Screaming Hairy Armadillo Pups Are a First For National Zoo

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo welcomed two Screaming Hairy Armadillo pups on August 11. The pups are the first ever born at the zoo.

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The two little ones spend all of their time in the nest, and their eyes have not yet opened. However, the bony, armor-like plates that cover their bodies are already visible, and are covered with very fine hairs. At their last weigh-in, the pups weighed between five and six ounces each. It is still too early to determine if they are male or female.

The pups’ parents, Amber and Dylan Walter, were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Screaming Hairy Armadillo Species Survival Plan. These are the first pups for both parents. Visitors will be able to see the pups at the zoo after they have grown larger and have acclimated to their enclosure.

Screaming Hairy Armadillos are native to South America and are listed as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They get their name from the squealing noise they emit if they are threatened and the greater amount of hair they have compared to other Armadillo species. At less than two pounds fully grown, Screaming Hairy Armadillos are the smallest of the three species of Hairy Armadillos.

 


Confiscated Tiger Cub Finds Refuge at San Diego Safari Park

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A tiny male Bengal Tiger cub that was being smuggled into the United States is receiving care at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The young Tiger was confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers, who discovered the cub while inspecting a vehicle entering the U.S. from Mexico on August 23.

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36739400281_dff0fdaec8_oPhoto Credit: San Diego Safari Park

 

Once the cub was safely at the Safari Park, veterinary staff performed a thorough health exam and determined that he was in good health. “His heart and lungs sound good, his blood work looked great and, since he took a bottle from us, it’s a good sign he’ll continue to thrive,” said Dr. Jim Oosterhuis, principal veterinarian.

“I estimate the cub to be between 5 and 6 weeks old, and he weighs in at a little over 6 pounds,” Dr. Oosterhuis said. “He has teeth coming in, so he’ll be teething in the next week or two—so, animal care staff will have a little chore getting him through that.”

The cub is being cared for in the Safari Park’s nursery, and once his location became known, hundreds of eager fans gathered outside the nursery window hoping to see the tiny Tiger. He is now viewable most of the day, except when he is taking a ‘catnap,’ according to his keepers. The cub receives a bottle six times a day with a special formula made for exotic carnivores and is thriving under the watchful eyes of his care team. He is steadily gaining weight and now weighs more than seven pounds. His teeth are coming in and he’s chewing on everything in sight—stuffed toys, blankets, even his paws.

Guests watching the cub through the nursery window might see keepers using a wet cotton ball to give the cub a bath. This procedure mimics how wild mother Tigers bathe their cubs after feedings.

See more photos of the Tiger cub below.

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Five Adorable Meerkat Pups Emerge at Adelaide Zoo

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Adelaide Zoo recently announced the birth of five incredibly adorable Meerkat pups!

Born in the early hours of the morning on July 24, the month-old pups are the first offspring born to proud parents, Miney and Swazi.

The new arrivals are an exciting addition to the Adelaide Zoo family as they are the first Meerkats born at the zoo in seven years.

The yet-to-be-sexed youngsters have spent the first few weeks of life in their burrow being looked after by mum and dad, and have just started to venture outside.

Adelaide Zoo Meerkat Keeper, Jenna Hollamby, said, “The pups are absolutely tiny, probably tipping the scales at about 100 grams each.”

Hollamby continued, “The youngsters are still a little unsure of the big new world outside, but with a bit of encouragement from mum and dad they have started to explore their home. Miney and Swazi are doting first-time parents, tending to the pups every need and taking turns at sentry duty guarding their burrow.”

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Visitors to Adelaide Zoo will start to see the pups in their habitat in front of the Giraffe for short periods each day, as they grow in confidence and start to explore the outside world.

“The pups are still spending a lot of time inside, but every day, they explore further from their burrow and are becoming more adventurous,” Jenna Hollamby said. “The best time for visitors to try and catch a glimpse of the new family is first thing in the morning or when the sun is shining.”

The pups’ sex will be confirmed during their eight-week check-up, where they will also receive their first vaccinations and an overall health examination.

As a conservation charity, which exists to save species from extinction, Adelaide Zoo is proud to have bred more than 80 Meerkats since 1993. Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are native to southern Africa and can be found in the Kalahari Desert. They have adapted to living in very harsh conditions and climate, with little water, limited food and many predators.


Bioparc Valencia Keepers Confirm Their Suspicions

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During a recent well-check exam, BIOPARC Valencia keepers confirmed their suspicions; their new Western Lowland Gorilla baby is indeed a female!

The infant was born July 21 and is the Zoo’s third Western Lowland Gorilla birth.

The new baby is an important member of the zoo’s Gorilla troop. Experienced mom, Nalani, and father, Mambie, are doing an excellent job caring for their new offspring. Aside from the proud parents and their new baby, the troop at BIOPARC Valencia includes: Mambie’s firstborn, Ebo (4-years-old), female Fossey, and 12-month-old Virunga.

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The Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is one of two subspecies of the Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) that lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It is the Gorilla most common to zoos.

The main diet of the Gorilla species is roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark and pulp, which are provided for in the thick forests of central and West Africa. An adult will eat around 18 kg (40 lb) of food per day. Gorillas will climb trees up to 15 meters in height in search of food.

Females do not produce many offspring, due to the fact that they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 or 9. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny (weighing about four pounds) and able only to cling to their mothers' fur. The infant will ride on mother’s back from the age of four months through the first two or three years of life. Infants can be dependent on the mother for up to five years.

The Western Lowland Gorilla is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Population in the wild is faced with a number of factors that threaten it to extinction. Such factors include: deforestation, farming, grazing, and the expanding human settlements that cause forest loss. There is also said to be a correlation between human intervention in the wild and the destruction of habitats with an increase in bush meat hunting.


UK’s Only Koala Joey Emerges From Mom’s Pouch

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Earlier in the year, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo keepers announced the birth of a joey in the Zoo’s Koala Territory exhibit. The new little Koala is starting to emerge, to the delight of visitors who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

Born on January 31 to mum, Alinga, and father, Goonaroo, the new arrival to the UK’s only Koala group was still curled up inside mum’s pouch until very recently; however, the joey is growing fast and was photographed as it ventured out of the pouch for the first time last week.

Lorna Hughes, Team Leader for Koalas at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are really happy that the joey has started to fully emerge. At seven months old, the joey is almost too big to fit inside mother’s pouch, which means it will now be venturing outside more regularly. Soon it will begin riding on Alinga’s back, until it becomes independent at around twelve months. Soon we will be able to begin weighing the new addition and determine its sex so we can name it.”

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According to the zoo, Alinga will carry the joey around on her back until it is around twelve-months-old and, once it reaches sexual maturity, it will go on to become part of the European Breeding Programme. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have Koalas and this new arrival is testament to the Zoo’s animal husbandry expertise.

As members of the European Breeding Programme for Queensland Koalas, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo makes regular contributions that support conservation projects in Australia to help rehabilitate and release sick and injured Koalas back into their natural habitat.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are native to eastern Australia and are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The main threats facing Koala populations in the native territory are habitat loss, wildfires and climate change.


Paignton Zoo Hatches Two Toco Toucans

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Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is the only collection in the UK to have hatched Toco Toucan chicks this year, and the facility is one of only three in all of Europe to have bred this remarkable bird in 2017.

It’s hard to believe that the two new hatchlings, looking more like comical puppets than growing chicks, will turn into examples of one of the most striking and familiar birds in the world. The Toco is the largest, and probably the best-known, member of the Toucan family.

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The two are being hand-reared by Paignton Zoo bird keeper, Nikki Watt. Although the parents have hatched chicks in the past, they failed to successfully rear their previous offspring. Zoo staff opted to care for the chicks themselves to ensure their survival.

The chicks are demanding: they are fed first at 7:00am, then every two hours or so until 10:00pm. Each meal of special baby bird formula and fruit has to be prepared and delivered by hand. Nikki records amounts consumed at each sitting.

Now one month old, the pair is doing well and already starting to look more like the recognizable image of a Toucan.

The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco), also known as the Common Toucan, Giant Toucan or Toucan, is the largest and probably the best-known species in the toucan family. It is native to semi-open habitats throughout a large part of central and eastern South America.

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Chester Zoo Introduces Their New ‘Fab Five’

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Five tiny Dwarf Mongoose pups, born at Chester Zoo, recently emerged from their den for the first time.

The pups were spotted following in the footsteps of mum as they took their maiden steps into the outside world.

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The quintet is the first litter for mum, Mini, and dad, Cooper. Both parents arrived at Chester Zoo in late 2016.

Keepers were first alerted to the new arrivals several weeks ago when they heard “little squeaks” coming from their nest box.

Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said, “Dwarf Mongooses are curious characters and are incredibly adventurous and playful. The babies are certainly keeping mum and dad on their toes.”  

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Double the Fluff: Twin Red Pandas Born at Cleveland Zoo

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The fluffle is real! Two Red Panda cubs were born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on June 20.

The cubs, both male, are snug in their nest box under the care of their mother, Xue Li. These are Xue Li’s first cubs.

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Red Panda cubs typically remain in the next box for the first three months of life. Mom may occasionally carry the cubs in her mouth from one nest box to another during this time. The zoo staff does not intervene in the cubs’ care except to perform occasional checkups and weigh the cubs to monitor their progress.  At their most recent weigh-in, the cubs weighed about two pounds each.  Adult Red Pandas weigh eight to 14 pounds. 

Mom Xue Li was born at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2013. Her mate, Firecracker, age 11, previously lived at the Buffalo Zoo and the Greenville Zoo. Their pairing was recommended by the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, a program that aims to maximize genetic diversity in threatened populations under human care. These two male cubs will make important genetic contributions to the zoo-dwelling Red Panda population when they are paired with unrelated females in a few years.

Feeding mainly on bamboo, Red Pandas are most active at night and sleep much of the day. They prefer to rest on tree branches and are quite comfortable outdoors in very cold weather.

Red Pandas are native only to the Himalayan Mountains in southwestern China. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to the consistent decline in their wild population, which numbers only 10,000 mature individuals.  As Red Pandas’ habitat is lost and fragmented into smaller and smaller tracts, the population shrinks and the effects of inbreeding, such as lowered fertility, further the decline.

 


Meet Kitai the Endangered Snow Leopard Cub

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A blue-eyed bundle of fluff arrived at Tierpark Berlin on June 13: Kitai the Snow Leopard cub!

Kitai was born to parents Maya and Bataar, both six years old. This is their third litter together.

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The now two-month-old cub recently had a health check, at which he received vaccinations and an ID chip. The vaccinations are the same as all housecats receive for protection against distemper and other feline diseases.

Kitai’s name was chosen from among more than 1,000 suggestions made by zoo fans. The word “Kitai” or “Catai” is a variation of  “Cathay,” which is what China was called during the times of Marco Polo. Snow Leopards are found in the mountains of Central Asia. The largest population resides in China.

At eight weeks old, Kitai weighed about eight pounds. As an adult, he may weigh 100-150 pounds. For now, Kitai spends nearly all his time with Maya in their den, but last week the staff opened the door into the main exhibit to give mother and son the chance to explore outdoors. It is completely up to Kitai and Maya to decide if and when they go outside.

Snow Leopards are among the most endangered of all big Cats. Recent data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that there are between 4,000-6,500 mature Snow Leopards spread across 12 Asian nations. A Global Snow Leopard Forum has been established to address the threats facing Snow Leopards, which include depletion of prey, illegal trade, and conflict with people.

Zoo Berlin is active in protecting Snow Leopards, and a total of 13 cubs have been born there in the last 20 years.

See more photos of Kitai below.

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Zoo Welcomes First Okapi Birth in Four Years

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The San Diego Zoo recently welcomed a handsome new resident. Okapi mom, Mbaya, gave birth to her first calf—adding one more individual to a population that is in steady decline worldwide.

Only a few zoos in the United States house the endangered Okapi, and four-week-old Mosi (pronounced MO-see) became the first of his species to be born at the San Diego Zoo in four years.

Animal care staff said Mosi (Swahili for first-born) is a robust little guy who exhibits many of the same personality traits as his mom, including a calm and easygoing demeanor.

“This is her first calf, and she is allowing us to interact with this calf because she trusts us,” said John Michel, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. “It was a relationship we had developed over a long period of time prior to this calf being born. And so, the relationship we have with her is the same relationship we have with the calf—very trusting.”

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The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), the only living relative of the giraffe, is a large animal that lives in the Ituri Forest: a dense rain forest in central Africa, located in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). The species’ zebra-like white-and-black striped hindquarters and front legs give them added camouflage in the partial sunlight that filters through their rainforest habitat.

A very cautious animal, Okapis in the wild use their highly developed hearing to alert them before humans can get close. In fact, while natives of the Ituri Forest knew of Okapis, scientists did not know of the animal until 1900.

Today, the Okapi is listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, due to hunting and continued habitat loss.

San Diego Zoo Global, and other zoos and conservation organizations, work with local residents to protect and support this rare and unusual forest dweller in its native habitat. In 1992, one-fifth of the Okapi habitat in the Ituri Forest was protected to create the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a World Heritage Site providing the species a place removed from most human interference.

Okapis first arrived at the San Diego Zoo in 1956, and since then, there have been more than 60 births at both the Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Zoo guests can visit Mosi, his mom, and the other Okapis in their habitat along Hippo Trail in Lost Forest. Their exhibit is designed to let guests enjoy a good look at these beautiful animals without disturbing them.

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.