Kangaroo Joey Tumbles Into the Sunshine

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A Western Grey Kangaroo joey emerged into the sunshine recently at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon, UK.

The rather ungainly exit from its mother’s pouch was probably the youngster’s first attempt. Born in May or June last year, it’s been developing in its mother’s pouch for months.

Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, said, “It’s been peeking out for a while, but the weather was just too chilly and wet for it to want to come out completely...and who can blame it!”

Photographer, and regular Paignton Zoo visitor, Miriam Haas, who took the photos, said, “It [the joey] spent a good 10 minutes or more enjoying the sunshine before returning to the safety of the pouch.”

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4_2016 03 PZ joey 3 by Miriam HaasPhoto Credits: Miriam Haas

The Western Grey Kangaroo Macropus fuliginosus (also referred to as a Black-faced Kangaroo, Mallee Kangaroo, and Sooty Kangaroo) is a large and very common kangaroo found across almost the entire southern part of Australia.

The Western Grey Kangaroo is one of the largest macropods in Australia. An adult can weigh 28–54 kg (62–120 lb) and have a length of 0.84–1.1 m (2 ft 9 in–3 ft 7 in), and a 0.80–1.0 m (2 ft 7 in–3 ft 3 in) tail. They stand approximately 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) tall.

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Small (but Strong) Rhino Calf Debuts at Zoo de Beauval

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A White Rhino calf was born December 3 at Zoo de Beauval, in France. The young male was born to mom, Satara, and dad, Smoske, and has been given the name Hawii.

Hawii recently took his first steps onto his family’s African Savannah exhibit at the Zoo.

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4_Zoo de Beauval's White Rhino calfPhoto Credits: Zoo de Beauval

The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), also known as the “Square-lipped Rhinoceros”, is the largest extant species of rhinoceros. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species.

The White Rhinoceros is considered to consist of two subspecies: the Southern White Rhinoceros, with an estimated 20,000 wild-living animals as of 2015, and the much rarer Northern White Rhinoceros. The northern subspecies has very few remaining, with only three confirmed individuals left (two females and one male), all in captivity.

White Rhinos are found in grassland and savannah habitat. Herbivore grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains, they are one of the largest pure grazers. They drink twice a day, if water is available. If conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. Like all species of rhinoceros, White Rhinos love wallowing in mud holes to cool down.

The White Rhinoceros is quick and agile and can run 50 km/h (31 mph), and they prefer to live in “crashes” or herds of up to 14 animals (usually mostly female).

Breeding pairs stay together between 5–20 days before they part their separate ways. Gestation occurs around 16–18 months. A single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb). Calves are unsteady for their first two to three days of life. Weaning starts at about two months, but the calf may continue suckling for over 12 months. The birth interval for the white rhino is between two and three years. Before giving birth, the mother will chase off her current calf. White Rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old.

Adult White Rhinos have no natural predators (other than humans) due to their size. Young rhinos are rarely attacked or preyed upon due to the mother's presence and their tough skin.

The White Rhino is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The reason for rating this species as Near Threatened and not Least Concern is due to the continued and increased poaching threat and increasing illegal demand for horn, increased involvement of organized international criminal syndicates in rhino poaching (as determined from increased poaching levels, intelligence gathering by wildlife investigators, increased black market prices and apparently new non-traditional medicinal uses of rhino horn)…One of the main threats to the population is illegal hunting (poaching) for the international rhino horn trade. Rhino horn has two main uses: traditional use in Chinese medicine, and ornamental use (for example, rhino horn is a highly prized material for making ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers (jambiyas) worn in some Middle East countries).”


Giraffe Calf Is Tallest Born at Brevard Zoo

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Standing at 6’4”, Brevard Zoo’s newest addition is the tallest Masai Giraffe ever born at the facility.

After a gestation period lasting more than a year, 14-year-old Milenna gave birth to the male calf early on March 7.

The little one is the second Giraffe born at the Florida zoo in under four months. A female, who has yet to be named, was born to Johari on November 29, 2015. Seventeen-year-old Rafiki is the father of both calves.

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“Our team conducted a neonatal exam on Tuesday afternoon [March 8] and everything looks good so far,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “He’s very energetic, which is always a positive sign.”

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

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Binghamton Zoo Has a Lucky 'Clover'

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The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, in New York, is proud to announce the birth of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine on March 17 to second-time parents Mattie and Zoey.

In honor of its day of birth, St. Patrick’s Day, the porcupette has been named Clover!

This birth is a major success for the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine’s Species Survival Plan. Mattie arrived at the Binghamton Zoo in November 2014, under recommendations from the SSP as a breeding candidate for Zoey. Mattie and Zoey successfully had Norwan on Father’s Day 2015 and now are caring for their newest addition.

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Photo Credits: Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park

Each SSP carefully manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. The Binghamton Zoo is proud to be a contributor to the captive population and is eager to continue participating in the program.

Zoo officials have been monitoring the progress of the porcupine and its parents. Weighing in at 410 grams, the baby has progressively gained weight since birth. The porcupine will not be sexed for several more weeks.

Porcupines are not born with sharp or barbed quills. Instead, the quills are soft and bendable, gradually hardening in the first few days after birth. Their quills will reach maturity after ten weeks. They are dependent on mother for nutrition the first four weeks after birth, eventually foraging for other food sources and will then be completely weaned at 15 weeks.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are found in South America. They feed on the bark of trees, buds, fruits, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, seeds, and crops like corn and bananas.

The new porcupine is currently on exhibit with parents, Zoey and Mattie, and sister Norwan-- in the New World Tropics building.


Nursery Dog Cares for Orphan Cheetah Cubs

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Five Cheetah cubs have been receiving critical care in the Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery since they were born on March 8. The cubs were born via C-section, to mom Willow, at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Cheetah Breeding Facility.

Unfortunately, their mother has passed away. Zoo vets were hopeful that the five-year-old Cheetah would make a full recovery following surgery, but Willow remained lethargic and recently lost her appetite.

“Cheetahs are a fragile species and this difficult birth proved to be too much for her to pull through," said Thane Maynard, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. “Willow was able to contribute to the survival of her species by producing five Cheetah cubs. Without the C-section, we likely would have lost both the mom and the cubs.”

Nursery staff have been bottle-feeding the premature cubs every three hours and closely monitoring their weight. Australian Shepherd “Blakely,” the Zoo’s resident nursery companion and former nanny to several Zoo babies, has been called into action to provide snuggling, comfort and a body to climb.

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“They really turned a corner this weekend. They opened their eyes, had good appetites and, most importantly, they pooped!” said Head Nursery Keeper Dawn Strasser of the cubs. “It’s important to keep their digestive system moving. We’ve been massaging their bellies and giving them opportunities to exercise as much as possible.”

Blakely will have his paws full with this assignment. “His first job is to let the cubs climb on him, which they did as soon as they were put together. They need the exercise to build muscle tone and get their guts moving,” said Strasser, who supervises daily climbing sessions and other interactions with Blakely.

As the cubs grow, Blakely’s role in their development will shift from climbable companion and hairy warm body to teacher and role model. He taught his last student, a baby Takin named Dale, to jump up on rocks and to keep his head butts in the gentle range. Blakely’s first charge, a single Cheetah cub named Savanna, learned the difference between a playful bite and the start of a fight from Blakely.

The cubs (3 boys and 2 girls) will remain in the nursery for at least 8-12 weeks. After that, they will be hand-raised and trained to be Cheetah Ambassadors. Zoo visitors may be able to view the cubs through the nursery windows, but some feedings and exams will take place behind the scenes.

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Two Bonnie Baby Bentangs at Edinburgh Zoo

Banteng + Calf - Edinburgh Zoo - Wed 24 Feb 2016 (photographer - Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)
Two calves were born this spring to the Edinburgh Zoo’s herd of Banteng, an endangered species of wild Asian Cattle.

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Photo Credits: Andy Catlin (1), Maria Dorrian (2,4), Edinburgh Zoo (3, 5, 6, 7, 8)

The first calf was born on February 15 and is a male, and the second calf, a female, was born on March 11.  The two youngsters, who have not yet been named, can be seen with their family in the zoo’s outdoor paddock.  Keepers report that though the two calves will stay close to their mothers until they are six to nine months old, they often prance and jump with other members of the zoo’s herd.  Banteg are social animals that live in herds of up to 40 individuals.

The zoo is hopeful that the two Banteng calves will contribute to the conservation of this endangered species in the future. 

Banteng, also known as Tembadau, are a species of wild Cattle found in Southeast Asia that feed on grasses, bamboo, leaves, and fruits. Calves of both sexes are born with light brown coats. It is easy to distinguish between the sexes as they mature:  Males have a dark brown coat, while females are light brown with a dark strip down the back.

Listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Banteng are threatened by illegal hunting and habitat loss. In Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, this species faces local extinction. Interbreeding with domestic cattle has caused hybridization, thereby contaminating the gene pool and increasing the transmission of diseases with domestic cattle.

See more photos of the Bantengs below.

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There's a Joey Boom at Zoo Basel

Za_160317_15Pouches are packed in Zoo Basel’s Kangaroo yard this spring:  nearly all the females in the mob have babies!Za_160317_04

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The youngsters are of varying ages, but they all have the same father, five-year-old Mitchel. No one knows the exact birthdates of the babies, which are called joeys.  That’s because Kangaroo babies are the size of jellybeans at birth, and they begin life by making a very dangerous journey – the blind babies, which have only front legs, crawl unassisted from the birth canal to their mother‘s pouch. The entire birth process takes only about five minutes.

Once inside the pouch, joeys latch onto a teat and begin drinking nutritious milk.  They remain in the pouch for several months as they develop, then gradually start exploring the world around them and eating solid food.

Most of Zoo Basel’s joeys were born last fall, and only recently started coming out of the pouch.  One little joey named Manilla lost her mother to illness recently, but luckily two of the nursing females will allow her to drink their milk.  Manilla is starting to eat solid food, but milk will be very important for her growth for another six months.  One of those females, Lamilla, has her own joey in the pouch, and it peeks out from time to time.

The zoo’s Kangaroo mob has ten adults and five young kangaroos, which were born in late 2014, plus the new joeys.

Kangaroos are marsupials.  Unlike placental mammals (such as humans), marsupials give birth to highly underdeveloped young which complete their development in the pouch.  Most of the world’s 320 marsupial species live in Australia.     

See more photos of the Kangaroo joeys below.

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The Kids Are Alright at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich

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There has been a baby boom at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich…seriously, we aren’t ‘kidding’! Four Girgentana Goat kids were born there in the last two months!

According to staff, all new offspring born at the Zoo in 2016 are being given names that start with the letter ‘Q’ (babies born in 2015 all started with ‘P’).

Quirin was born February 18 to his mom, Orchidee. Male, Quax, and his sister, Quidana, were born February 22 to mom Mildred. The newest ‘kid’ was born March 9 to Penelope, and he has been named Quentino. The father of all the young is a four-year-old, known by the Zoo as “Mr. Montgomery”.

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The Girgentana is a breed of domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) indigenous to the province of Agrigento, in the southern part of the Mediterranean island of Sicily. The name of the breed derives from Girgenti, the name of Agrigento in local Sicilian language. There were in the past more than 30,000 head in the hills and coastal zone of the province. Today, however, this breed is in danger of disappearance. According to Hellabrunn Zoo Munich, there are only about 400 left.

The Girgentana Goat has characteristic horns, twisted into a spiral. It has a long beard and a primarily white coat with grey-brown hair around the head and throat. It is known for the production of high-quality milk.

The Girgentana is one of the eight autochthonous Italian goat breeds, for which a genealogical herdbook is kept by the Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia (the Italian national association of sheep-breeders).

It was formerly numerous in the province of Agrigento, where there were more than 30,000 in the coastal area and the hilly hinterland. It has since fallen rapidly, to the point that measures for its protection may be needed. At the end of 1993 the population was estimated at 524. In 2007, the conservation status of the breed was listed as "Endangered" by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). At the end of 2013 the registered population was 390.

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Pueblo Zoo Has Their Hands Full of Cuteness

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The Pueblo Zoo is excited to share news of the birth of two North American River Otters. The pups were born to mom Freyja on March 8.

This is the second litter for Freyja, and the newest arrivals will stay with their mom, in the nest box, for at least eight weeks.

Freyja will have her hands full for the next few months. The pups will need to master their swimming skills before they can be visible to the public in the Zoo’s Otter Exhibit.

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The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is native to much of Canada and the United States (except for portions of the Southwest), and in Mexico-- in the Rio Grande and Colorado River delta areas.

They can thrive in any water habitat---as long as the habitat provides adequate food: ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, estuaries and marshes (cold, warm or even high elevation).

They have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. A long, strong tail helps propels them through the water.

The River Otter can stay underwater for as much as eight minutes. They have long whiskers, which they use to detect prey in dark or cloudy water and clawed feet for grasping onto slippery prey. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. On land they can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

Their diet consists of a variety of aquatic wildlife: fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and other reptiles such as turtles. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. They are known to have a very high metabolism and need to eat frequently.

In the wild, River Otters breed in late winter or early spring and generally give birth to one to three pups. The young are blind and helpless when born and first learn to swim after about two months. River Otters generally live alone or in small social groups.

The North American River Otter is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, habitat degradation and pollution are major threats to their conservation. They are said to be highly sensitive to pollution, and the species is often used as a bio indicator because of its position at the top of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems.


Orphaned Possum Brothers Find New Mother

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Two orphaned Ringtail Possums have found a surrogate mum at Taronga Zoo.

Taronga staffer, Di Scott, is providing round-the-clock care to the twin brothers, carrying a makeshift pouch and waking at 3am to feed and toilet the joeys.

The four-month-old Possums, nicknamed ‘Ernie’ and ‘Bert’, arrived at Taronga Wildlife Hospital with their mother last week. Their mother was left paralyzed after a suspected collision with a car at Northbridge and sadly didn’t survive.

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The twins were losing weight rapidly on arrival but have since made a remarkable recovery in Di’s care.

“It was really hard to tell them apart when they arrived, so the hospital staff put a spot of nail polish on one their toes to help with identification,” said Di.

“They’ve actually got quite distinct little personalities. Ernie is bouncy and boisterous, while Bert is quiet and shy in comparison.”

The Possums are learning to lap a special milk mixture from a dish and starting to nibble on solid foods, such as leaves and native flowers.

“I can hear them munching away on the flowers in the middle of the night. Their favorite is bottlebrush and they fight over the same part of the flower-- like true brothers,” said Di.

The twins will remain in Di’s care until they are ready to feed themselves. They’ll then stay at Taronga Wildlife Hospital until they are old enough to begin a soft release program, where they’ll be transferred to a specialized wildlife carer and ultimately released back into the wild.

Di said the Possums’ story should serve as a reminder to watch out for wildlife on the road, as native animals are often hit by cars.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital cares for and treats about 1,000 injured or orphaned native animals every year, including Wombats, Wallabies, Possums, Echidnas, birds and Sea Turtles.

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