Pups Emerge With Meerkat Mob at Chester Zoo

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Three Meerkat pups recently made their first public appearances at Chester Zoo. Born on January 28, the terrific trio had been kept out of sight by their mum, and the rest of the Meerkat mob, until they were ready to emerge from their underground burrow.

For the time being, it is unclear whether the pups are male or female. However, the three are scheduled to undergo their first health check-up soon, and then all will be revealed!

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4_Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo (33)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

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.

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Tiny Tamandua Arrives at Nashville Zoo

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A baby Southern Tamandua born March 22 at the Nashville Zoo will help to bolster the zoo-dwelling population of this unique species.

The baby, a female, is the first birth for mother Ke$ha.  Because it was Ke$ha’s first pregnancy, keepers monitored her baby’s growth with regular ultrasounds.  She was also pampered with extra attention and a special diet. 

Tamandua - Heather RobertsonPhoto Credit:  Heather Robertson/Nashville Zoo

The tiny Tamandua, which weighed less than half a pound at birth, is the ninth born at the Nashville Zoo. Her birth is significant because the reproductive rate for this species is low in zoos.  Only 45 Southern Tamanduas live in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums in North America.

The Nashville Zoo is writing the animal care manual for Southern Tamanduas, which will be used as a reference by AZA zoos across North America. 

Southern Tamanduas are native to South America, where they feed on ants, termites, and bees.  Insect nests are ripped open with powerful front claws, and Tamanduas suck up insects with their 16-inch-long tongue. 

Though these animals are found over a wide area, they are not common.  Southern Tamanduas are currently listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Four Little Lemurs Born at Philadelphia Zoo

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Meet Philadelphia Zoo’s Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs, born on February 21.  Together, these four fluffy babies weigh only one-third of a pound, but they add up to a ton of cuteness. 

The babies were born to 9-year-old Kiaka and 10-year-old Huey after a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.  This program seeks to maintain genetically viable populations of rare and endangered animals.  Because of her genetic makeup, Kiaka is the most valuable breeding female of her species in the country.

Lemurs 2Photo Credit:  Philadelphia Zoo

 

An excellent mother, Kiaka carries the babies in her mouth from one nest box to another, a typical behavior as the babies cannot move around on their own for the first few months. The siblings will nurse until they are about five to six months old, but will try solid foods at six to eight weeks of age.

Native to Madagascar, Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature  due to poaching and habitat loss. 


Chester Zoo’s Rhino Calf Enjoys Muddy Puddles

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Chester Zoo’s Eastern Black Rhino calf, Gabe, was recently photographed enjoying his first ever mud bath.

The youngster was seen slipping and sliding in the mud as he charged around with 13-year-old mum, Ema Elsa.

Kim Wood, assistant team manager of Rhinos at Chester Zoo, said, “Rhinos love nothing more than to roll around and play in fresh mud and it was great to see Gabe charge right in and enjoy getting messy. With the start of spring bringing in some warmer weather, wallowing in mud is great way for our Rhinos to cool off and it also helps to keep the Rhinos’ skin nice and healthy. We really do give them the five star spa treatment!”

Kim continued, “We’re really pleased with how Gabe is developing. He’s gaining in confidence with every passing day and helping us to raise more awareness of the terrible plight that his species is facing up to in the wild where, sadly, the Eastern Black Rhino is being illegally hunted to very edge of extinction.”

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3_Mud, glorious mud! Two-month-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, charges through a mud wallow at Chester Zoo (19)

4_Mud, glorious mud! Two-month-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, charges through a mud wallow at Chester Zoo (12)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

Black Rhino populations have dropped by more than 95% over the last 50 years due to a global surge in illegal poaching for their horns, which continues to devastate the species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) as “Critically Endangered”.  Their wild numbers are currently estimated at just 740 across Africa.

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Help Name Zoo Brno’s Polar Bear Cub

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It’s a girl! …The Polar Bear cub, born to mom Cora at Zoo Brno, had her first veterinarian exam, and staff confirmed the sex. The feisty female was born at the end of November 2015.

The cub is now almost five months old, and the Zoo is ready to give her a name. Fans can offer suggestions, until April 10, via the Zoo’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zoo.brno/

The winning name will be announced, and the cub “Baptized”, on April 16!

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4_ZooBrnoPolarBearGirl_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Brno

 

Zoo Brno keepers had a watchful eye on the new family, after the cub’s birth, via a nesting box cam. Staff had also been working on getting Cora accustomed to necessary health checks, which would enable a successful inspection of the cub.

(ZooBorns shared news, photos, and video of the cub’s birth in early March: "Zoo Brno’s Polar Bear Cub Sticks Close to Mom".)

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Taipei Zoo Welcomes New Pangolin

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In the early morning hours of March 13, Taipei Zoo welcomed the birth of a male Pangolin. The small, energetic baby is part of the 3rd generation of Pangolin born at the Zoo.

Staff had been carefully monitoring the Pangolin mom’s pregnancy and provided special care prior to the pangopup’s birth. Veterinarians assisted with the birth and the new boy arrived at about 2:45am, weighing in at 132 grams. He has now grown to 293 grams.

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4_TaipeiZooPangolinPhoto Credits: Taipei Zoo

 

The veterinary nurse prepared a special nest of leaves and wood chips to allow insulation and protection for the new one. The new mother kept the baby completely buried in the heap of leaves to protect him from low temps.

Pangolins (also referred to as “Scaly Anteaters” or “Trenggiling”) are mammals of the order Pholidota. The one extant family, Manidae, has three genera: Manis, which comprises four species living in Asia, Phataginus, which comprises two species living in Africa, and Smutsia, which comprises two species also living in Africa. These species range in size from 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 in). The name pangolin comes from the Malay word "pengguling", meaning "something that rolls up". It is found in tropical regions throughout Africa and Asia.

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Sensational Six Cheetah Cubs at San Diego Zoo

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park visitors can now see a female Cheetah and her six cubs. The cubs were born at the off-exhibit Cheetah Breeding Facility at the Safari Park on November 21, 2015.

This is the second litter for mother Addison, and it is the largest litter ever raised by a Cheetah at the Safari Park. There are four female cubs (Darlene, Geisel, L.C., and Mary Jane) and two male cubs (Donald and Copley).

Mother and cubs live in their exhibit just off the African Tram Safari route, and while they have access to their “bedrooms” at any time, mom and cubs often choose to stay outside and explore their new surroundings---which include a view of the East Africa exhibit with Rhinos, Giraffes and African Crowned Cranes.

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4_Addison mom cleaning cubPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Safari Park

 

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is one of nine breeding facilities as part of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition (BCC). The goal of the coalition is to create a sustainable Cheetah population that will prevent extinction of the world’s fastest land animal.

San Diego Zoo Global has been breeding Cheetahs for more than 40 years, with more than 150 cubs born. It is estimated that the worldwide population of Cheetahs has been reduced from 100,000 in 1900 to just 10,000 left today, with about 10% now living in zoos or wildlife parks.

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.

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April Showers Bring…a Rhino Calf ?

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The Indian Rhino calf at the Toronto Zoo is almost seven-weeks-old! He was born February 17 to eleven-year-old mom Ashakiran (also known as Asha) and 12-year-old dad, Vishnu.

(ZooBorns introduced the new guy to readers, soon after his birth: “Toronto Zoo Announces Birth of Vulnerable Rhino”.)

According to the Zoo, the "little" guy is now over 200 pounds. They also report that he has become quite brave, often venturing further from mom Asha and interacting more with Keepers. Although still nursing, staff say he is starting to mouth some food, including: bamboo, apple, browse and the carrots that Keepers provide Asha.

He also loves his afternoon showers, and is often observed playfully rolling around in the water and encouraging mom to come play with him.

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4_12794986_984150854954693_2745402692191822767_oPhoto and Video Credits: Toronto Zoo

 

 

The baby Rhino also has the rudiments of the distinctive horn. Although, it will be some time before it will be noticeable. A Rhino’s horn is made of keratin, like human fingernails. The full horn will not be in place until approximately six-years of age.

The calf has not been named, but the Toronto Zoo will make that announcement soon, via their social media pages. Asha and her son are now on exhibit at the Zoo.

The recent birth is very important for Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) conservation, as the species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and there are only approximately 2,000 left in the wild.

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Piglets Make Mischief at Zoo Basel

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Just a few weeks old, six Wild Boars born March 11 at Zoo Basel constantly play, romp, gallop, and make mischief together.

The piglets haven’t stopped since they came out of their den a few weeks after birth.  According to keepers, the piglets run excitedly around their enclosure, then flee to the safety of their mothers if they fear any danger.  Speaking of danger, the piglets will even climb recklessly on their snout of their sleeping father, a huge male Wild Boar.  Dad makes it clear he does not like this, but the piglets persist in their play.

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Wildschwein_jungtiere_ZO26939Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel

Litters of young Wild Boars nurse for four to five months and develop a "suckling order" after a few weeks:  every piglet competes for its own teat, with the good positions at the back taken by the stronger offspring. The easily-digestible milk means that the young nearly double their birth weight in just two weeks.

With striped coats, the piglets can easily blend into their wooded surroundings.  By the time they are six months old, the piglets take on the black coloration of adult Wild Boars. 

Native to much of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, Wild Boars are the most wide-ranging mammals in the world.  In the early 20th century, some populations were nearly eradicated, but Wild Boars have recovered most of their original range.  Wild Boars have been introduced in North America, South America, Australia, and other areas.

See more pics of the piglets below.

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Panda Pair Goes to the Vet

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Two seven-week-old endangered Red Panda cubs had their first visit to the veterinarian at Australia’s Perth Zoo.

Though the zoo staff has kept a watchful eye on the cubs since their December 8 birth, this is the first time the red pandas received a hands-on health check.  During the exam, the cubs got a quick health assessment, then had their body condition, eyes, teeth, ears, and weight checked by the veterinary staff. 

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Panda-cubs-8Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo

The Red Pandas are a part of the Global Species Management Program, where zoos around the world actively collaborate to prevent the species from becoming extinct.  Including the two new arrivals, 18 cubs have been successfully reared at Perth Zoo since 1997. 

In the next few weeks, the Red Panda cubs will start venturing out of the nest box.  Until now, they’ve been in the nest box with their mother, Anusha.   “Anusha is doing a fantastic job rearing her cubs. She’s being really protective and attentive, just what we want to see as she cares for her young who are still tucked up in their nestbox,” said Senior Keeper Becky Thomasson.

Red Pandas, which range across the Himalayan mountains and foothills of northern India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is uncertain how many Red Pandas remain in the wild today, but estimates suggest numbers may be as low as 2,500 individuals.

Red Pandas are threatened by illegal hunting and deforestation of their wild habitat.  Remaining populations are fast becoming fragmented and isolated from each other.