Jacksonville Zoo Announces Sex of New Sumatran Tiger

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The Sumatran Tiger cub, at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG), had its first wellness check recently, and the Zoo’s vets confirmed that the cub is healthy and… a female!

The cub is almost 48 cm (19 inches) long, weighs 3.46 kg (7.5 pounds). She's eating well and mom is taking excellent care of her. Mom normally feeds in a separate room for the first few days. When the mother separates from the cub, Zoo Staff gradually extend the time period to see how comfortable she is. Once the staff have gained the trust of the mother and feel she is comfortable, they cautiously and quickly take that opportunity to exam the cub. The entire check up lasted about five minutes.

Guests can try to catch a glimpse of the cub via television monitor in the Zoo’s ‘Land of the Tiger’ exhibit building.

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4_JZG female Sumatran Tiger cub_nPhoto Credits: John Reed / JZG

The cub was born in the early morning hours of November 19, less than a week before Thanksgiving. She is the first tiger born at JZG in 35 years, and the fifth Sumatran Tiger born in the U.S. this year. First-time mother Dorcas (also known as Lucy) is 4-years-old and came to JZG from the Oklahoma City Zoo. Berani, the 14-year-old father, is also a first-time parent who came to JZG from the Akron Zoo.

ZooBorns introduced the new cub to our readers in an article from the beginning of the month: “Zoo Thankful for First Tiger Cub in Over Three Decades

The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the smallest of the six subspecies in existence today. They are only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Originally, nine tiger subspecies were found in parts of Asia, but three subspecies have become extinct in the 20th century. Less than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild. They are currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

"Protecting tigers involves protecting the animals they prey upon,” said John Lukas, Conservation and Science Manager at JZG. “Illegal hunting and snaring removes natural tiger food from the forest and forces tigers to kill domestic livestock to survive.”

To combat extinction of those tigers in the wild, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports a Wildlife Protection Unit on the island of Sumatra. The unit patrols the national forest, removing traps and snares that harm Sumatran Tigers and their prey, and they also keep poachers out of the reserve.

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Rescued Manatee Finds A Home At Cincinnati Zoo

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A two-year-old Manatee rescued in Florida arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo to continue his rehabilitation before being released back into the wild.

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Djjam (8)Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo
 
BamBam was rescued from a canal in Brevard County, Florida in January 2015.  He was treated for severe cold stress at SeaWorld Orlando before moving to the Cincinnati Zoo in October.

“He is quite energetic, which is what you’d expect from a young Manatee in a new environment. The cold stress on his tail has caused some tissue damage, however it does not appear that his mobility is compromised at all,” said Cincinnati Zoo curator Winton Ray. “Upon his arrival in Cincinnati, BamBam weighed 335 pounds, which represents a healthy, 100-pound weight gain since June.”

He joined 25-year-old Manatee Betsy, who weighs almost seven times as much as he does, in the zoo’s Manatee Springs tank. “Since being introduced to Betsy, keepers have seen exactly what they expected and were hoping for,” says Ray. “He is very ‘clingy’ towards her, and she is patient and gentle with him.”

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of two United States zoos outside of Florida that participate in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Program. The goal of this program is to rescue and treat sick or injured Manatees and then release them back into the wild.

A subspecies of West Indian manatees, Florida Manatees are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They are at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress, and disease are all natural problems that can affect Manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by flood gates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.

See more photos of BamBam below.

Continue reading "Rescued Manatee Finds A Home At Cincinnati Zoo" »


Tiger Cub Gets Life-Saving Help From Keepers

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Staff at Zoo Miami have intervened to support a critically endangered Sumatran Tiger cub whose health was failing.

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The male cub, who you met on ZooBorns shortly after he was born on November 14 to four-year-old Leeloo, had been developing well.  But because this was Leeloo’s first cub, keepers kept an extra-close watch on the little one’s development by weighing him regularly.  After two weeks of weight gain, the cub lost weight for several days in a row. 

Keepers believe that the single cub was not creating enough nursing stimulation, therefore Leeloo’s milk production had begun to diminish, which is not uncommon in first-time mothers with single cubs.  In the wild, a cub like this would probably not survive.

To support the cub and ensure that he develops properly, keepers have begun separating the cub from Leeloo regularly and offering supplemental bottle feedings.  Fortunately, the cub tolerates the feedings well, and more importantly, Leeloo accepts him back after the feedings, grooms him, and socializes with him.  This is crucial for the cub’s development so he can learn how to be a Tiger and socialize with other Tigers – and vitally important to his future as he breeds and contributes to the survival of his species.

Sumatran Tigers are native only to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where fewer than 500 of these magnificent cats remain.  Excessive deforestation for the planting of palm oil plantations has been a major factor in the decline of Sumatran Tigers.  They are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the cub below.

Continue reading "Tiger Cub Gets Life-Saving Help From Keepers " »


Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Baby Needs Hands-On Care

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Attempts to introduce a first-time mother Gorilla to her new baby continue every day at Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle, Washington. For the next three months, the Zoo will keep providing hands-on care for the newborn female Gorilla before evaluating next steps.

The unnamed baby Western Lowland Gorilla was born November 20 to 19-year-old Nadiri

(NAW-duh-ree). After giving birth naturally, Nadiri did not pick up her baby and, instead, walked away. Staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest.

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Because Nadiri does not have experience with motherhood, the Zoo prepared for different eventualities while Nadiri was pregnant, including human intervention.

The Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla and veterinary staff are providing 24/7 care for the baby, behind the scenes, in the Gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri. Here, the mom and the other two members in her group can see the baby; and the baby is immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of Gorillas.

“The baby is strong and healthy, and has a hearty appetite,” said Harmony Frazier, Woodland Park Zoo’s senior veterinary technician and an animal infant specialist. “We bottle feed her human infant formula on demand so she’s eating every couple of hours. She’s steadily gaining weight and currently weighs 5.8 pounds, a healthy weight for a 2-week-old Gorilla [as of December 3],” said Frazier.

“The best outcome for the baby Gorilla is to have her mom raise her, so, several times a day Nadiri is given access to her baby,” said Martin Ramirez, Woodland Park Zoo’s mammal curator. “Nadiri consistently enters the den for each introduction session. While she still hasn’t picked up her baby, she remains next to her. When the baby cries, she sometimes touches her in a calming manner. When Nadiri is in her own den, she watches her baby and grunts contentedly,” explained Ramirez. “It isn’t strong maternal behavior yet, but we’re encouraged by these positive sessions and gestures of interest.”

The zoo closely monitors and evaluates each introduction session. “As long as the sessions remain positive, we’ll keep moving forward with providing opportunities for Nadiri and her baby to bond. If Nadiri shows any inappropriate behaviors, we will discontinue the sessions and assess other options,” added Ramirez.

After the holidays, the Zoo has plans to name the baby Gorilla.

Continue reading "Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Baby Needs Hands-On Care" »


UPDATE: Columbus Zoo Polar Bear Still Needs Helping Hand

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The Polar Bear cub, at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, is now one-month-old!

Two cubs were born November 6, at the Ohio zoo. (ZooBorns posted a November 23rd article sharing the story.) Animal Care staff first observed new mom, Aurora, caring for the newborns. However, despite her efforts, only one cub survived.

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4_12244571_10153301035967106_2713312182985211251_oPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Initially, Aurora was caring for her surviving cub, and the Columbus Zoo animal team, in conjunction with recommendations from other Polar Bear breeding facilities, made the decision not to intervene. Polar Bear cubs are difficult to hand rear and disrupting Aurora’s maternal care was not advised.

Unfortunately, the surviving cub was pulled from the den by the Zoo’s Animal Care staff after Aurora stopped caring for it. Aurora began taking breaks from caring for her cub. When these breaks continued throughout the day and became longer, the Zoo’s Animal Care staff made the decision to remove the cub from the den and began to hand-rear the newborn.

A little over one month later, the cub is doing well. The hand rearing team stays with her 24 hours each day, and she is feeding every 3 hours. The cub is growing at a rapid pace, and as of last week, she was 14.25 inches from the end of her snout to the tip of her tail.

She continues to gain weight and keepers are anxiously waiting when her eyes will open, which should happen very soon. The Polar Bear cub care staff are taking the approach of ‘one day at a time’ and adjusting to her daily needs.

Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north, including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar Bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the Polar Bear population could disappear by the year 2050. They are currently classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List.


New Okapi Royalty at Antwerp Zoo

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Zoo Antwerpen’s royal resident, Yenthe the Okapi, recently gave birth to a new princess. The new calf, Qira, was born November 15. She weighed in at 24 kg (53 lbs) and was 85 cm (2.7 ft) tall.

Antwerp Zoo has a special connection to this beautiful animal. The Zoo is coordinator of the European breeding programme for the Okapi, and the prolific stripes of this endangered species are used in the Zoo’s logo.

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4_fotolink-okapi-qira (2)Photo Credits: ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst

 The new calf and her mom are bonding and doing well. Yenthe’s gestation period was exceptionally long; she counted 443 days, instead of the typical 410 to 440 days. Following the tradition of giving all 2015 babies names starting with “Q”, the small Okapi was named Qira (meaning Sun). Qira is steadily gaining weight and can be identified by the unique stripe pattern on her buttocks and legs.

Zookeeper, Patrick Immens, said, “Qira seems a very easy baby. She drinks well and follows mama, Yenthe, very easily. She even steps onto the scale with ease…”

Three Okapi are now living at the Zoo: Yenthe, Qira, and the proud father, Bondo. The “royal family” is considered to be invaluable to the breeding program of this endangered species. Yenthe and Bondo are said to be an exceptionally good match due to their genetic makeup, and their contribution to the European breeding programme is invaluable.

Continue reading "New Okapi Royalty at Antwerp Zoo" »


Eighth Giraffe Birth for Brevard Zoo

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At six feet and 152 pounds, the newest resident at Brevard Zoo, in Melbourne, Florida, is a bit larger than most babies (or fully-grown humans, for that matter). After a 15-month gestation period, mother Johari gave birth to the female Masai Giraffe calf on November 29.

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 The newborn is not expected to make its public debut for several weeks while she bonds with her mother behind the scenes. In the meantime, the public is encouraged to monitor the Zoo’s social media channels for updates.

“Mom and baby are both doing very well,” said Michelle Smurl, Director of Animal Programs at the Zoo. “We’re keeping a very close eye on them, which is critically important in the early stages of life.”

Although this is the Zoo’s eighth Giraffe birth, these charismatic mammals are not faring as well in the wild due to habitat loss and civil unrest. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, their numbers have declined by more than 40% since 1998.

The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is divided into nine subspecies. There are three subspecies most commonly found in zoological facilities: Reticulated, Rothschild, and Masai.

The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi), also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies and tallest land mammal. It is native to Kenya and Tanzania.

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Zoo Thankful for First Tiger Cub in Over Three Decades

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In the early morning hours of November 19, less than a week before Thanksgiving, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) welcomed the arrival of a single, critically endangered Sumatran Tiger cub.

”This rare cub’s birth is so exciting for the zoo and our community. We can’t wait to see the youngster grow, develop and explore the special features we designed into our newest Land of the Tiger habitat, especially the unique trail system,” said Dan Maloney, Deputy Director of Animal Care and Conservation.

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The cub, whose gender is unknown at this time, is the first tiger born at JZG in 35 years, and the fifth Sumatran Tiger born in the U.S. this year. First-time mother Dorcas is 4-years-old and came to JZG from the Oklahoma City Zoo. Berani, the 14-year-old father, is also a first-time parent who came to JZG from the Akron Zoo.

Berani was labeled a ‘behavioral non-breeder’ because he couldn’t quite get the correct ‘technique’ when it came to mating. However, when placed with Dorcas, Berani earned his stripes and successfully fathered their first cub.

To ensure appropriate mother-cub bonding, the newborn will remain with Dorcas in an isolated area with little contact from staff for the next several weeks. Tigers are solitary animals, and since males do not play a role in raising offspring, Berani will remain at a distance as he would in the wild.

In a wonderful twist to the "tail", Dorcas’ sister from the same litter, Leeloo, gave birth to her first cub just five days earlier at Zoo Miami. Coincidentally, the sire’s name is also Berani (no relation to the Berani at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens). ZooBorns shared news of the cub at Zoo Miami in our article from November 28, 2015.

The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the smallest of the six subspecies in existence today. They are only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Originally, nine tiger subspecies were found in parts of Asia, but three subspecies have become extinct in the 20th century. Less than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild.

"Protecting tigers involves protecting the animals they prey upon,” said John Lukas, Conservation and Science Manager at JZG. “Illegal hunting and snaring removes natural tiger food from the forest and forces tigers to kill domestic livestock to survive.”

To combat extinction of those tigers in the wild, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports a Wildlife Protection Unit on the island of Sumatra. The unit patrols the national forest, removing traps and snares that harm Sumatran Tigers and their prey, and they also keep poachers out of the reserve.


Cheetah Cub Gets A Helping Hand

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A Cheetah cub born October 17 at Australia’s Taronga Zoo is being hand-raised after she was rejected by her mother.

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The female cub was one of two born to first-time mother Kyan. Sadly, the other cub was stillborn.

Because singleton cubs are often rejected by their mothers, keepers monitored the mother and cub closely. When they noticed Kyan’s attention to the cub decreasing, especially when feeding, the staff decided to intervene to give the cub the best chance of survival.

The little Cheetah is now receiving round-the-clock care, with a team of keepers staying overnight and feeding her five times a day.

So far, the cub is developing well, growing in strength, and starting to chase balls and stalk play toys. She weighed just under four pounds at her most recent health check, a promising result for the team who is helping to raise the cub.

Though Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals, they cannot escape the effects of human encroachment on their wild habitats.  With only 10,000 remaining in the wilds of southern Africa, Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


A Hundred Jumping Sticks Hatch In Houston

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More than 100 Peruvian Jumping Stick Insects have hatched at the Houston Zoo since October 20!

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These unique insects hatched from eggs laid by the adult female in the exhibit substrate.  The eggs take six months to a year to hatch. The Houston Zoo’s staff reports finding five to 10 hatchlings in the exhibit every day.  They recently found 21 hatchlings in a single day!

Though they appear to be related to Walking Sticks, Peruvian Jumping Sticks are actually a species of Grasshopper.  Native to Peru and Ecuador in the Amazon Basin, males and females of this species are dramatically different in appearance – an adaptation known as sexual dimorphism.  Males are small and green, while females are two or three times larger than males.  Females are brown and look almost exactly like a stick, complete with markings that look like bud scars.  Like most grasshoppers, both males and females have large hind legs and are expert jumpers.

In the wild, these insects live in trees and feed on leaves.  Their markings provide excellent camouflage that helps protect them from predators.