Endangered Wallaby Joeys Emerge at Taronga Zoo

1_Wallaby Joey (2) Photo by Paul Fahy

Two tiny Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby joeys have emerged from their mother's pouches at Taronga Zoo, continuing its successful breeding program for the endangered species.

2_Wallaby Joey (9) Photo by Paul Fahy

3_Wallaby Joey (12) Photo by Paul Fahy

4_Wallaby Joey (16) Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credits: Paul Fahy / Taronga Zoo

A female joey has started peeking out from mother Mica’s pouch in the Zoo’s Platypus Pools exhibit, delighting keepers and keen-eyed visitors.

“She’s still quite shy, but we’re starting to see her little face more and more. Mica likes to find a nice spot to rest in the sun and the joey will often pop its head out to look around,” said Keeper, Tony Britt-Lewis.

At five months of age, the joey will likely spend another month inside the pouch, before venturing outside to explore its surroundings.

The joey is one of two Brush-tailed Rock-Wallabies to emerge in the past week. Another of the Zoo’s breeding group, Ruby, is also carrying a joey.

Once abundant and widespread across the rocky country of southeastern Australia, Brush-tailed Rock-Wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) are now listed as an endangered species in New South Wales. They are classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby population has declined by up to 97% in the last 130 years.

Brush-tailed Rock-Wallabies have called Australia home for millennia. They are found nowhere else on earth and are a unique part of Australia’s natural heritage. “Brushies” were once common in all of Eastern Australia, and they numbered over half a million individuals. In the 19th century, Brushies were hunted by humans for their fur (now outlawed), but today they are still killed by predators, such as: foxes, feral dogs, and cats. They also face competition from introduced species such as goats and of course, a loss of habitat due to farming, weed invasion and the generally expanding human population. They’re vulnerable to introduced diseases and suffer from a lower overall genetic health, due to the increasing isolation of colonies.

Taronga Zoo is working with the Office of Environment and Heritage on a coordinated program to help the recovery of the species.

More incredible pics, below the fold!

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‘A’ Is for Aardvark at Burgers’ Zoo


Burgers’ Zoo, in the Netherlands, recently welcomed a new Aardvark cub! The healthy baby was born the end of July and has been carefully monitored by zookeepers.

Burgers’ Zoo, under the authority of the EAZA, manages the European breeding program for the Aardvark. They are the only zoo in the Netherlands to house this special species.


3_11807685_1008322749240617_8542890582731456660_oPhoto Credits: Burgers' Zoo

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

The Aardvark is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered in coarse hair. The limbs are moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. Their weight is typically between 130 and 180 lbs. (60 and 80 kg). Their length is usually between 3.44 and 4.27 feet (105 and 130 cm). They are typically 24 inches tall (60 cm). The Aardvark is pale yellowish gray in color and often stained reddish brown by soil it sorts through. The coat is thin, and the skin is tough.

The Aardvark is nocturnal and feeds almost exclusively on ants and termites. They will emerge from their burrow in late afternoon and forage for food over a range of about 6 to 18 miles from home. While foraging, they keep the nose to ground and ears pointed forward. When concentrations of ants or termites are detected, the Aardvark digs into the mound with powerful front legs and will take up the insects with their long, sticky tongue. It is possible for the animal to take in as many as 50,000 ants and termites in one night.

The Aardvark is mostly quiet, but will make soft grunting sounds as it forages and louder grunts when engaged in burrowing.

Aardvarks have a gestation of about seven months. They generally give birth to a single cub from May to July. When born, the young have flaccid ears and many wrinkles. After two weeks, the folds of skin disappear and after three weeks the ears are upright. At 5-6 weeks, body hair starts growing. They are weaned by about 16 weeks, and can dig their own burrow by 6 months of age. The young often remain with the mother till the next mating season.

The Aardvark is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, they are a species in a precarious situation and are declining in number as their food supplies begin to dwindle.

Meet Little Pudding, Oregon's Orphaned Otter Pup

A boisterous, squeaky River Otter pup — orphaned last month near Oakridge, Oregon, and now living at the Oregon Zoo — has a name. The 4-month-old will be called Little Pudding, named for a tributary of Oregon’s Pudding River.

Photo Credit:  Oregon Zoo

"A lot of the animals here get their names from nations or cultures associated with the species' native habitats," said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo's North America area. "For the river otters, we like to choose names based on local waterways."

After narrowing their list of potential names to three choices — J.R. Papenfus and Hobson were the other two — keepers last week invited the public to vote for their favorite via the zoo website. More than 5,500 Otter fans weighed in, with Little Pudding earning around 36 percent of the votes.

The pup was alone, hungry and dehydrated when he was spotted wandering alongside a local highway. He was taken to the Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis. Since the young Otter would not be able to survive in the wild without its mother, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife contacted the zoo to see if space was available once the pup's health stabilized.

Once threatened by fur trappers, North American River Otters are now relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest and the lakes and tributaries that feed them. Good populations exist in suitable habitat in northeast and southeast Oregon, but they are scarce in heavily settled areas, especially if waterways are compromised. Because of habitat destruction and water pollution, River Otters are considered rare outside the region.

Red Panda Cubs Are A Perfect Pair

11011769_10153083270748137_3177621361468527736_oTwo Red Panda cubs were born this spring at Austria’s Zoo Salzberg, the first birth of this species at the zoo in more than 13 years. 

11791953_10153083270768137_1156151738392090804_oPhoto Credit:  Zoo Salzberg

The cubs were born to parents Banja and Eros, but are now being hand-reared by the staff after the loss of female Banja in July.

Under the care of zoo keepers, the cubs are developing well and now have their eyes open and weigh about one pound each. 

Red Panda cubs typically emerge from the nest box at 12 weeks old, and are weaned at around five to six months of age. 

Native to mountain forests in China, Nepal, and Myanmar, Red Pandas are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Loss of habitat, caused by a near doubling of the human population in the region in the past 30-40 years, is the primary threat to the species.  As their forest habitat is broken into smaller and smaller chunks, the risk of inbreeding within smaller populations increases. 

These two cubs will be an important part of the worldwide effort to maintain a genetically diverse Red Panda population within zoos.



Lincoln Park Zoo Says They Are ‘Hooked’ on New Sloth


Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, Illinois, has announced a new arrival. A Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth was born on July 25, at the zoo’s Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House!  

The sloth infant joins its 21-year-old mother, Hersey, and 32-year-old father, Carlos, on exhibit at the zoo. The sex and measurements of the newborn are yet to be determined, as the baby is clinging tight to Hersey. The sloth baby is a part of the Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth Species Survival Plan, which cooperatively manages the accredited zoo population. The baby sloth is the first offspring of this breeding pair.



5Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

“The sloth infant appears healthy and is passing critical milestones such as nursing regularly and clinging well to mother,” said Curator Diane Mulkerin. “Hersey is a first-time mother and is being very attentive to her new young.”

The sloth infant, Hersey, and Carlos can be seen on exhibit daily at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Regenstein Small Mammal Reptile House from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sloths are nocturnal so the infant and mother can be seen curled up in the canopy throughout the day and are more active towards the evening.

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is a species of sloth from Central and South America. It is a solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal animal, found in mature and secondary rainforests and deciduous forests. The common name commemorates the German naturalist, Karl Hoffmann.

The species is often confused with its relation, the Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth, which it closely resembles. The primary difference between the two species relate to subtle skeletal features; for example, Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth has three foramina in the upper forward part of the interpterygoid space, rather than just two, and often has fewer cervical vertebrae.

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloths have large hooked claws that help the species hang from treetops in the canopies of tropical rainforests. On average, these sloths weigh around 12 pounds and can reach 27 inches in length and spend nearly all of their time upside down in treetops.

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Lion Cubs Are the ‘Pride’ of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


Three African Lion cubs are the “pride” of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado! The two boys and their sister were born June 25 to mom, Lomela, and dad, Abuto. 

The Zoo recently held a naming contest, for the furry trio, and asked for help from their fans and supporters. Names were submitted via facebook and the Zoo’s website. The Zoo will soon make a formal announcement on the decided-upon names. 

Keepers say "Boy #1" (Image 1) takes after his grandfather, Elson. He’s the darkest in color, and he’s the biggest of the cubs. "Boy #2" (Image 2) is described as being 'really laid back'. Keepers say the Girl is the bravest (Image 3) and takes after her daddy, Abuto. She’s said to be the first to explore new toys and spaces.


3_11224555_10153647446386019_5729344708408349311_oPhoto Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

ZooBorns helped spread the Zoo’s excitement over the cub’s births and featured the trio in early July: http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2015/07/lion-cheyenne-zoo.html

There was much anticipation at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, prior to the arrival of the healthy trio of cubs. Lions are pregnant for an average of 110 days. Zoo staff set up a camera system weeks prior to the birth, so they could monitor Lomela in two different nesting locations. Animal Keepers were able to observe the birth and keep close tabs on mom and cubs without disturbing them. The Zoo set up a second video camera monitor above the Lion Relaxation Room window, so guests could see the new additions to the Lion pride.

Abuto was specifically chosen to breed with Lomela because of their genetic compatibility. The breeding program is known within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as a Species Survival Plan, or SSP. The breeding of the Zoo’s Lions is important to the SSP and to the zoo. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s hope is that guests will fall in love with their pride and fight to help save their wild counterparts.

“These cubs are truly miracle babies,” Amy Schilz, Lead Giraffe/Lion Keeper, said. “We weren’t sure whether Lomela would be able to conceive.”

African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 42%, in the last 21 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.


The cub's mother, Lomela:


The father of the trio, Abuto:


Zoo Liberec Celebrates First Red Panda Cubs


For the first time in Zoo Liberec’s history, they have succeeded in breeding Red Pandas! A pair of young pandas was born, on June 28, at the Czech Republic zoo.

The brother and sister are the offspring of mom, Lotus, who arrived at Liberec from the French Zoo de Bordeaux-Pessac. The father is Kamala, who came from Paradise Park in Cornwall, UK. 


3_11816200_881453561909069_6394997806025376310_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Liberec

The twins are yet-to-be-named, but zoo staff are intent on them having Asian inspired monikers. The Zoo anticipates them being on public display by September when they will be old enough to begin exploring on their own. They are currently safely tucked away under their mom’s care and supervision.

Red Pandas are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. They are slightly larger than a domestic cat. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on bamboo, but they are also known to eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. They are solitary and are mainly active from dusk till dawn.

The Red Panda is the only living species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. It had been previously placed in the raccoon and bear families, but results of phylogenetic research indicate strong support for its taxonomic classification in its own family Ailuridae, which along with the weasel, raccoon and skunk families, is part of the superfamily Musteloidea. The Red Panda is not closely related to the Giant Panda.

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Meerkat Trio Emerges at Zoo Brno


Three new, curious Meerkat pups recently emerged from their burrow, at Zoo Brno, in the Czech Republic.

The trio was born about a month ago, and this was the first time mom allowed them to venture out of the den.



4_11146319_927708453934240_2490181021340122698_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Brno

The Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family. It is the only member of the genus Suricata. Meerkats are native to all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and South Africa.

A group of Meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang”, or “clan”. A Meerkat clan often contains about 20 individuals, but some super-families have 50 or more members.

The Meerkat is small, weighing on average about 1.1 to 5.5 lbs. (0.5 to 2.5 kg). Its body length reaches about 14 to 20 inches (35 to 50 cm). The Meerkat uses its tail to balance when standing and for signaling to others. Like cats, Meerkats have binocular vision, their eyes being on the front of their faces.

At the end of each of the Meerkat’s ‘fingers’ is a claw used for digging burrows and searching for food. The claws are used in unison with their muscular hind legs to help climb trees. Meerkats have short parallel stripes across their backs, extending from the base of the tail to the shoulders. The pattern of stripes is unique to each Meerkat. The underside has no markings, but the belly has a patch that is only sparsely covered with hair and shows black skin underneath. This area is used to absorb heat while standing upright, usually early in the morning after cold desert nights.

Meerkats are primarily insectivores but are known to eat lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, eggs, small mammals, plants, and fungi. They are immune to certain types of venom, including that of the scorpions of the Kalahari Desert. Meerkats forage, in a group, with a sentry on guard watching for predators. Baby Meerkats do not start foraging for food until they are about one-month old, and they are allowed to do so with another older member of the clan acting as a tutor.

Meerkats become sexually mature at about two years of age and can have one to four pups in a litter. They are iteroparous and can reproduce any time of the year. The pups are allowed to leave their burrow at two to three weeks of age.

The Meerkat is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Orangutan at Henry Vilas Zoo Reaches Milestone

1_Bornean Orangutan | Henry Vilas Zoo

The baby Bornean Orangutan, at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, has reached an important milestone in her growth and development. She recently turned 100 days old!

Henry Vilas Zoo excitedly announced the infant’s birth on April 9.  The healthy female was born to first-time parents Kawan and Datu, and she was named Keju (‘kay-joo’), Malay for “cheese”.

“We are excited to have Keju as part of our zoo family,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “No matter where she goes in life, her name is a reminder that she is a true Wisconsinite. We take great pride in the work we do to protect endangered species.” 


3_Keju_infant Bornean orangutan_2015_Photo credit Henry Vilas Zoo

4_Infant Bornean orangutan Keju_April 2015_Photo credit Henry Vilas ZooPhoto Credits: Beth Petersen/Henry Vilas Zoo (Image 1); Henry Vilas Zoo (Images 2-6)

Keju is important to the national effort to maintain a population of this endangered species, through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP). Orangutans are found only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and are the only great ape found in Asia. Bornean Orangutans are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Sumatran Orangutans are considered “Critically Endangered”, with less than 6,000 individuals left in Sumatra.

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Baby Giraffe Drops In At ABQ Biopark

UnnamedThe latest addition to the Albuquerque BioPark zoo is a male Reticulated Giraffe, born overnight July 16-17. The baby's mother, June, is very experienced with newborns, as this is her tenth calf. 

Unnamed (1)
20065314755_8836605f19_kPhoto Credit:  Albuquerque BioPark

June is 21 years old and has been at the ABQBioPark Zoo since 1998. Buccaneer, the father, has been at the zoo since 2006. This is their fourth calf together. 

"The baby is doing great, and was up and moving very quickly," said Paul Huang, senior zoo keeper.  "June is a very calm and casual mother, she's an old pro at this."

Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months. After dropping six feet to the ground during the birth process, baby Giraffes typically stand within an hour of birth.  They walk shortly thereafter and usually will hide for a few days before starting to follow their mother around.

June and Buccaneer are paired as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help maintain a healthy and genetically diverse animal population within the zoo community.

As part of the plan, after about two years,  the newest generation of Giraffes are often eventually located to other zoos. June has offspring all over the county, including San Francisco, Detroit and Topeka. 

Once plentiful, wild Giraffe populations in Africa are rapidly declining.  Of the nine subspecies of Giraffes, two are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Only about 1,100 Reticulated Giraffes remain in the wild.