“Q” & A at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich

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The youngest European Elk (Moose in North America), at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich, was born on May 23. 

This year every offspring born at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich will get a name starting with “Q”…so the new calf has been named Quanita. She is doing well and is under the great care of her mother Anita. Staff report that Quanita has also started to become more acquainted with her half-brother Quebec, who is one week older.

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4_Elk_offspring_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (4)Photo Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Mueller

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.

On average, an adult stands 1.4–2.1 m (4.6–6.9 ft) high at the shoulder. Males (or "bulls") normally weigh from 380 to 700 kg (838 to 1,543 lb) and females (or "cows") typically weigh 200 to 490 kg (441 to 1,080 lb). The head-and-body length is 2.4–3.1 m (7.9–10.2 ft), with the vestigial tail adding only a further 5–12 cm (2.0–4.7 in). Typically, the antlers of a mature bull are between 1.2 m (3.9 ft) and 1.5 m (4.9 ft).

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Surprise Macaque Birth at Zoo de Granby

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Keepers at Zoo de Granby had a small, yet big, surprise last month. In the middle of June, they discovered a female Japanese Macaque baby in the exhibit.

Keepers, on their morning rounds, were first alerted to the newborn by her screeches. The mother had rejected and abandoned the small monkey, so staff quickly intervened and placed the baby in an incubator.

The wee one was recently given the name Kimi and has been carefully tended by keepers for the past four weeks. She will remain off-exhibit until old enough to join the Zoo’s troop.

Kimi is also the first Macaque to be born at Granby in ten years!

 

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Hellabrunn’s Emu Chicks Go to ‘Daddy Day Care’

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Hellabrunn Zoo Munich currently has five new Emu chicks! The chicks hatched between May 8th and May 14th, and the new mob is currently under the protective care of their ten-year-old father “Kanoro”.

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4_Emu_chicks_Hellabrunn_2016_Marc Mueller (1)Photo Credits: Marc Mueller

The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the second-largest living bird by height, after the ostrich. It is endemic to Australia where it is the largest native bird and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius.

Emus are soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds with long necks and legs, and can reach up to 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in height. Emus can travel great distances and sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph). They forage for a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go weeks without eating. They drink infrequently, but take in large amounts of water when opportunity arises.

Breeding takes place in May and June, and fighting among females for a mate is common. Females can mate several times and lay several clutches of eggs in one season.

The male does the incubation; during this process he hardly eats or drinks and loses a significant amount of weight. Incubation takes 56 days, and the male stops incubating the eggs shortly before they hatch. The temperature of the nest rises slightly during the eight-week period. Although the eggs are laid sequentially, they tend to hatch within two days of one another, as the eggs that were laid later experienced higher temperatures and developed more rapidly. During the process, the precocial Emu chicks need to develop a capacity for thermoregulation. During incubation, the embryos are kept at a constant temperature but the chicks will need to be able to cope with varying external temperatures by the time they hatch.

Newly hatched chicks are active and can leave the nest within a few days of hatching. They stand about 12 cm (5 in) tall at first, weigh 0.5 kg (17.6 oz), and have distinctive brown and cream stripes for camouflage, which fade after three months or so. The male guards the growing chicks for up to seven months, teaching them how to find food.

Chicks grow very quickly and are fully-grown in five to six months; they may remain with their family group for another six months or so before they split up to breed in their second season.

During their early life, their father, who adopts a belligerent stance towards other Emus, including the mother, defends the young Emus. He does this by ruffling his feathers, emitting sharp grunts, and kicking his legs to drive off other animals. He can also bend his knees to crouch over smaller chicks to protect them. At night, he envelops his young with his feathers. As the young Emus cannot travel far, the parents must choose an area with plentiful food in which to breed.

In captivity, Emus can live for upwards of ten years.

In the 1930s, Emu killings in Western Australia peaked at 57,000, due to rampant crop damage. In the 1960s, bounties were still being paid in Western Australia for killing Emus. Since then, wild Emus have been granted formal protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Their occurrence range is between 4,240,000 and 6,730,000 km2 (1,640,000–2,600,000 sq mi), and a 1992 census suggested that their total population was between 630,000 and 725,000. The bird is now classified as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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How To Feed a Baby Blesbok

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When a baby Blesbok born this summer at Spain's Bioparc Valencia wasn't able to get enough milk from its mother, zoo keepers stepped in to offer bottle-feedings to get the calf off to a strong start.

The little calf gulps down his bottles quickly and cooperates well at feeding time.

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Cuidador de BIOPARC Valencia alimentando con biberón a una cría de blesbok recién nacida - verano 2016Photo Credit:  Bioparc Valencia
Blesbok are a type of antelope that live on the plains and grasslands of South Africa, preferably near water.  They live in herds, grazing on grasses and following the seasonal rains. 

Centuries ago, Blesbok herds stretched for miles across the grasslands, but they were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s.  After hunting regulations were enacted, Blesbok numbers strongly rebounded and they are no longer threatened with extinction.

The name “Blesbok” is derived from the Afrikaans word for “blazed antelope,” a reference to the prominent white blaze on the faces of adults. 

See more photos of feeding time below.

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Lion Cub Shares Father's Day Debut With Dad

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An African Lion cub born March 5 made his public debut alongside his dad on Father’s Day at the Buffalo Zoo.

The Buffalo Zoo’s staff had been preparing for this day ever since little Tobias was born to first time parents Lelei and Tiberius. 

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Tiberius and Tobias
Photo Credit:  Kelly Ann Brown

Like all Lion cubs, Tobias spent his first weeks in the den with his mother.  By the time Tobias was a few months old, the staff began allowing him to explore the Lion habitat early in the morning or in the evening, when zoo guests were not in the park. 

Lion cubs can be clumsy, so keepers wanted to make sure Tobias could navigate the Lion exhibit safely.  Once Tobias was comfortable in the exhibit, he was joined by his mother on his after-hours adventures.  Later, keepers allowed Tiberius to join mother and cub. 

Tobias is the first Lion cub to be reared at the Buffalo in 25 years.

In the wilds of Africa, Lions are considered Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Because their wild habitat has been altered by humans and prey has becomes scarcer, African Lion populations have fallen by more than half since the 1990s.  Captive breeding programs in zoos are important tools for securing the future of the species.


Giraffe Birth at Planckendael’s Savannah Exhibit

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On June 23, Planckendael welcomed their tenth birth at their Savannah exhibit. The new male Giraffe calf entered the world at almost two meters (6.5 feet) long!

This is the fifth offspring for the experienced mother, and she has been spending quality time caring for her new calf.

Zoo Coordinator, Ben Van, said, "It is good that this is the tenth baby for our savannah. It is something to be very proud of, but we also know that it is never routine. Every birth is unique; every birth is different.”

Every year, Planckendael and ZOO Antwerp use one letter of the alphabet to help select names for the zoo babies born during the year. This year, they are using the letter “R”. A contest was recently held, and the public voted on the name “Rafiki” for the new male Giraffe calf!

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Planckendael participates in the European Breeding Programme (EEP). They are also supporters of protecting and preserving the lives of the Giraffes in nature. They are proud supporters of a project in the Garamba National Park in Congo. They provide help in protecting and monitoring the endangered Kordofan Giraffes.

The Kordofan Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum) is a subspecies found in northern Cameroon, southern Chad, Central African Republic, and possibly western Sudan. Historically, some confusion has existed over the exact range limit of this subspecies compared to the West African Giraffe. Genetic work has also revealed that all "West African Giraffe" in European zoos are in fact Kordofan Giraffe.

Compared to most other subspecies, the Kordofan Giraffe has relatively small, more irregular spots on the inner legs. Its English name is a reference to Kordofan in Sudan (also spelled Kordofan, it is a former province of central Sudan).

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Nigerian Dwarf Goat Twins Born at Point Defiance Zoo

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There are two new kids on the block at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. A Nigerian Dwarf Goat, named Hazel, gave birth to the female twins June 24 in the Kids’ Zone area of the zoo.

This is the third birth for 4-year-old Hazel, who has been at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for only a few months. Her two 3-year-old offspring, Newman and Hanson, are among the herd of goats roaming the feeding, petting and grooming area at Kids’ Zone.

“We’re elated by the birth of these goats,” Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Land Animal Curator Natalie Davis said. “Kids’ Zone is meant to instill children with a sense of wonderment about animals; help them gain an increased level of respect for all living things; and teach them about the need to protect and care for animals.”

The newborn goats, along with some recently acquired kids, bring a whole new meaning to the term “Kids’ Zone” at the zoo. With the birth of the twin sisters, the Contact Junction portion of the child-friendly area is now home to 17 Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

The Zoo recently accepted nominations for names of the new twins. They are expected to announce the winning names very soon, via social media: https://www.facebook.com/PtDefianceZoo/ or www.pdza.org

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4_DSC_0878Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

 

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are noted for their wide range of color patterns, which include combinations of black, brown or gold mixed with white, as well as for their easy-going temperaments.

Adult males can reach a maximum size of 19–23.5 inches (48–60 cm), and females can grow to about 17–22.5 inches (43–57 cm).

These herbivorous miniature goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) are of West African descent. They have been domesticated as dairy goats and can be found all over the world. Highly adaptable, Nigerian Dwarf Goats can live in climates ranging from cold to hot and dry.

Despite their size, Nigerian Dwarf Goats are known for expressing a high quantity of milk. Their production ranges from 1 to 8 pounds of milk per day (one quart of milk weighs roughly 2 pounds), with an average doe producing about 2.5 pounds of milk per day. Their milk has a higher butterfat content than milk from full-sized dairy goats, making Nigerian Dwarf Goat milk excellent for cheese and soap making.

The gestation period for goats is 145 days, or just under five months. Twins are quite common among goat births.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are gentle, friendly, and can easily be trained to walk on a leash. Their size and temperament enable them to be excellent "visitor" animals for nursing homes and hospitals.

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Black-footed Ferret Baby Boom

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Toronto Zoo has been participating in the conservation-breeding program for the Black-footed Ferret since 1992. Since then, the Zoo has bred hundreds of baby ferrets (kits) for reintroduction to the wild in USA, Mexico, and Canada where they were listed as extirpated in 1978.

“The black-footed ferret was once thought to be extinct in the wild. Saving species at risk, like the Black-footed Ferret, is only possible through partner collaboration and the success of international ferret recovery demonstrates how working together can have a big impact on saving critically endangered species,” says Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo.

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4_13581986_1041548115881633_4843557045223139156_oPhoto Credits: Toronto Zoo

 

This year, Toronto Zoo has 16 adult ferrets. One female, named Twilight Sparkle, after a My Little Pony character, gave birth to four kits (three males and one female) on April 16, 2016.

Kits are born blind, hairless, and are less than 10 centimeters long. Twilight Sparkle was instantly a very good first-time mom, nursing and protecting her babies. The kits weaned at approximately 30 days of age and started eating meat brought over by Mom. A week or so after weaning, their eyes started to open and they began to explore their surroundings.

Now, at almost three-months-old, their personalities are strong and they are very active and chatty. The kits recently had their first veterinary exam and are all healthy, with beautiful adult colors. They are full-grown and the boys weigh more than Mom. Adult females weigh 700-800 grams and adult males 900-1,000 grams.

On June 13, 2016, another female, named Indigo, gave birth to six kits (unfortunately, two were stillborn). Mom and her four kits have been doing very well. Now, at almost one-month-old, they have grown quite a bit, have white baby fuzz, and are even squirmier.

Four other females bred this year; three did not become pregnant. The remaining female, named Fiddlesticks, gave birth on June 22 to one kit.

Females can have between one and seven kits, with an average litter of three to four, so this is a small litter but not uncommon. Fiddlesticks is an experienced mom and not bothered by a single noise in the barn. She has been caring for this kit just as well as she did for her four kits last year.

In the fall, kits will go to the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center, in Colorado, to prepare for release into the wild. They will live in outdoor pens and learn valuable skills, such as hunting prairie dogs.

Toronto Zoo is proud to be part of this successful program, which has helped restore the wild population to approximately 300 animals. However, the ferret continues to need help as they face habitat loss and disease.

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Night Safari’s Little ‘Princess’ Joins the Herd

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Night Safari’s largest baby of the year, an Asian Elephant calf, is two months old. The female calf is ready to greet her fans and join the adults in Night Safari’s elephant exhibit.

The adorable baby was born to Chawang, Night Safari’s famed four-ton male Asian Elephant, and mom, Sri Nandong.

Chawang is the Singapore park’s biggest animal and has always been regarded as ‘King of Night Safari’. His princess joins five other elephants in the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. Aside from her parents, the calf’s brother, 15-year old Sang Wira, also resides at the park.

Inquisitive and intelligent, the calf surprised keepers on May 12 this year, when she bounded into the world earlier than expected. Mom had only been pregnant for 19 months, when usual gestation is closer to 22 months.

True to her eager attitude to life, the little one has grown by leaps and bounds. For a start, her weight has increased to 210kg (463 lbs.), up from an initial 149kg (328) at birth. Ever the curious one, she is an avid fan of all things wet, and will never pass up a chance to slosh about in her play pool, following that with a roll in the sand whenever possible.

She is starting to relish in her independence and is especially close to dedicated caretaker ‘Auntie Tun’, whom she regards as a larger than life playmate. Elephants live in herds, which are made up primarily of related females, who will act as surrogate mothers to juveniles in the group. Although unrelated, Tun continues to play this role with much gusto, and is always on hand to watch over the little one.

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4_Image 1_NS baby ele debut_WRSPhoto Credits:Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Yet to be named, the two-month old calf has already received quite the following on social media, having starred in two videos showing her indulging in all things elephant: splashing around in her signature rainbow tub, going for walks, and experimenting on adult food. Her caregivers are waiting a few more months, to allow her personality to fully develop, before choosing a suitable name reflecting her character.

Dr. Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Life Sciences Officer said, “The birth of this female calf is particularly significant as elephants are very slow breeders, and she will contribute towards achieving a sustainable population under human care. She will also play a leading role as an ambassador to help raise awareness on the plight of her threatened relatives in the wild.”

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is native to Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized: E. m. maximus from Sri Lanka, the E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, E. maximus has been listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations (estimated to be 60–75 years). Asian Elephants are primarily threatened by degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitat, and poaching.

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Restoring an Endangered Species, One Calf at a Time

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A rare Bukhara Deer calf born in June at Scotland’s RZSS Highland Wildlife Park is part of a global effort to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

Bukhara deer are a subspecies of Red Deer native to central Asia. These deer were once one of the world's most threatened mammal species after populations diminished greatly in the 1970s and 1980s. By 1999, only 350 Deer were left in the wild.

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DSC_1646Photo Credit:  RZSS/Alex Riddell

Thanks to reintroduction of zoo-born animals and restoration of their natural habitat, Bukhara deer now number over 1,400 animals in the wild. While the reintroduction of this Deer has been successful, their population numbers are still low, which is why captive breeding of Bukhara deer remains important to their survival.

RZSS Highland Wildlife Park is home to the only breeding herd of Bukhara deer in the United Kingdom and currently has a herd of six animals.

See more photos of the calf below.

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