Newborns Have Zoo Miami Singing “Hakuna Matata”

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Zoo Miami is proud to announce the birth of four African Warthogs! Three males and one female were born on June 20th.

Zoo staff were recently able to separate the mother from her newborns for a few minutes to perform a neonatal exam on each of them. The quick exam confirmed their sex and helped to insure that they have an excellent start in life. The preliminary reports indicate that all four piglets appear to be healthy and developing well.

The three-year-old mother, Erica, is from the Indianapolis Zoo, and the three-year-old father, Beebop, was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. These are the first offspring for both parents, but it is the second successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami. The Zoo’s first birth occurred in 1995.

The mother will remain off-exhibit with her piglets for several days to insure that they have bonded properly and are well acclimated to their surroundings prior to going on public display.

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4_ZooMiamiWharthogsPhoto Credits: Zoo Miami/Ron Magill

Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa. Though not naturally aggressive, these wild pigs are quite capable of protecting themselves with large, powerful tusks, which they normally use to tear up the ground in search of roots and grubs and to establish dominance between them. Males develop considerably larger tusks than the females.

The name “warthog” is a bit misleading; the protrusions that come out of the sides of their head are not actual warts, but rather fatty, granular tissue.

Though warthogs appear ferocious, they are basically grazers. They eat grasses and plants, and also use their snouts to dig or “root” for roots or bulbs. When startled or threatened, Warthogs can be surprisingly fast, running at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour.

The African Warthog is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. However, the species is susceptible to drought and hunting. The Warthog is currently present in numerous protected areas across its range.

5_ZooMiamiWharthogsZookeeper Will Montiel proudly holds a newborn warthog getting ready for its neonatal exam:

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Zoo Basel Adds to Flamingo Success Story

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This year, even more pages are being added to the Flamingos’ success story at Zoo Basel. Thirty pink chicks have once again hatched in the zoo’s Flamingo enclosure.

Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) are a permanent feature in Zoo Basel, and have been since 1879! The first Flamingo chick hatched there in 1958. Since then, the zoo has successfully bred over 500 Flamingos. Zoo Basel is one of the world’s leading zoos for Flamingo breeding.

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4_rosenroter_flamingo_ZO50993Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

This year is a hugely successful one. Of the 120 adult birds at the zoo, approximately 90 participated in the breeding activities. About 30 chicks have already hatched, and there is a good chance that more will still follow.

Visitors to Zoo Basel’s spacious Flamingo enclosure will instantly notice two things about them: they are pink and have long legs. However, if you look closer, you will also notice that their bills are bent. This is an ingenious form of natural evolution that is totally unique to these birds.

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Brevard Zoo’s Kangaroo Joey Reunites With Mob

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After five months of round-the-clock care, a young Red Kangaroo with a rough start to life has defied the odds and reunited with other members of her species at Brevard Zoo.

Lilly, born in August 2016, was found on the floor of the Zoo’s Kangaroo habitat in the early morning hours of January 23. Stress caused by a severe storm the previous evening likely caused Lilly’s mother, Jacie, to eject the joey from the pouch. After several failed attempts to reunite the two, animal care staff made the decision to hand-raise the tiny, helpless marsupial.

(Lilly was the subject of a ZooBorns feature from early February: “Abandoned Kangaroo Joey Receives Care at Brevard Zoo”.  At the time of our original post, Lilly was “yet-to-be-named” and had only been in keepers care for about two weeks.)

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3_March 15Bindi Irwin spends time with Lilly during her April 2017 visit to Brevard Zoo:

4_April 28 (with Bindi Irwin)Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

Lilly lived in an incubator with precise temperature and moisture levels that emulated a kangaroo’s pouch for several weeks. Lauren Hinson, the Zoo’s collection manager and Lilly’s primary caretaker, removed her six times a day for bottle-feedings.

As Lilly grew less fragile, a fabric pouch suspended from Hinson’s neck replaced the climate-controlled incubator. The joey became something of a fixture at Wednesday morning staff meetings.

“I took her home every single evening and brought her with me wherever I went,” said Hinson, who estimates she conducted 1,000 bottle feedings. “It was an incredible amount of work and a lot of missed sleep, but well worth it.”

Lilly has been taking supervised “field trips” to the Kangaroo yard since late May, but not until recently had she stayed there permanently. Keepers will need to keep a close eye on the joey in the new space and bottle-feed her twice a day for the next several months.

Although Zoo staff hopes to avoid hand raising more joeys in the future, Hinson is more than willing to put the pouch back on if need be. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.


Orphaned Coyote Pup Finds New Home

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The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park recently announced the arrival of Magnus the Coyote pup!

Magnus was rescued, at approximately three-weeks-old, by Paws Animal Wildlife Sanctuary (PAWS) in Waterloo, South Carolina. With no sign of his mother or other pups around, PAWS took him in and began efforts to find a facility that would care for him.

An alternate home had to be found for Magnus because South Carolina law dictates he could not be released back into the wild. The Binghamton Zoo had the space and facilities for this species, so staff eagerly started making arrangements to bring Magnus to his new home.

Binghamton Zoo staff has been caring for the eight-week-old pup and socializing with him since his arrival at the facility on June 8th. Magnus will be an important part of the Zoo’s educational team. He will help tell the story of Coyotes in the wild and their relationship with their neighbors in the wild, the Red Wolves.

Magnus is currently going through a quarantine period and will not be on exhibit. Ultimately, he will become a resident of Binghamton Zoo’s ‘Wolf Woods’ exhibit.

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4_2017_animal_coyote5Photo Credits: Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are a canid that can be found throughout Mexico, the United States, and Canada in habitats ranging from forests to deserts. Coyotes’ coats are colored grayish brown, reddish brown, and gray. They live about 10 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity.

Litter size ranges from 4-6 pups and it takes about 9 to 12 months for a Coyote to reach its adult size.

The Coyote is similar in size to a small German Shepherd and weighs an average of 25 to 40 pounds but can grow to a maximum of 50 pounds. They can run up to 40 mph, and can jump distances of up to 13 feet.

Coyotes are extremely intelligent with keen senses. They are mostly nocturnal, doing the majority of their hunting and traveling at night. They usually travel and hunt alone. The Coyote requires minimal shelter to survive, but it will use a den for the birth and care of its young. Coyotes prefer to take use of an abandoned badger den or natural cavities rather than dig their own den; however, they will make the necessary renovations by excavating multiple escape tunnels linked to the surface.

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Baby Armadillo Drinks Milk From Tiny Dish

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When a Southern Three-banded Armadillo pup was born at Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw one morning in May, zoo keepers kept a close eye on how the mother, Hermiona, interacted with her newborn.  By that afternoon, the staff realized that Hermiona was showing no interest in her pup and did not nurse him, so they decided to hand-rear the infant.

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DSC02260Photo Credit: Zoo Wroclaw

The little male pup is named Spock. Getting Spock to eat was a challenge at first – he would not drink from a bottle. Keepers tried using an eye dropper at feeding time, but Spock didn’t like that, either. One day, Spock started licking milk from a tiny bowl. With practice, he is now a pro at slurping up his supper.

The zoo reports that Spock is developing well and tripled his weight by the time he was 6 weeks old. 

Southern Three-banded Armadillos are native to the southern interior of South America. They collect ants and termites on their long, sticky tongue. The shell, which is made of keratin, is the same material that human fingernails are made of.  Southern Three-banded Armadillos are one of only two types of Armadillo that can roll completely into a ball for protection.

Once Spock is mature, he will likely be moved to another zoo, where he will be an important part of the breeding program to support this species, which is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Destruction of the dry chaco habitat and its conversion to farmland are the major threats to the species.

See more photos of Spock below.

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Giraffe Calf Takes Baby Steps Toward a Healthy Future

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Julius the Reticulated Giraffe calf is taking baby steps toward recovery after facing several challenges in his first few weeks of life.

Born June 15 at the Maryland Zoo, the 143-pound, six-foot tall calf stood on wobbly legs just 20 minutes after birth to first-time mother, Kesi.

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19510293_10150851118144987_1687018765733478862_nPhoto Credit: Maryland Zoo



Giraffe calves normally begin nursing within an hour or two of birth, but this was not the case for Julius.  Without this early nursing, Julius was missing out on important antibodies and nutrition in the first milk, known as colostrum, produced by his mother. By the next morning, keepers supplemented Julius’ feeding with a special colostrum formula delivered by bottle.

Although Kesi nuzzled Julius and was protective of him, she still did not nurse her calf after two days.  The Maryland Zoo staff contacted their colleagues at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium to obtain Giraffe plasma in an effort to boost Julius’ immune system. The two teams drove through the night and met in West Virginia to hand off the life-saving plasma. Julius received a transfusion the next morning.

Meanwhile, the zoo staff monitored Julius’ weight and bloodwork daily, hoping that Kesi’s nursing instinct would kick in. But for reasons not known, Julius is still not nursing with any regularity. When Julius was about four days old, the staff began bottle-feeding him multiple times per day.

Except for feeding time and veterinary checks, Julius (so named because his father is called Caesar) spends all his time with Kesi. The two appear to have a strong bond, despite the lack of nursing.

Though Julius has good days, when he gains five pounds in 24 hours, he also has challenging days with minimal weight gain and overall weakness.  His keepers tirelessly deliver expert intensive care, and though Julius still faces many hurdles, the staff remains optimistic about Julius’ future. They are especially heartened by community members and colleagues at Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) zoos who support #TeamJulius.

Julius’ story is a reminder that every Giraffe birth is important to the future of the species. The nine species and subspecies of Giraffe, all native to Africa, are in drastic decline. Their numbers have plummeted 40% in the last two decades. In December 2016, Giraffes were uplisted to Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

See more photos of Julius below.

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Zoo Wroclaw Announces New Hornbill Fledgling

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About three months ago, a female Palawan Hornbill “disappeared” in the aviary of Zoo Wroclaw. Keepers suspected the bird was secluding herself in preparation for nest building and egg-laying.

The Zoo’s suspicions were confirmed as the new fledgling recently left the nest! Bird keepers at Zoo Wroclaw estimate the chick hatched around April 20th. The sex of the healthy fledgling is not yet known.

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4_DSC04020Photo Credits: Zoo Wroclaw

The Palawan Hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei), known as ‘Talusi’ in the Filipino language, is a small (approximately 70 cm/28 in long) forest-dwelling bird.

The plumage is predominantly black, with a white tail. The bird has a dark green gloss on its upper parts and a large creamy-white beak, with a casque typical of the hornbill family. It emits loud calls, which can be transcribed as “kaaww” and “kreik-kreik”.

Nine species of Hornbill are found in the Philippines, and the Palawan Hornbill is endemic to Palawan Island, but has also been recorded on the nearby islands of Balabac, Busuanga, Calauit, Culion and Coron.

The Palawan Hornbill is officially classified as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN, and its numbers have reduced by at least 20% in the last 10 years due to habitat destruction, hunting for food, and the live bird trade.

It is usually seen in pairs or small noisy family groups, and it has a communal roosting site. It is most usually observed in fruiting trees at the forest edge, but also feeds on insects and small reptiles.


Vancouver Aquarium Cares for Rescued Sea Otter Pup

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A tiny male Sea Otter pup, estimated to be just two to four weeks old, is now in 24-hour care at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, after concerned members of the public found it swimming alone in open water off northern Vancouver Island on Sunday.

Although the pup appears healthy, he requires care night and day from the Rescue Centre team, just as he would from his mother. Staff and volunteers are spending shifts feeding, bathing and grooming the newborn pup, which has not yet been named.

“Sea Otters have high energetic needs; after birth they spend about six months with mom, nursing, being groomed by her and learning to forage and be a Sea Otter, so this little guy is still a fully dependent pup. He would not survive on his own, and we’re providing him with the care he needs right now,” said Lindsaye Akhurst, Manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, which is presented by Port Metro Vancouver.

According to the report provided to the Rescue Centre, boaters collected the Sea Otter pup after it approached and then followed their boat while vocalizing. There were no adult Sea Otters in sight. Once in Port Hardy, officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) arranged for the transfer to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Although well intentioned, both DFO officials and Rescue Centre personnel say the distressed animal should have been reported first rather than taken from the ocean. “Once they’re removed from the wild it’s impossible to determine if the mother is alive and if they could have been reunited, or if bringing him in was the appropriate action,” said Akhurst.

Paul Cottrell, Marine Mammals Coordinator, Pacific Region, DFO, reminds the public that touching or capturing wild marine mammals is illegal. Decisions about the pup’s future will be made by DFO.

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DSC02352-660x440Photo Credits: Vancouver Aquarium 

Once extinct from Canada, the Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) has successfully been reintroduced to British Columbia, and mainly lives off Vancouver Island. Subsequent population growth and range expansion enabled the Government of Canada to change the listing of the species from “Threatened” to “Special Concern” in 2009, as recommended by COSEWIC.

Major causes of death among Sea Otters are lack of food, predators and environmental contamination. A recent study, conducted by researchers from UC Santa Cruz, U.S. Geological Survey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found the energetic cost of rearing Sea Otter pups could also be leading to higher mortality rates in adult females, and more incidents of pup abandonment.

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals, is the only one of its kind in Canada. Under authorization from DFO, the team rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 100 animals each year; in 2016, they rescued more than 170 animals. For every patient, the goal is to treat, rehabilitate and return it to the wild as soon as possible. The veterinary team provides medical treatment to Harbor Seals, Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Sea Turtles, Elephant Seals, Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises.

This year’s rescue season is proving to be a busy one already. As well as the Sea Otter pup, the Rescue Centre has provided assistance and care to a California Sea Lion, a Steller Sea Lion pup, and 29 Harbor seals.

The Vancouver Aquarium would like to remind the public, if you see a stranded marine mammal, do not approach it and keep domestic pets away. Call the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604.258.SEAL (7325) for immediate assistance.

To report abandoned or injured wildlife in the United States, contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at: 1.844.397.8477

*The Vancouver Aquarium is a self-supporting, accredited institution and does not receive ongoing funds to provide around-the-clock care for its rescued and rehabilitated animals. To make a contribution for the care of this Sea Otter pup, please visit support.ocean.org/rescuedotter.


Sea Lion Pups Worth the Wait at Brookfield Zoo

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Guests will be seeing double when they visit Brookfield Zoo’s Pinniped Point in a few weeks. Two California Sea Lion pups were recently born, and they are the first of this species born at the zoo in nearly 30 years.

The new pups are currently behind the scenes, bonding with their mothers, and learning how to swim, as well as being monitored by animal care staff. It is anticipated the pups will have access to their outdoor habitat in a few weeks.

The first pup, a female, was born on June 4 to seven-year-old Josephine. A week later, on June 11, Arie, who is estimated to be about nine-years-old, gave birth to a male.

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California Sea Lion pups are usually born in June and July and will weigh between 13 to 20 pounds. Pups do not swim for their first few weeks of life, but rather stay in tidal pools until they can go to sea with their mothers. They nurse for at least five months and sometimes for more than a year. In the wild, after giving birth, mother Sea Lions will leave their offspring for a short time while they forage at sea. As the pups grow stronger, the mothers leave them alone for longer periods. Mother Sea Lions recognize their pups through smell, sight, and vocalizations.

The new additions at Brookfield Zoo are very important to the genetic diversity of the accredited North American zoo population for the species because of the unique backgrounds of the two moms as well as of Tanner, the pups’ sire. All three adults were wild born and deemed non-releasable by the government for various reasons. All were taken in and given homes at three accredited facilities: Aquarium of Niagara, Brookfield Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the birth of these two Sea Lion pups, which is a coordinated effort between us and our partner facilities,” said Rita Stacey, Curator of Marine Mammals for CZS.

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Two Pounds and Eight Inches of ‘Cute’ Born in Florida

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has an adorable new addition. A male Southern Pudu was born on May 31 to mother, Posie, and father, Little Mac.

This is the first fawn for Little Mac, and he is proving to be an excellent father, doting on the yet un-named male fawn. Keepers often find him grooming his new son or sleeping next to him. Posie is also an excellent mother and shares a birthday with the little one.

Pudu, the smallest species of deer, are around 15 inches tall when full grown. Jacksonville Zoo’s new fawn weighed less than two pounds when born and stood less than eight inches tall.

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The two species of Pudus are: Northern Pudu (Pudu mephistophiles) from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and the Southern Pudu (Pudu puda) from southern Chile and southwestern Argentina.

Adult Pudus range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long.

As of 2009, the Southern Pudu is classified as “Near Threatened”, while the Northern Pudu is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

Southern Pudu fawns are born with spots, which form strips that will develop into a solid reddish-brown fur as they grow older.

The Pudus at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) are currently housed in the Wild Florida loop, next to the Manatee Critical Care Center. Keepers report they are naturally shy creatures, with the fawn usually hiding in the exhibit shrubbery.

More great pics below the fold!

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