues can protrude more than 2 feet (60 cm) to capture prey. Ants possess a painful sting when attacked, so Anteaters have to eat quickly. They do so by flicking their tongue up to 160 times per minute to avoid being stung. An Anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. They never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.

Anteaters are generally solitary animals, except during the mating season. After a gestation period of around 190 days, the female produces a single pup, which weighs approximately 1.3kg. The female gives birth standing up and the young Anteater immediately climbs onto her back. The young are born with a full coat of hair and adult-like markings, aligning with their mother’s camouflaging. A mother will carry the baby on her back for approximately 6 to 9 months (until it is almost half her size). The young suckle for 2 to 6 months and become independent after roughly 2 years, or when the mother becomes pregnant again.

Giant Anteaters are prey for Jaguars and Pumas in the wild. They typically flee from danger by galloping away, but if cornered, they use their immense front claws to defend themselves, rearing up on their hind legs, striking their attacker violently with their powerful claws and are capable of inflicting fatal wounds to predators.

The Giant Anteater is considered to be the most threatened mammal of Central America and is feared extinct in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Uruguay, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Giant Anteaters are listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat loss, roadkills, hunting and wildfires have substantially affected their population numbers over the last ten years. Scientists estimate that 5,000 individuals are left in the wild.

Visitors can see Cotswold’s Anteater family in the enclosure they share with the Capybaras and Crested Screamers– species also native to Central and South America.

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Spring Is Doubly Sweet at Highland Wildlife Park

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As warm weather arrived, so did the annual birthing season at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. The latest new arrivals at the Highlands are two Elk twins, born on May 15. With their long, gangly legs and adorably oversized ears, the youngsters are already stealing visitors’ hearts.

Elk became extinct in Scotland between 1,000 and 7,000 years ago, and are a perfect fit for the Highland Wildlife Park, which specialises in native species---past and present, as well as cold tundra animals from around the world. Elk can still be found in woodlands in the northern hemisphere, throughout Scandinavia and northern Russia. Elk are particularly good at running for long periods of time, fighting off predators (due to their size and powerful kicks) and swimming.

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4_DSC_1440Photo Credits: RZSS/Alex Riddell

Morag Sellar, Head Hoofed Stock Keeper at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said, “The twins are still a little shaky on their long legs, but they are already able to keep up with their mother Cas and run around for short distances. The youngsters will continue to suckle for the next five months whilst learning to forage. Although small now, they will grow to an impressive ten times their birth size.

“We are particularly proud of our success with Elk which was acknowledged at last year’s BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Awards, where the Park received a silver award for the captive husbandry of European Elk/Moose.”

The Elk (Eurasia) or Moose (North America), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. The palmate antlers of the males distinguish Elk/Moose; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. They typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. The species used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities have greatly reduced it. Elk/Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Currently, most are found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Scandinavia, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. Their most common predators are wolves, bears and humans. Unlike most other deer species, Elk/Moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, they can become aggressive and move quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.

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Zoo Santo Inácio Announces New Pygmy Hippo

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Zoo Santo Inácio, in northern Portugal, announced their newest family member, a male Pygmy Hippo.

After almost nine months of pregnancy, little Mendes (named by affectionate keepers) was born weighing just over 4 kilos (9 lbs).

For several months after the birth, Mendes and his mother, Romina, were kept off-exhibit, giving them opportunity to bond. The time alone also allowed the new calf to practice swimming and learn other essential skills.

At three months old and 20 kilos heavier, Mendes and his mother can now be seen, on-exhibit, enjoying their mornings outside.

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4_ZSI.cria.hipopotamo (6)Photo Credits: Zoo Santo Inacio

 

The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is a small hippopotamid, native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, primarily in Liberia, with small populations in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.

They are reclusive and nocturnal and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being its much larger cousin the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).

The Pygmy Hippo displays many terrestrial adaptations, but like its larger cousin, it is semi-aquatic and relies on water to keep its skin moist and its body temperature cool. Behaviors such as mating and giving birth may occur in water or on land.

They are herbivorous, feeding on ferns, broad-leaved plants, grasses, and fruits it finds in the forests.

In captivity, Pygmy Hippos have been conceived and born in all months of the year. The gestation period ranges from 190–210 days, and usually a single young is born.

The Common Hippopotamus gives birth and mates only in the water, but Pygmy Hippos mate and give birth on both land and water. Their young can swim almost immediately. At birth, they weigh 4.5–6.2 kg (9.9–13.7 lb) with males weighing about 0.25 kg (0.55 lb) more than females. They are fully weaned between six and eight months of age (before weaning they hide in the water by themselves, when mother leaves to forage for food). Suckling occurs with the mother lying on her side.

The Pygmy Hippo is classified as “Endangered” by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The main threats to these herbivores are deforestation due to rubber plantations, palm oil and coffee; hunting for its meat and its skull (used in traditional medicine and rituals); and civil strife. The World Conservation Union estimates there are fewer than 3,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

Zoo Santo Inácio joined the cause for protecting the Pygmy Hippo in 2006 with the receipt of a female, Romina, and two years later, with the arrival of a male, the Kibwana. The breeding couple entered an important European Programme for Endangered Species Breeding (EEP), led by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).

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New Litter of Sand Cats at Tel Aviv Safari Park

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Rotem, a rare Sand Cat at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan, recently emerged with a new litter of kittens. The fuzzy pair, born the middle of May, are not yet named, but keepers report they will both have monikers that begin with ‘R’—like mom.

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4_13346241_10154241559287520_5963795367238701412_oPhoto Credits: Noa Toledano (Images 1,2) ; Gil Cohen-Magen/Haaretz (Images 3-6)

After Rotem’s partner, Sela, died about two years ago, keepers at the zoo began searching for a young male Sand Cat who could take Sela's place. After intensive searching, a match was located at a zoo in Sweden, the then-3-year old Kalahari. This is the second litter for the new couple, since their introduction.

The small, stocky Sand Cat (Felis margarita) is a species of great importance. They are classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. There are only 200 Sand Cats in European zoos, and many attempts are being made to breed them with the hope that it will be possible to reintroduce them back to the wild. Habitat degradation is their main threat and is caused by human settlement and activity, especially livestock grazing. Their prey-base depends on having adequate vegetation. The Sand Cat may also be killed in traps, laid out by inhabitants of oases, targeting foxes and jackals or in retaliation for killing their chickens.

The Sand Cat is small with a flat, wide head, short legs and long tail. The cat reaches 24–36 cm (9.4–14.2 in) at the shoulder and weighs 1.5–3.4 kilograms (3.3–7.5 lb). Its head and body length ranges from 39 to 52 cm (15 to 20 in), with a 23.2 to 31 cm (9.1 to 12.2 in) long tail.

Sand Cats prefer flat or undulating terrain with sparse vegetation, avoiding bare sand dunes, where there is relatively little food. They can survive in temperatures ranging from −5 °C (23 °F) to 52 °C (126 °F), retreating into burrows during extreme conditions. Although they will drink when water is available, they are able to survive for months on the water in their food.

In North Africa, they occur marginally in western Morocco, including former Sahara Occidental, in Algeria, and from the rocky deserts of eastern Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula. Sightings have been reported from Tunisia, Libya, Mali and Niger. In Mauritania, they probably occur in the Adrar Mountains and the Majabat al Koubra. Spoor have been found in Senegal, Chad, and Sudan.

In central Asia, Sand Cats occur east of the Caspian Sea throughout the Karakum Desert from the Ustyurt Plateau in the northwest to the Kopet Dag Mountains in the south extending through the Kyzylkum Desert to the Syr Darya River and the northern border to Afghanistan.

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Arctic Wolf Pups Born at Knuthenborg Safaripark

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The Arctic Wolf pack, at Knuthenborg Safaripark, grew by seven this spring!

The pups began emerging, a few weeks ago, from their cave at the Wolf Forest exhibit. Now, they are regularly out and about…but never too far from their attentive and protective mom.

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4_13350318_1248138508532471_6987725688581426885_oPhoto Credits: Knuthenborg Safaripark

The Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the Melville Island Wolf, is a possible subspecies of Gray Wolf and is native to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is a medium-sized subspecies, distinguished from the northwestern wolf by its smaller size, its whiter coloration, its narrower braincase, and larger carnassials.

Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of 7 to 8 animals on average. Packs include the mother and father (called the alphas), their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are typically the pack leaders, and they track and hunt prey, choose den sites and establish the pack's territory. Wolves are known to develop strong social bonds within their packs.  

Their breeding season occurs once a year, usually in late January through March. Gestation period lasts for about 63 days, and the pups are born blind and defenseless. Litters average four to seven pups. The pack cares for the young, until they fully mature at about 10 months of age and can hunt on their own. Once grown, young wolves may disperse. Dispersing wolves have been known to travel 50 to 500 miles.

The Arctic Wolf is white throughout the year, even though it often roams forests where there is no snow. During the winter the coat is thick and warm. In spring, the winter coat molts, and during this period the wolf can look rather tatty. Wolves are shy but nevertheless courageous. Packs of wolves often attack Bison or Musk Ox, which weigh more than ten times as much as a wolf. Wolves can travel up to 200 km (124 miles) in a single day – and run at speeds of up to 65 km/h (40 mph).

The Arctic Wolf is classified as “Least Concern”, according to the IUCN, but it does face threats of endangerment. In 1997, there was a decline in the Arctic Wolf population and its prey, Musk Oxen (Ovibos moschatus) and Arctic Hares (Lepus arcticus). This was due to harmful weather conditions, during the summers, for four years.

The Arctic Wolf population also began to decrease as human populations became denser in certain areas. During the 1930s, in east Greenland, the Arctic Wolf was exterminated completely by Danish and Norwegian hunters. In 1979, they began to repopulate the area and successfully established a new population of wolves.

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Baby Giraffe Drops In At San Diego Zoo

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The San Diego Zoo’s Masai Giraffe herd grew with the addition of a male calf at the end of May. 

The newborn calf stood six feet tall and tipped the scales at 146 pounds.  Like all Giraffes, Harriet, the calf’s mother, gave birth to her baby while standing up.  The baby emerges front feet first and drops to the ground.  The fall helps separate the calf from the placenta and stimulates breathing.

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Masai Giraffes are one of nine Giraffe subspecies that range across Africa.  Populations have fallen by nearly half in the last decades to about 80,000 individuals today, mainly due to habitat loss.  Giraffes must also compete with livestock for resources.  In some parts of Africa, armed conflicts have complicated conservation efforts and put Giraffes further at risk.

 


Rhino Birth Live-Streamed at Burgers' Zoo

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A Southern White Rhinoceros calf’s birth was highly anticipated by fans at Burgers’ Zoo.  The Rhino den was live-streamed for almost a month as keepers awaited the baby’s arrival.

Because Rhinos have such thick skin, even ultrasounds cannot accurately aid in predicting the birthdate. The male calf, named Thomas, was finally born to female Kwanzaa at about 4:00 AM on May 30.

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Rhino1Photo Credit:  Burgers' Zoo

Thomas began walking and nursing within just a few hours of his birth, which is normal for Rhinos.  The staff at Burgers’ Zoo pronounced Thomas healthy and strong based on his appetite and activity level.

Southern White Rhinos are the largest of all Rhino species, with adult males weighing two-and-a-half tons.  In the wild, they inhabit open savannahs, mainly in South Africa. Though they are the most abundant of all Rhinos, they are considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Like all Rhino species and subspecies, Southern White Rhinos are illegally killed for their horns. The horns are ground to a fine powder for use in Traditional Asian Medicine, despite the lack of evidence that the horns provide any health benefits. 

See more photos of Thomas below.

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Welsh Mountain Zoo Announces Birth of Rare Camel

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The Welsh Mountain Zoo has excitedly revealed details of their latest arrival, a female Bactrian Camel, named Willow.

At a little over five-weeks-old, the double-hump-backed baby is said to be fit and well, cautiously exploring her new surroundings under the watchful eye of parents, Clara and Ghengis.

The Zoo has a 15-year history with this breed of rare Camels, and the arrival of Willow marks the fourth baby to be born there.

Jamie Toffrey, Marketing Officer at the Welsh Mountain said, “Willow is a real delight and she is very much out and about, fitting in comfortably in her new home.”

There are now three Bactrian Camels in total at the Zoo. The breed is endangered, with only 1,000, or less, of their relatives remaining in the wild.

The Welsh Mountain Zoo is part of a carefully controlled international captive species breeding programme, and they welcomed the first Bactrian Camel ever to be born in Wales, some 10 years ago. Jamie added, “We’re incredibly proud of our successful breeding programme and the role we are playing raising awareness of the species.”

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3_WelshMountainZooBactrianCalmelWillowPhoto Credits: Welsh Mountain Zoo

The Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus) is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. It has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromedary camel. The Bactrian Camel’s population of two million exists mainly in the domesticated form. Some authorities, notably the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), use the binomial name ‘Camelus ferus’ for the wild Bactrian Camel and reserve ‘Camelus bactrianus’ for the domesticated Bactrian. Their name comes from the ancient historical region of Bactria.

The mating season occurs in the fall. Males are often quite violent and may bite, spit, or attempt to sit on other male camels. The age of sexual maturity varies, but is usually reached at 3 to 5 years. Gestation lasts around 13 months, with most young being born from March through April. One or, occasionally, two calves are produced, and the female can give birth to a new calf every other year.

Young Bactrian Camels are precocial, being able to stand and run shortly after birth, and are fairly large at an average birth weight of 36 kg (79 lb). They are nursed for about 1.5 years. The young calf stays with its mother for three to five years, until it reaches sexual maturity, and often serves to help raise subsequent generations for those years.

The domesticated Bactrian Camel has served as a pack animal in inner Asia since ancient times. With its tolerance for cold, drought, and high altitudes, it enabled the travel of caravans on the Silk Road. Its range in the wild is restricted to remote regions of the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts of Mongolia and China. A small number of wild Bactrian Camels still roam the Mangystau Province of southwest Kazakhstan and the Kashmir Valley in India. Feral herds of Bactrians are found in Australia.

The wild form has dwindled to a population estimated at 800 in October 2002 and has been classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The immediate threats faced by the species are all human related. Habitat loss has been high due to development for mining and industrial complexes. Due to increasing human populations, wild Camels are forced to share food and water sources with introduced domestic stock, thus are sometimes shot by farmers. Included in this stock are domesticated Bactrians, which freely mate with wild individuals. This has led to a concern of a loss of genetically distinct wild Bactrian Camels.


Hippo Calf Makes Zoo Feel Like Dancing

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Keepers at Zoo Wroclaw put on their dancin’ shoes to celebrate a new Hippopotamus birth! The calf, named Zumba, was born May 21 to mom, Rumba, and dad, Váleček. Big sister, Salsa, and proud Grandma, Samba, also welcomed the young Hippo into their herd.

The Zoo reports that Zumba timidly follows mom about in their exhibit, including, of course, dips in the pool.

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4_13265915_10154185136289719_1152387065338904896_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Wroclaw

The common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or Hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semi-aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος). After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common Hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (Whales, Porpoises, etc.).

Common Hippos are recognizable by their barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths revealing large canine tusks, nearly hairless bodies, columnar-like legs and large size; adults average 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) and 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) for males and females respectively, making them the largest species of land mammal after the three species of Elephants and the White and Indian Rhinoceros.

Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances. The Hippopotamus is highly aggressive and unpredictable and is ranked among the most dangerous animals in Africa.

Female Hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. Baby Hippos are born underwater at a weight between 25 and 50 kg (55 and 110 lb) and an average length of around 127 cm (4.17 ft), and must swim to the surface to take their first breaths. A mother typically gives birth to only one calf, although twins also occur.

The young often rest on their mothers' backs when the water is too deep for them, and they swim under water to suckle. They suckle on land when the mother leaves the water. Weaning starts between six and eight months after birth, and most calves are fully weaned after a year.

Hippopotamus amphibius is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The primary threats to Common Hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Illegal or unregulated hunting of Common Hippos has been found to be particularly high in areas of civil unrest (Kayanja 1989; Shoumatoff 2000; Hillman Smith et al. 2003). A recent field survey found that Common Hippo populations in DR Congo have declined more than 95% as a result of intense hunting pressure, during more than eight years of civil unrest and fighting (Hillman Smith et al. 2003). Widespread poaching for meat has also been reported from Burundi and Ivory Coast (Associated Press 2003; H. Rainey pers. comm.)...Although it is likely that the majority of the total Common Hippo population occurs in some form of protected area (national park, biosphere, game or forest reserve, sanctuary, conservation area), the proportion of protected Common Hippos likely varies among countries. For countries with a high proportion of Common Hippo populations outside protected areas, the likelihood of persistence is much lower as there is no impediment to hunting or incentive for habitat protection.”

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