Newquay Zoo Welcomes First Armadillo of the Year

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Keepers at Newquay Zoo are currently giving round-the-clock care to a unique Six-banded Armadillo pup.

The zoo is one of only ten zoos in the UK to keep Armadillos, and this is the first pup to be born in the UK this year. Proud parents, Wallace (Dad) and Gromit (Mum), arrived at Newquay Zoo in March 2017.

Keepers at the zoo are overwhelmed by the cute new arrival. Head Keeper, Sam Harley, said, “We are delighted to have this little one - we made the decision to hand rear him to give him the best possible chance of survival. So this means round-the-clock care from the keeping team. We’ve been up through the night to bottle feed him, which can prove very tiring, but it’s all worth it!”

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4_armadillo 11Photo Credits: Newquay Zoo

The word Armadillo means, "little armored one" in Spanish and refers to the tough plated outer shell made of bone that gives protection from predators. Fossils have been found going back to the Ice Age. Armadillos have poor eyesight but a great sense of smell and are efficient burrowers.

Species are found throughout the Americas; the Six-banded Armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) comes from South America, mainly Brazil, and is the third largest of the species.

The baby is currently being fed from a bottle of special kitten milk replacement. At just three weeks old, the baby’s eyes are firmly shut, but they will begin to open at around 25 days. When he reaches around a month of age, he will begin to eat more solid food. Over the first four weeks the baby will quadruple in weight and will then start fending for himself.

The species is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Although there is a large population of Armadillos in the wild, they are often hunted for meat and for their armored shell.

Newquay Zoo is proud to be home to this exciting species; the little one will be on show to the public alongside mum and dad in the coming weeks. For more information, visit the zoo’s website at: www.newquayzoo.org.uk .

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New Dik-dik Is Music to Zoo Wroclaw’s Ears

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The months of February and March are traditionally the time of the year when Zoo Wroclaw welcomes new Dik-dik offspring. True to fashion, new mom, Lenonka, welcomed a female calf on February 26.

According to the Zoo’s tradition, newborns are given a music related name.

Because of their shared characteristic of blonde hair, the new Dik-dik is being called “Lady G” (a nod to Lady Gaga).

Zoo management has allowed the keepers a bit of creativity with the selection of names for the new births. As a result, Zoo Wroclaw is proud to relate that they are home to Elvis, Eminem, Lennon, Limahl, Loreen, and now Lady G!

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4_DSC00006 Ojciec Fedreiko i Matka LeonkaPhoto Credits: Zoo Wroclaw / Image 4: new parents, Federiko and Lenonka / Image 5: new mom, Lenonka / Image 6: dad, Federiko

Kirk’s Dik-diks have made their home at Zoo Wroclaw since 2014. The Zoo’s most known member of the herd is Lady G’s father, Federiko. Keepers state he is almost always in a location within the exhibit that is visible to the public, as if he is guarding the rest of the herd.

Kirk's Dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) is a small antelope native to Eastern Africa and one of four species of Dik-dik antelope. Dik-diks are herbivores and are typically of a fawn color that aids in camouflaging in savannah habitats.

The unique name is derived from its call. When threatened, Dik-diks lay low. If discovered, they run in a swift zigzag until finding another safe hiding spot. During this time, they are known to emit a call that sounds like “zik-zik” and is intended to raise an alarm.

The lifespan of Kirk's Dik-dik in the wild is typically 5 to 10 years. In captivity, males have been known to live up to 16 to 18 years.

The species is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. They have many natural enemies in the wild: leopards, cheetahs, jackals, baboons, eagles, and pythons.

However, the biggest threat awaits them from the human side. Not only are they hunted for use of their meat and bone, but they are also hunted for the production of leather. It has been said that at least two individual Dik-diks must be slaughtered to produce as little as one pair of leather gloves.

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Polar Bear Cub Makes Long Awaited Debut

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Visitors to the Royal Zoological Society’s Highland Wildlife Park will now have the chance to see the first Polar Bear cub born in the UK in 25 years!

Born in December, the cub has taken its first steps into the park’s outdoor enclosure, which had previously been closed to the public to allow mum, Victoria, the privacy she needed.

Staff members at the park are advising visitors that the cub may only be visible for small periods of time to begin with. Una Richardson, head keeper, said, “Having spent four months in her maternity den, Victoria quickly took the chance to go outside. Understandably, her cub has been more cautious and is still getting used to new sights, smells and sounds.”

“While the cub will become more confident and start to explore the large enclosure with Victoria, this will take time and they will always have access to their den for peace and quiet. There is no guarantee all of our visitors will see the cub at this early age, but they may be lucky.”

“There is huge interest in the park and seeing a Polar Bear cub will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people, particularly those traveling from around the world.”

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4_Polar_Bear_cub_JP_3Photo Credits: RZSS

Douglas Richardson, the park’s head of living collections, said, “Our pioneering captive Polar Bear management programme closely mirrors what happens in the wild and this birth shows our approach is working. This is vital because a healthy and robust captive population may one day be needed to augment numbers in the wild, such are the threats to the species from climate change and human pressures.”

“The reintroduction of Polar Bears would be an enormous task, but we need to have the option. While our cub will never be in the wild, there is a chance its offspring may be in decades to come.”

Chief Executive Barbara Smith added, “The birth of the first Polar Bear in the UK for a quarter of a century is a huge achievement for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the team at our Highland Wildlife Park. We are hopeful our cub will help to raise awareness of the dangers to Polar Bears in the wild. Collectively, we must do all we can to protect this magnificent species.”

Staff at the park expects to be able to discover the cub’s sex in April or May, when health checks will be possible.

The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding landmasses.

The species is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Risks include: climate change, pollution in the form of toxic contaminants, conflicts with shipping, oil and gas exploration and development, and human-bear interactions including harvesting and possible stresses from recreational watching.

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Zoo Hosts Naming Contest for Giraffe Calf

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The Santa Barbara Zoo has a new Masai Giraffe calf. The female arrived on March 14, measuring 6’1” tall and weighing-in at 180 pounds. The Zoo reports that the calf and her mom, Audrey, will stay safely tucked away in the Giraffe Barn until animal care staff determines that she’s ready to venture out on exhibit.

In the mean time, the Santa Barbara Zoo has partnered with their local television station, KEYT NewsChannel 3,​ to host a naming contest for the female calf. Four names were pre-selected by the Hutton Parker Foundation and the Zoo’s giraffe team, but they are leaving the final decision up to the public. Visit the Zoo’s website to cast your vote: https://sbzoo.pivvit.com/name-audreys-giraffe-calf

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4_29386199_10155399660390509_368509362227904512_oPhoto Credits: Santa Barbara Zoo

The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) is the largest subspecies of giraffe and is native to East Africa, particularly central and southern Kenya and Tanzania.

The species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, and the Masai Giraffe population is reported to have declined by 52% in recent decades, mainly due to poaching.

As an AZA-accredited institution, the Santa Barbara Zoo participates in what’s called the Species Survival Plan for Masai Giraffes – which makes every giraffe calf born at the Zoo exceptionally important. Through this cooperative program, the calves born all serve a significant role: to help keep their species alive. Thanks to their father, Michael, they all carry rare and valuable genes that are vital to keeping the Masai Giraffe population genetically diverse and healthy.


Penguin Chick Goes For Its First Swim

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A two-month old African Penguin chick went for its first swim at the Tulsa Zoo.

The chick hatched on January 17 to mom Keppy, age 26, and her mate Rogue, age 9. Keppy is the third-oldest member of the Tulsa Zoo’s penguin flock.

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Penguin 1Photo Credit: Tulsa Zoo

The chick’s gender is not yet known. A DNA sample will be sent to an outside lab to determine the new Penguin’s sex.

Last week, the chick enjoyed its first swim under close supervision in a small pool behind-the-scenes. Penguin chicks have fluffy down feathers, which are not as water repellent as the feathers of adult Penguins. Until chicks molt into their waterproof adult plumage when they're a few months old, they are not able to swim well.

“Keppy became a great-grandmother last year,” said Tulsa Zookeeper Seana Flossic. “We are delighted for Keppy and Rogue, a 9-year-old male, to enjoy parenthood together for the first time. They are doing a great job caring for their new chick.”

Seana Flossic manages the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s African Penguin Studbook as a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), keeping records on all AZA members’ flocks. The SSP makes recommendations on breeding and transfers to ensure the long-term health of this species.

This chick is the 37th penguin to hatch at the Tulsa Zoo since 2002.

African Penguins are native to the southern coast of Africa and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The population has fallen from more than one million birds in 1900 to fewer than 80,000 today. Oil spills and competition with commercial fisheries have contributed to the birds’ steep decline.


Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch

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Visitors to Spain’s Bioparc Valencia witnessed a special moment when Fossey, a Western Lowland Gorilla, gave birth in the exhibit habitat at about 4:00 pm on March 8.

The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is the fourth baby of this Critically Endangered species to be born at Bioparc Valencia in the last five years.

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8-marzo-nace-el-cuarto-gorila-valenciano-en-BIOPARCPhoto Credit: Bioparc Valencia

This is the first baby for 18-year-old Fossey, who is named for American primatologist Dian Fossey.  Silverback Mambie is the father of all four babies born at Bioparc Valencia.

The Gorilla family at Bioparc Valencia is large and stable, which contributes to a tranquil setting for newborns. The group consists of three adult females, one silverback, and youngsters Ebo, 5, Virunga, 19 months, and Mbeli, 5 months.

To prepare for the birth, the Gorilla team gave the entire group access to indoor and outdoor quarters all day and all night. This allowed the new mom to find a comfortable space to deliver her baby. Gorillas are naturally social, and the other members of the troop immediately came to meet the new baby. The young Gorillas in particular showed a great deal of interest in their new half-sibling.

The new baby will play a vital role in the European Gorilla Conservation Program, a cooperative effort of European zoos to maintain a genetically healthy and sustainable Gorilla population.

Western Lowland Gorillas are native to the mountain forests of central Africa. The total population is around 150,000 – 250,000 individuals, but declines at a rate of 2.5% per year. The number one threat to this species is poaching – the illegal hunting and killing of Gorillas for body parts. Gorillas are hunted even in protected areas. Diseases, including Ebola virus, are another serious threat.   

See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.

Continue reading "Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch" »


Nashville Zoo Celebrates Fourth Tapir Birth

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a male Baird’s Tapir. The yet-to-be-named calf arrived on March 7 and weighed-in at 22.8 pounds. 

This is the second calf for four-year-old mom, Juju. The calf’s father, Romeo, passed-away last year. Romeo was also the father of Tybalt, the Nashville Zoo’s other male Tapir, who was born in August 2016.

With the addition of the new calf, the Zoo is now home to three Baird’s Tapirs. A total of four Baird’s Tapirs have been born at Nashville Zoo since the species was introduced there in 2008.

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3_39817096715_20ed153cdd_oPhoto Credits: Stephanie Edling / Nashville Zoo

Tapirs have a gestation period of approximately 13 months. Keepers had been closely monitoring Juju’s progress and noticed she was restless the day before she gave birth. Once Juju went into labor, she welcomed her new calf about five minutes later, without the help of keepers.

“Congratulations to the keepers who worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth birth for Juju,” said Jonathon Hankins, Area Supervisor for Hoofstock. “They know these animals down to the tiniest details, and it is this dedication that will help us make the future for this little guy as bright as possible.”

Keepers estimate the calf will go out on exhibit within a few weeks, once the mother deems the calf is fit to explore outside. Tapirs are also sensitive to colder temperatures, so they will not go outside unless the temperature is above 60 degrees F.

This birth is significant because this species is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Baird’s Tapirs are threatened by hunting, population fragmentation and habitat destruction.

Baird's Tapirs (Tapirus bairdii) are broad, primitive creatures whose appearance has changed little in thousands of years. A relative of the horse and the rhino, Tapirs are the largest land animal in Central and South America.

Though an adult Baird’s Tapir’s coat is solid brown, babies are born with unique markings, similar to brown and white-striped watermelons. Juvenile tapirs lose these markings after one year.


Blissful Winter Baby Boom at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium recently announced the arrival of seven babies, representing three at-risk species, born in late January and early February. The new additions are: five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, a Silvered Leaf Langur baby, and a Humboldt Penguin chick.

According to the Zoo, each new little one contributes to maximizing genetic diversity within their species and sustaining populations of those facing serious threats to their future in their native ranges.

The baby boom began with the arrival of the five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, born during the early morning hours of January 26.

Native to coastal regions from southern India to Southeast Asia, Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinereus) are often threatened by habitat destruction, pollution and hunting. These factors place them at risk in their native range, and they are currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN.

The pups (three males and two females) were born to first-time parents, Gus and Peanut. Peanut was born in 2014 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo in April 2017 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Father, Gus, was born in 2008 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2014.

According to staff, the young pups are thriving under the watchful eyes of both of their parents and are expected to be on view to the public later this spring.

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4_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2271 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo was also proud to welcome a female Silvered Leaf Langur baby on February 16. The female was born to mother, Patty, and father, Thai. Patty made her way to the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2007 and has given birth to seven offspring. Thai arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2015 from the San Diego Zoo and has fathered a total of four infants.

Patty, Thai, and the newest Langur arrival are currently on view in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region. Staff reports that the baby is easy to spot as Langurs are born bright orange, as opposed to their adult counterparts with black fur and silvered tips. This difference in coat color is believed to encourage other female Langurs to assist in raising the young, a practice called “allomothering”.

In their native ranges, Silvered Leaf Langurs (Trachypithecus cristatus) can be found in areas including Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The species’ populations in these countries are decreasing due to habitat loss as lands are cleared for oil palm plantations or destroyed by forest fires. Langurs are also hunted for their meat or taken for the pet trade.

The Columbus Zoo’s pairing of Patty and Thai was based on an SSP recommendation, and the birth of the new baby will play an important role in helping manage this at-risk species. Silvered Leaf Langurs are listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, due to population declines caused by habitat loss. The arrival of this Langur baby at the Columbus Zoo is an important part of sustaining the population among AZA-accredited zoos, certified related facilities and conservation partners.

Continue reading "Blissful Winter Baby Boom at Columbus Zoo" »


Red Titi Monkey Parents Share Duties at Belfast

1_(4)  As the baby clings to mum or dad's back  keepers have been unable to confirm the gender or name of the latest arrival.

Belfast Zoo is celebrating the birth of a tiny Red Titi Monkey. The latest arrival was born to mum, Inca, and dad, Aztec, on January 26.

Although Inca has her hands full, Aztec is willing and able to help, as male Titi Monkeys play a very active role in parenting and are the main childcare providers.

Aztec can be seen carrying the infant on his back and returning it to mum in time for nursing. The infant will cling to Aztec and Inca for approximately four to five months and, for this reason, keepers have been unable to confirm the sex of the latest arrival.

Zoo curator, Julie Mansell, said, “Belfast Zoo has been home to Red Titi Monkeys since 2010, when Inca and Aztec arrived from London Zoo and Blackpool Zoo respectively, as part of the collaborative breeding programme. Red Titi Monkeys are an unusual primate, as they are monogamous and mate for life. Aztec and Inca can often be seen sitting or sleeping, with their tails intertwined. The pair welcomed their first daughter in July 2011 and have continued to build their family in subsequent years. With the latest arrival, Belfast Zoo is now home to a total of six Red Titi Monkeys.”

2_(5)  This species is found in the rainforests of South America including Brazil  Bolivia  Colombia  Venezuela and Peru.

3_(3)  Inca will be having a relaxing Mother’s Day while Aztec has his hands full  as male titi monkeys are the main childcare providers.

4_(1)  Belfast Zoo is celebrating the birth of a tiny red titi monkey.Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

As their name suggests, the Red Titi Monkey (Callicebus cupreus) has red, fluffy fur and a small grey face. Also known as ‘Coppery Titi Monkey’ or ‘Coppery Titi’, this primate species is found in the rainforests of South America including Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.

This Red Titi Monkey is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species’ relatively large range in a pristine region of the Amazon, and no known major threats have influenced the decision to classify the species at that level.

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, said, “It’s the perfect time to visit Belfast Zoo as, for the month of March, we will be offering some ‘zooper’ special offers. If you are planning to visit, you can book your discounted adult and concession tickets on our website. We are also offering up to 25% off penguin, giraffe and lemur experiences, up to 24% off elephant keeper for a day experiences and up to 25% off all animal adoption packages. You can find out more about our ‘March Madness’ offers at www.belfastzoo.co.uk .”

5_(2) The latest arrival was born to mum  Inca and dad  Aztec  on 26 January 2018.


The Florida Aquarium Succeeds at Coral Reproduction

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Corals are the building blocks of marine habitats and oxygen-giving marine organisms. They cover only about one percent of the ocean floor, but they have a huge effect on the health of the rest of the ocean and the planet. The Florida Aquarium is working to protect and restore oceans and raise awareness about the threats coral reefs face (increasing water temperature, pollution and overfishing).

According to a recent press release, Rachel Serafin, a coral biologist at The Florida Aquarium, spoke at the World Aquaculture Society Conference held recently in Las Vegas.

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4_28699340_10155571039648883_1987637671920077530_oPhoto Credits: The Florida Aquarium

Serafin spoke about The Florida Aquarium’s unprecedented success in coral reproduction, and this year has been the Aquarium’s most successful year to date in coral reproduction. The Aquarium currently has roughly 600 coral juveniles that have survived and flourished from last August’s spawning event (when corals release eggs and sperm in the water at the same time to reproduce).

“Speaking at this conference, on a global stage, is a necessary step forward for coral restoration. Corals are not your typical cute, cuddly animal. They are often forgotten, but they are vital to the health of our oceans. Speaking at such a prestigious conference allows us to bring attention to this critical issue before it is too late and all our reefs are beyond repair,” said Serafin.

“Aquaculture is the rearing of aquatic animals such red drum or snook, and coral is no different,” said Serafin. “While some rear fish to replenish wild populations, we rear corals to help replenish those wild populations that are in dire need of our help.”

There are different types of coral aquaculture practices that The Florida Aquarium uses to aid in coral restoration, but genetic creation through sexual reproduction was the focus of Serafin’s presentation.

The Florida Aquarium is a leading partner during the annual staghorn coral spawn in the Florida Keys. The annual coral spawn gives corals their only chance to sexually reproduce on their own and build future coral reefs, and this process is vital for scientists to witness for coral research and conservation.

Every year, The Florida Aquarium and other partners dive 30 feet below the ocean’s surface in Tavernier Key, expertly collecting the spawn from the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery, and deliver them to teams aboard research boats. Those teams immediately begin the fertilization process using the bundles of eggs and sperm (gametes) and rush them to on-shore labs to maximize the development of embryos and ultimately free-swimming larvae. Some of the larvae were released to the wild, while others were brought back to grow at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, FL and at other partner institutions.