Mom, Binti, gave birth to the healthy 76-pound girl on March 23, and the sassy little Hippo soon became a Zoo favorite.
“This is one of our most significant births in a long, long time,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs at the Memphis Zoo, after the calf’s debut. “It’s also incredibly special – as Binti and her baby are carrying on our legacy of Hippos in their brand new home, Zambezi River Hippo Camp.”
The new Hippo made her public debut April 8, and the Zoo immediately organized a naming contest for the new girl. After almost 23,000 votes were cast, the Zoo announced the winning name was “Winnie”.
Photo Credits: Memphis Zoo
This infant is the second for mother, Binti, and first for father, Uzazi. Nineteen-year-old Binti was born at the Denver Zoo. She arrived at Memphis in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Her name means “daughter,” or “young lady,” in Swahili. Uzazi, the 16-year-old father, arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2016 in preparation for the opening of Zambezi River Hippo Camp. His name is derived from a Swahili word meaning “good parent.”
Memphis Zoo plans to have little Winnie and her mom, Binti, on exhibit everyday. However, they will rotate on exhibit with the Zoo’s other two adult Hippos, Splish and Uzazi.
On the first Wednesday of every month, the Zoo provides video updates on Winnie. Check their website: www.memphiszoo.org/hippo or Facebook page for news on Winnie.
A baby Western Lowland Gorilla was born on June 2 at the Philadelphia Zoo with assistance from a team of veterinarians and human medical specialists.
The baby, a boy, has already integrated with the zoo’s Gorilla troop and can be seen with mom, 17-year-old Kira. This is Kira’s first baby.
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo
Mother and baby appear healthy, but will be monitored carefully in the coming weeks and months. Like a newborn human, a baby Gorilla is essentially helpless, relying completely on its mother for care. “We are very excited to welcome Kira’s new baby,” says Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer. “This important birth is an opportunity to engage the world in caring about the future of Gorillas in the wild.”
Kira, a 17-year-old female Gorilla, went into labor on June 1, but had not delivered her baby by the next morning. Kira appeared to tire and behaved as if she were feeling worse over the course of the morning and there were no signs of the labor progressing. Typically, Gorilla labor is quick and the mother does not appear tired, distressed, or show symptoms of feeling poorly.
Concerned about the health of both Kira and her baby, Philadelphia Zoo’s veterinary staff contacted a pre-determined team of consultants who were prepared to assist if there were any problems with the pregnancy or delivery. The team of professionals from the veterinary and human medical field included an ob-gyn, surgeons, anesthesiologists and others, from leading area institutions such as University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Once onsite, the medical team examined Kira after she had been placed under anesthesia and determined that she was fully dilated and that the baby was in position for a vaginal delivery.
After 1.5 hours the team delivered a healthy 5lb, 0 oz. baby boy, the process requiring many of the same tools and techniques used for human deliveries, including forceps and episiotomy. While there have been several successful C-section deliveries for Gorillas, the most recent known case of an assisted vaginal delivery occurred in 2000.
Because Kira was recovering from anesthesia, vet staff provided the newborn with initial neonatal care, holding and feeding him through the night. By the next morning, Kira was fully recovered and was quickly reunited with her new baby, and has been continuously cradling and nursing him since.
“Our veterinary team had an advance plan in place that had us prepared for scenarios like this – and in this case that plan, and the skill of our keeper team, enabled a safe delivery for both Kira and her baby,” says Dr. Andy Baker. “We often take advantage of the expertise in Philadelphia to optimize health care for our animals, and working with valued partners such as U of P Health System, Penn Vet, and Jefferson, we were able to intervene and save both lives. It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one,” said Baker.
“Though Kira is a first-time mom, we’re not surprised she’s acting like an expert already. She was a great older sister to younger siblings and has been very attentive while our other female Gorilla Honi has raised baby Amani,” says Baker. “Everybody is excited about these two future playmates.”
Western Lowland Gorillas are listed as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with threats including habitat destruction due to palm oil and timber plantations as global demand for palm oil and paper continues to rise. The zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to protect and sustain populations of endangered and other species across AZA zoos.
For the first time in the Toronto Zoo’s history, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born on the afternoon of Saturday, May 13 to mom Pavarti and dad Mingma.
Pavarti is a first-time mother and she initially showed maternal instincts. However, Pavarti started spending less time with her cubs and was not observed nursing or mothering them. Wildlife Care staff monitored the new family by camera throughout the night and the cubs were checked by a veterinarian on Sunday. Fluids were given to the cubs to help them through the critical first 24 hours.
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the tiny cubs and on Monday morning, they decided to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the zoo’s new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre. After receiving neonatal care, the cubs’ health stabilized.
Fortunately, when they discovered Pavarti was pregnant the zoo developed a Clouded Leopard hand-rearing protocol just in case Pavarti failed to care for her cubs. The protocol is based on best practices shared by other zoos with experience hand-rearing these cats.
The two cubs are thriving under their keepers’ care. They have gone from weighing around six ounces each at birth to nearly 14 ounces each at about three weeks of age. The two cubs have fully opened their eyes, have discovered their 'meow,’ and are even starting to walk.
A rare Przewalski’s Horse foal has been born at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. The youngster can now be spotted trotting around the main reserve with the small herd.
The arrival of the foal represents a potentially important contribution to Przewalski’s Horse conservation, with the species currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The species had previously been listed as extinct in the wild, following the last official sighting in 1968, but was reclassified in 2011 following the success of a number of reintroduction projects, including to its native Mongolia.
Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said, “For the Przewalski’s Horse to go from being extinct in the wild to once again roaming the Mongolian Steppe is directly attributable to the efforts of the legitimate zoo community. Had it not been for the managed captive population, there would have been no horses to return to the wild. Although there is still a need to continue to augment the small wild herds, and our latest foal may play a part, the story of the horse’s recovery is a classic example of the important conservation role that good zoos are uniquely equipped to fulfill.”
Photo Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)
The Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is the last true wild horse. They are the only living, wild ancestor of the domestic horse that has survived to the present day.
They are named after Nikolai Przewalski, the Russian explorer who first brought specimens back for a formal description in the 1870s. But the first time the species was made known to the West was in the 1763 published accounts of a Scottish doctor, John Bell, who travelled with Tsar Peter the Great.
This wild horse has a stocky body with robust, short legs, a short neck and an erect mane. Typical height of the species is about 12–14 hands (48–56 inches, 122–142 cm), and their length is about 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in). On average, they weigh around 300 kilograms (660 lb).
The hooves of the Przewalski's Horse are longer in the back and have a thick sole horn. This characteristic improves the performance of the hooves.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium recently celebrated the hatchings of two Magellanic Penguin chicks. After their first well check examinations, veterinarians determined the pair is healthy and thriving. They are the first Penguin chicks to hatch at the Zoo since 2006.
The first of the new chicks arrived on May 23 and weighed 5.3 ounces at the first exam. The second chick hatched on May 25 and weighed 3.9 ounces, staff biologist Amanda Shaffer said. Each chick was tenderly placed on a towel in a lightweight container and weighed on a portable scale.
“They both look great and were quite active during their physical examinations,” said Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Kadie Anderson, after the first well check exam. Anderson carefully examined each chick for overall body condition and energy and hydration levels to assess their health.
The hatchlings are the offspring of 7-year-old mother “Pink” and 7-year-old father “Red.” The Magellanic Penguins at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are not named but rather are known by the colors of the identification bands on their wings.
“Pink and Red are attentive parents,” said Shaffer, the Zoo’s lead Penguin keeper. “Pink often keeps watch over the burrow while Red broods the chicks, keeping them warm with a special patch on his abdomen that allows them contact with his skin. The father also has exhibited protective behavior and vocalizations”, said Shaffer.
The new little family of four is currently on exhibit in the Penguin Point habitat at the Zoo, but spotting the chicks will take patience. They’re safely hidden under one of the parents while they’re being kept warm during the day, coming out occasionally for feeding. The parents feed the chicks a slurry of regurgitated fish after the adults have eaten herring and capelin.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium now has four male-female pairs of adult Penguins, and all have been sitting on eggs.
Parents incubate the eggs in shifts; they generally hatch between 38 and 42 days after they’re laid.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is excited to announce the birth of four Warthog piglets on May 11. Two males and two females were born to first-time parents Chico and Acacia.
Father, Chico, was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in 2011 and was also in a litter of four piglets. Acacia arrived at the Zoo in 2016 on a pairing arranged through the Species Survival Plan (SSP).
According to keepers, Chico and Acacia spent a few weeks getting to know each other, from the other side of some fencing, and were immediately showing positive interactions. Within minutes of being together for the first time, it was obvious the Zoo had a “love connection”. Keepers did not witness any breeding behavior after that first introduction back in November, which is a good indication that the breeding was successful.
The new litter of piglets received a check-up from Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Yousuf Jafarey, and Veterinary Nurse, Dewey Maddox, when they were less than 24 hours old. Vet staff gave the litter a clean bill of health, and they were delighted to find the male piglets already have cute little warts. All four siblings were born with tiny tusks.
Tony Vecchio (the Zoo's "pig aficionado"):
Photo Credits: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The little ones have been spending quiet time with mom, Acacia, with occasional outings into the side yard of the Warthog enclosure. They are expected to make their debut into the main Warthog yard within the next two weeks.
Executive Director, Tony Vecchio (a self-described ‘pig aficionado’), is over the moon and eagerly expressed his excitement: “Piglets! What could be a better way for children around town to start their summer vacations than coming out and seeing our Warthog piglets?”
Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are African hogs and members of the same family as domestic pigs.
Although their appearance would suggest a species with ferocious tendencies, they are basically grazers that eat grasses and plants. They also use their snouts to dig or “root” for roots or bulbs. When startled or threatened, they can run at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour.
Their large, flat heads are covered with warts (protective bumps). When faced with a threat, they prefer “flight” as apposed to “fight”, and they will hastily search for such a den to use as a hiding place. They retreat into the den rear-first, enabling them to use their prolific tusks to guard the entrance.
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo bird keepers are delighted to announce the arrival of three Darwin’s Rhea chicks. The trio can be seen running around their enclosure, alongside protective dad, Ramon.
Bird Section Team Leader, Colin Oulton, said, “We are really excited to see the three chicks doing so well and following dad around the enclosure. A Darwin’s Rhea can run at speeds of up to 37mph, so our keepers will soon be easily outpaced by the new arrivals.”
“With Rheas, it is the male that does all the egg incubation and rearing and, so far, dad Ramon has been doing a fantastic job. Rhea chicks grow very quickly and our chicks are already finding their stride. We are carefully monitoring them and can’t wait to see them become more confident and begin to take on their own personalities.”
Oulton concluded, “We have had great success breeding our Rheas in the past and to have chicks again this year is a great testament to the hard work the team have put in.”
Photo Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)
Darwin's Rhea (Rhea pennata), also known as the Lesser Rhea, are found in the Altiplano and Patagonia in South America.
They are “ratites”, a group of flightless birds that includes the African Ostrich and the Australian Emu. The Darwin’s Rhea has relatively larger wings than other ratites, enabling it to run particularly well. It can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph), enabling it to outrun predators.
Although the species has been recently reclassified by the IUCN to a status of “Least Concern”, the population is reportedly decreasing. Some of the major threats to this species include: hunting, egg-collecting, persecution by human populations, and habitat destruction from farming and conversion of land for cattle grazing.
An Okapi calf was born at Brookfield Zoo on May 16. He has access to the outside, but is currently spending the majority of his time indoors in a nesting site with his 6-year-old mother, Augusta K. When the calf is about 3 months old, visitors will have a chance to see him more regularly in the Okapi’s outdoor area. When not visible outside, guests can view a live video feed that will be set up in the zoo’s “Habitat Africa! The Forest”.
In the wild, an Okapi calf will spend most of its first two months alone and hidden in vegetation to protect it from predators. The mom will return to the nesting site only to nurse her calf. Her nutritiously rich milk helps the young animal double its starting weight of about 60 pounds to nearly 120 pounds within its first month. Calves process their mother's milk very efficiently, and they do not defecate for 30 to 70 days, which makes it difficult for predators to locate them by smell.
The new calf marks the 28th Okapi born at Brookfield Zoo. In 1959, Brookfield was the first zoo in North America to have a birth of this species.
The pairing of mom, Augusta K, and the calf’s sire, 21-year-old Hiari, was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Okapi Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining breeding population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. This is the second offspring for the pair. Their last calf, also a male, was born in 2015.
Photo Credits: Kelly Tone/Chicago Zoological Society
Often referred to as “forest giraffes,” Okapi’s closest relative is the giraffe. They have creamy white stripes on their hind end and front upper legs and white “ankle stockings” on their lower legs. The stripes help them blend into the shadows of the forest and make them very difficult to see, even when they are only a few feet away. Scientists speculate that Okapi’s contrasting stripes are important for calf imprinting and act as a signal for a newborn to follow close behind its mother.
Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) are rare hoofed mammals native to the dense Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). American and European scientists discovered them in the early 1900s.
The species is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, due to civil unrest in the region, habitat deforestation, and illegal hunting. In 2013, the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) established the Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group (GOSG) to strategize and coordinate research and conservation efforts on behalf of both giraffid species. To assist in these efforts, in May 2016, the Chicago Zoological Society hosted the International Giraffid Conference at Brookfield Zoo. The four-day event brought together animal care professionals from around the world to network, learn, and share knowledge with specialists, curators, veterinarians, researchers, and conservationists.
Taronga Zoo is celebrating the birth of a healthy Asian Elephant calf, the first born there in nearly seven years.
The male calf was born at 1:35 am on May 26 after a pregnancy that lasted approximately 22 months. Labor was short and without problems, with the calf standing five minutes after birth and nursing just before 3:00 am.
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo
“This is fantastic news for the Australasian breeding program for Asian Elephants, as every birth helps secure a future for this endangered species,” said Cameron Kerr, Taronga CEO and Chair of the Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Elephant Committee.
Pak Boon and her calf are in good health, and the staff is pleased with the calf’s progress so far. He weighed 286 pounds at birth.
Keepers and vets were on hand for the birth of the calf, supporting mother Pak Boon throughout the quick 35-minute labor. She delivered naturally without any assistance from the team.
“Everything went very smoothly with the birthing process and the calf has spent its first day bonding with mum in the Elephant barn. Pak Boon is doing a tremendous job and the successful birth is a tribute to the hard work of our keepers and veterinary staff,” said Kerr.
Sired by the Zoo’s bull Elephant, Gung, the calf is the second for Pak Boon, who gave birth to a female calf named Tukta in November 2010.
Taronga has now welcomed five Elephant calves since the breeding program began just over 10 years ago, with four calves born in Sydney and one born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
“This precious calf and the other Asian Elephants at Taronga play a vital role as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. They help educate visitors about the decline of wild populations due to habitat destruction and conflict with humans,” said Mr Kerr.
“The successful breeding herd has also been an important catalyst for Taronga’s work with governments and conservation agencies in Asia to turn around the decline of Asian Elephants.”
The surviving population of Asian Elephants is estimated to be between 30,000–50,000 individuals, with numbers continuing to decline due to habitat loss and poaching. Taronga supports wildlife protection units and ranger stations in Thailand and Sumatra to help prevent Elephant poaching. For keepers working closely with Taronga’s Elephant herd, this makes the calf even more precious.
“It’s an exciting time to see Pak Boon and the keeper’s hard work rewarded. It’s very special to have the new addition to the herd, who is also a cute ambassador to raise the plight of Elephants, ” said Elephant Supervisor Gabe Virgona.
Pak Boon and her calf will be given further time to bond behind-the-scenes before making their public debut. Taronga will soon be announcing a name for the calf that reflects the herd’s Thai cultural origin.
Two “pocket-sized” Piglets have been born at Chester Zoo. The tiny pair of Red River Hogs, which are as yet unsexed and unnamed, arrived on May 13 to first-time mother Mali, age 8, following a four-month-long pregnancy.
Red River Hogs live in swamps and forests in western and central Africa and are said to be the most colorful member of the Pig family. They are also the smallest of all African pigs.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo
Sarah Roffe, team manager, said, “We’re ever so pleased with our delightful duo and mum Mali is so far doing a fantastic job of caring for them. They’re only pocket-sized Piglets at the moment but they’re already full of personality and have bundles of energy.”
The Piglets will sport the spotted and striped coats of juveniles until they’re about six months old. At that time, they’ll take on the distinctive rusty coloring of adults.
Once common in their range, Red River Hogs are declining in some areas due to overhunting for their meat.