Landmark Penguin Chick Hatches at Woodland Park

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The 60th Humboldt Penguin has hatched at Woodland Park Zoo’s new penguin exhibit.

The Zoo’s first breeding season began in 2010, and the latest chick hatched on March 17. Although keepers don’t yet know the sex of the chick, a naming contest was organized.

The community has been invited to vote on one of the following Spanish names: Sesenta (means 60), Diamante (diamond = for 60th anniversary), and Amor (love). The poll began March 30 and voting concludes today, April 3. Vote through the end of today via the Zoo’s special facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/WoodlandParkZooSeattle/

The chick’s parents, 9-year-old dad, Mateo, and 4-year-old mom, Mini, have raised chicks with other mates but the new chick is the first offspring between the pair.

To date, a total of six chicks have been produced in the current breeding season, with a couple more chicks anticipated to hatch. All the chicks are off exhibit, in nesting burrows, where they are under the care of the parents. Staff minimizes intervention to allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain parental experience. To ensure the chicks are achieving growth milestones staff regularly weigh them as they develop.

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4_RS32574_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-2-phiPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Before new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they are removed from the nest so keepers can condition the birds to approach them for hand feeding and other animal care activities. Chicks also are given round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. New chicks join the colony in the outdoor exhibit sometime in early summer.

People do not usually think of penguins as a desert species. Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) inhabit hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. They live on rocky mainland shores, especially near cliffs, or on coastal islands.

Humboldt Penguins have a body made to swim. Using their strong wings, they “fly” underwater, usually just below the surface, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They steer with their feet and tail.

Classified as a “Vulnerable” species by the IUCN, approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Humboldt Penguins survive in their natural range.

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to conserving Humboldt Penguins by supporting the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Center at Punta San Juan, Peru*. They also help preserve the species by breeding the birds through the Species Survival Plan and by encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options.

*Punta San Juan is home to 5,000 Humboldt Penguins, the largest colony in Peru.


Dallas Zoo's Lion Cub Is The "Lucky One"

_MG_3108-Lion cub-w-logoThe Dallas Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of the first African Lion in more than 40 years.

The female cub, named Bahati Moja, was born on March 17.  Bahati Moja means “lucky one” in Swahili, a fitting name for a cub born on St. Patrick’s Day and who has overcome considerable odds to enter the world.

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Photo Credit: Dallas Zoo

Bahati Moja’s mother, Lina, had previously delivered stillborn cubs. The zoo’s veterinary team assisted Lina to ensure a successful outcome, and Bahati Moja is now called a “miracle baby” by the zoo staff.

As a result of the professionalism and dedication of the keepers and veterinary staff, Bahati Moja is developing right on schedule as she bonds with Lina in the den.  Keepers report that the little cub is nursing, gaining weight, and getting feisty.  Mom and cub will remain behind the scenes for a few months before venturing into the Lion habitat.

African Lions (and their counterparts, Asiatic Lions) once dwelled across most of Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.  Today, Asiatic Lions have nearly vanished from the wild, and African Lions’, once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have dwindled to as few as 20,000 individuals.  African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


First Sifaka Born in Great Britain Debuts at Cotswold

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Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the arrival of the first-ever Crowned Sifaka to be born in Great Britain. The baby male, named Yousstwo, is the first baby for new parents Bafana and Tahina. Cotswold Wildlife Park is the only mainland zoological collection in Great Britain to keep this endangered Lemur species.

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22Photo Credits:  Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jackie Thomas (photos 1 & 5)

Bafana arrived at the Park in 2009 from Besancon Zoo in France. Tahina joined him in 2013, from the same zoo, and the pair formed an instant bond. They are the only breeding pair in the country. Tahina is also the first hand-reared Sifaka in history to parent-rear her own offspring and is proving to be an exceptional mother.

The birth was caught on a closed-circuit camera which had been installed so keepers could keep an eye on Tahina without disturbing her.

Females are only sexually receptive for just one or two days a year, so the window of opportunity for males to father offspring is small. After a gestation period of approximately 165 days, females give birth to a baby completely covered in white fur and weighing less than four ounces. Infants are able to grip their mother’s fur from birth and they cling onto her belly for the first few weeks of life. After eight weeks, they start to develop the distinctive darker markings the Crowned Sifaka is famous for. They become independent at around six months old.

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Denver Zoo Celebrates First Kea Hatching

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Denver Zoo is celebrating its first successful hatching of a Kea! The female chick, named Scarlet, hatched on February 8, and is being hand-reared by zookeepers at the Zoo’s Avian Propagation Center.

The Kea (KEE-yah) is a large, vulnerable species of parrot. Scarlet’s arrival is special, as she increases the North American zoo population to 38 Keas, 14 of which are female.

Zookeepers have taken extra steps to assure Scarlet’s continued well-being. She is still growing behind the scenes, but will make her public debut soon at the Zoo’s Bird World habitat.

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3_IMG_1136Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Scarlet's hatching is a somewhat rare occasion. Only 11 institutions in North America house the species and they can be very difficult to breed. Denver Zoo’s zookeepers were diligent, though, and after thorough research, designed a large nest box, with a tunnel entrance, that finally encouraged Scarlet’s mother, Anna, to breed with her mate, Sorento, resulting in four eggs. Zookeepers had planned to give the pair a chance to incubate the eggs and rear the chicks themselves, but unfortunately, the parents broke two of the eggs, forcing zookeepers to pull the remaining two and incubate them artificially. Of those, only one chick hatched. Zookeepers have then hand-raised the chick since then, but will eventually place Scarlet with her parents once she is old enough.

This is the first chick for both Anna and Sorento. Anna hatched at the Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle, Washington, in March 2006, and arrived at Denver in August 2008. Sorento hatched at the San Diego Zoo in December 2004 and came to Denver Zoo, from the Philadelphia Zoo, in October 2010. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. The Kea SSP coordinator, Jessica Meehan, who supervises the management of the birds around North America, is also a Denver Zoo zookeeper.

The Kea (Nestor notabilis) is one of the few alpine species of parrot in the world and is found mostly in the mountains of the South Island of New Zealand. Adults can grow to about 19 inches long, and can weigh about 2 pounds. Their feathers are mostly olive-green, save for the bright, reddish-orange coloring under their wings. Keas were named, by the Māori people, for the sound of one of the birds’ vocalizations: “kee-yah.”

While exact population numbers are difficult to verify, experts estimate the wild Kea population at between 3,000 and 5,000 individuals, but could be significantly lower. The species is thought to be in decline and is currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They face a number of threats, including human-animal conflict and predation by introduced species, like stoats and possums.


Litter of Elusive Maned Wolves Born at Paignton Zoo

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Paignton Zoo’s South American Maned Wolves are rearing a litter of three pups!

This is the first litter for the pair. The male, Tolock, arrived at Paignton Zoo in September 2016 from Katowice Zoo in Poland, where he was born in 2015. Female Milla was born in December 2012 and arrived in the UK a year later from Nordens Ark Zoo in Sweden.

It has been seven years since Paignton Zoo has bred Maned Wolves. They are part of the carefully managed European Endangered species Programme.

Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, said, "Judging by the parents’ change in behavior, the pups were born on 23rd February. Being carnivores, we left them undisturbed to get on with it. The pups were not seen by the keepers for four weeks. Our Maned Wolves are quite elusive, but with patience can usually be seen mid-afternoon. There will be a much better chance of seeing one now there are five and especially when the pups become more mobile!”

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3_2017 03 PZ maned wolf pup 1Photo Credits: Paignton Zoo Environmental Park

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Adults stand almost 1 meter (3 feet) tall at the shoulder and weigh 20 to 25 kg. (50 to 55 lb).

They catch small prey such as rodents, hares and birds, but fruit forms a large part of their diet.

The Maned Wolf is shy and flees when alarmed, and their mane can be raised to display aggression. You are more likely to smell them than see them, as their urine, which they use to communicate, has a very distinctive smell.

Although often described as "a fox on stilts", due to their coloration, it is not closely related to any other canid and may be a survivor from the Pleistocene fauna of large South American mammals.

Native to parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, the Maned Wolf is currently classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, thanks largely to the effects of man: habitat loss, poaching, road kill and domestic dogs (which can attack the wolves and spread diseases).


Atlanta's Giant Panda Twins Enjoy Their First Spring

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Zoo Atlanta’s Giant Panda twins, Ya Lun and Xi Lun, have reached yet another adorable milestone: exploring the great outdoors for the first time. On March 27, lucky visitors got a peek at the duo as they got a taste of their first Georgia spring in an outdoor habitat at Zoo Atlanta’s Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center.

Ya Lun was quick to explore her new surroundings, while her sister Xi Lun was more reticent. According to the Zoo, Ya Lun is typically the more daring of the duo, and Xi Lun tends to be more cautious.

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3_Xi Lun_Zoo AtlantaPhoto Credits: Zoo Atlanta

It is not unusual for the cubs, who will be 7 months old on April 3, to be making their first trip into an outdoor space at this age. Giant Pandas are born exceptionally tiny, hairless, blind and entirely dependent. A mother will instinctively keep her offspring in a secluded and protected den area, away from predators and the elements. Lun Lun followed this instinct with Ya Lun and Xi Lun, remaining with the cubs in behind-the-scenes dens until late December, when she began exploring the option of taking the cubs into their dayroom habitat.

Since Ya Lun, Xi Lun and Lun Lun are still becoming comfortable in the outdoor habitat, the Zoo’s Animal Care Team began allowing the three to explore the space for brief times before Zoo opening hours on March 24, but March 27 was the first occasion when Zoo guests got a sneak-peek of the cubs outside. Ya Lun and Xi Lun will continue to check out the space on a gradual basis at limited times during the day, so there is not yet a guarantee of seeing the cubs in the outdoor habitat. However, the cubs have been visible in their dayroom space, full-time, since mid-March.

Born September 3, 2016, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the sixth and seventh offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang. Their older brothers and sisters, Mei Lan, Xi Lan, Po, Mei Lun and Mei Huan, now reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.

Giant Pandas represent Zoo Atlanta’s most significant investment in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 1,900 Giant Pandas are estimated to remain in the wild in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, eight of which are supported by Zoo Atlanta.

In September 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the Giant Panda’s status from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable.” The species remains heavily reliant on conservation programs, and Giant Pandas face ongoing threats from habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities.


Wallaby Joeys Bounce Onto Exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo

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Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo excitedly announced the arrival of Wallaby joeys! The bouncing babies have been spotted in their pouches in Edinburgh Zoo’s Wallaby Outback exhibit.

There are five joeys at present, each eagerly peeking out of mum’s pouch. There are also a couple already exploring the enclosure without mum.

Lorna Hughes, Primate Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “It’s great to see the Wallaby mums with their new young and getting on so well. The babies will tend to stay close to mum for the first few months, but they can now be seen venturing out around the enclosure on their own…Wallabies are a marsupial mammal, which means they continue to breed throughout the year. We are looking forward to welcoming more this year, so keep your eyes peeled for them as you walkthrough Wallaby Outback!”

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4_17_01_25_SwampWallaby_02_kpPhoto Credits: RZSS/Katie Paton

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Endangered Dama Gazelles Arrive with the Spring

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The entrance of spring has brought the births of many animals at BIOPARC Valencia, and among them is the Dama Gazelle.

In 2014, three females and a young male arrived at BIOPARC Valencia with the aim of creating a breeding group. The park recently welcomed the birth of two calves and expects the arrival of a third calf any day now. This was the "premiere" of the park’s male as a father, and the new calves offer hope for the survival of this beautiful species.

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3_Crías de gacela Mhorr en la Sabana africana de BIOPARC Valencia - marzo 2017 (2)Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

The Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama), also known as the Addra Gazelle or Mhorr Gazelle, is a species native to Africa in the Sahara desert and the Sahel.

This Gazelle has been classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It has disappeared from most of its former range due to overhunting and habitat loss, and natural populations only remain in Chad, Mali, and Niger. Its habitat includes grassland, shrubland, semi-deserts, open savanna and mountain plateaus. Their diets includes grasses, leaves (especially Acacia leaves), shoots, and fruit.


Lemur Twins Are Twice the Fun at Zoo Vienna

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The Ring-tailed Lemur habitat at Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn just got a lot livelier with the birth of twins on March 18.

Mom has her hands full nursing her two tiny babies, but she is doing well and gets extra help from other females in the group. Twins are not uncommon in Ring-tailed Lemurs. 

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PA_Kattas3 (1)Photo Credit: Schönbrunn Zoo/Norbert Potensky

For the first few days of life, the babies spent most of their time nursing or sleeping as they clung to mom’s belly.  Newborn Lemurs are born with the ability to grip mom’s fur tightly so they can hang on as she climbs through the trees. After a few weeks, the babies will climb onto mom’s back and start to view their surroundings.  By one month of age, the babies will start to nibble on fruits and vegetables.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are one of about 100 species of Lemurs, all of which are found only on the African island of Madagascar.  More than two thirds of the species are Endangered or Critically Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

A dramatic loss of forest habitat in Madagascar is blamed for the rapid decline in Lemur numbers.  More than 90% of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been lost, mainly due to the demand for lumber, firewood, and charcoal by a growing human population.


Fiona the Preemie Hippo Tops 100 Pounds

17352433_10154941852100479_3804671967843059119_nFiona the Hippo has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of fans since her premature birth was announced by the Cincinnati Zoo and shared here on ZooBorns. 

Fiona was born six weeks premature on January 24 and was unable to stand and nurse from her mother, Bibi.  After Bibi ignored her tiny baby, keepers decided to care for the baby in the zoo’s nursery.  Under the expert care of the zoo’s staff, Fiona has grown from a mere 29 pounds (less than half the normal weight for a Hippo calf) to more than 100 pounds today.

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Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo

 

The zoo’s nursery staff has helped Fiona overcome several health hurdles, including underdeveloped lungs, finding the right milk formula for her, regulating her body temperature, and keeping her hydrated.  No other zoo has raised a premature baby Hippo before.

Fiona has learned to walk, including up a ramp leading into her exercise pool.  She has learned to swim and exhibits all the normal behaviors of a Hippo.

Keepers hope to reunite Fiona with Bibi and Henry, Fiona’s father. Bibi and Fiona were separated during the normal bonding time between mother and calf, so it is unlikely that Bibi will recognize Fiona as her offspring.  However, the staff expects Bibi and Henry to welcome Fiona into the bloat just as they would any other new Hippo.

Eventually, Fiona will become too large to be cared for in a hands-on manner by keepers.  For now, Fiona and her parents can see and hear each other, but they are separated by a protective barrier. The staff will begin working to transition Fiona to the bloat so she can become a well-adjusted Hippo.